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6+ Free Family Activities for Summer Fun

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Mr. And Mrs. Beatles blog about their frugal life at Stacking Pennies. They recently began their journey towards frugality and write about different things they learn on their way to a debt free lifestyle. In the Beatles household, family activities are what we look most forward to in the Summer. We believe that frugal families tend to be closer and stronger than their counterparts because rather than paying someone else to entertain them, they find entertainment together and within each other. This creates special bonding moments! While entertainment costs have gotten out of control (have you seen the price of a movie ticket and popcorn lately?), there are plenty of other ways of having fun without paying a dime; these are cost-free activities that anyone can do with their families. Let’s look at some family activities that don’t require you to open your purse or wallet: Visit the beach (or water near you) Beaches are a ton of fun and make no impact on the budget!  You can collect shells, swim, build sand castles, feed the seagulls, fly a kite without getting it caught in a power line, etc.  Jazz it up with a pitcher of homemade lemonade and sandwiches. If there’s no … Read more…

75+ Cheap Wedding Tips and Tricks for Events of Any Size

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Wedding budgets can get out of control in a hurry. I love this list of cheap wedding tips and tricks. They'll help me have an epic day with a small budget. It's hard to know what to DIY, what to skip to save and what to splurge on. I love finding ways to keep costs down but but still be fabulous Simple ideas like shopping at dollar stores for decor make complete sense. PIN THIS FOR WEDDING PLANNING!

Our close friends are getting married in October, and their wedding plans are impressing the hell out of me! They are active, frugal people who are planning a unique wedding for 100+ guests that will be an extremely fun, yet simple, celebration of their future together. This has inspired me to throw together some cheap wedding tips that can save anybody some money when planning their wedding or event of any size. Start with the Guest List The fewer guests, the cheaper. But you don’t have to have a small wedding to avoid going broke. Type up an actual list or use a wedding organizer to create a list of who you’d like to see at your wedding. It may be more people than you originally guesstimated. That’s okay! The amount of people who can show up will vary based on all of the specific factors of your event. According to several sites online that popped up on my search, only 30-40% of your guests will show up for special events like destination weddings, and 85% is the high rule of thumb even if everyone you invite is local and your planned day just happens to be perfect for them … Read more…

Complete 10 Step Guide – How to Sell a Car on Craigslist

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Ah Craigslist! It's an excellent place to buy things, but I've never thought about using it to sell my car before. These ten easy steps tell you exactly how to sell your car on craigslist and put some cash back into your pocket without getting scammed.

Long time readers may remember my first post about selling my car on Craigslist.  Well, in my ongoing effort to make this site better for you, I fleshed it WAY out and created a complete 10 step guide!  I hope this makes selling your car on Craigslist EXTREMELY easy!!!  No reason to lose thousands at the dealerships! In 2008, my husband bought his 2007 Toyota Prius and needed to sell his 2003 Hyundai Sonata.  The dealership only offered us $2000 to trade it in, so I sold it myself on Craigslist for $4800.  Yay!  In 2014, I bought my 2013 Honda Fit and needed to sell my 2005 Chevy Aveo.  The dealership once again offered me $2000, so I sold it on Craigslist for $3400.  Woot! To summarize, dealerships always offer way less than your car is worth.  If you have the title, sell your car way more on Craigslist.  Plus, save a ton of time since I’ve already done it twice – just follow the steps below! 10 Steps to Sell Your Car on Craigslist: 1.  Determine the Value of Your Vehicle Check out these sites to set your price: Kelley Blue Book Edmunds Comparables on Craigslist Add at least 10-15% I mainly use Kelley Blue … Read more…

Gift Ideas for Hospital and Assisted Living Home Visits

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I never know what to do when people are stuck in the hospital and I should go visit, I feel so helpless. These gift ideas for hospital visits make me feel like I'm doing something and are so helpful for the recipients. My grandma is going to love these nice things while she recovers from her surgery.

As I’ve mentioned, my grandma has been in and out of the hospital a few times over the last month. After the first stay, she was released to go home with assistance. But after this last stint about a week and a half ago, she was sent into a skilled nursing facility and my grandpa moved in with her. As a quick health summary, my grandma has two faulty heart valves, congestive heart failure, the ulcer on her foot has been an issue for more than a year, and she has diabetes. Suffice it to say, she’s not at her best. I visit 2-3 times a week, and I will probably be writing about that a bit more. But for today, I want to share the hospital and nursing home care packages that have been received the best by my grandparents and by my husband’s great uncle who had a brain aneurysm a few weeks ago and has made a full recovery now. 🙂 Hospital Care Package Hospitals are depressing and boring for nearly everybody. Here are some quick things you can throw together to make it more bearable for anybody you’re visiting (I get them all from the Dollar … Read more…

Warning from My Dad – DO NOT FALL FOR IRS SCAMS!

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My Dad doesn’t email me much in general, so when I got an email with a post suggestion from him yesterday, I tuned in. Crystal, I received the email in the photo which is obviously a scam, and I already knew not to open any attached links. Anyway, as I wanted to report this to the IRS, I looked at their website: Basically, the IRS requests these type of emails be forwarded to  As indicated, do NOT open any of the links in these emails.  Once you forward them to the IRS, delete them and also from your trash bin. Take care, Dad PS  Also, you might let your readers know that in many of these types of scam emails, the wording, grammar, punctuation, etc. appear peculiar which should definitely be another red flag. Thanks, Dad! This is a great time to remind everyone to be careful with their data. Don’t fall for any IRS email or phone scams and keep in mind that you can always contact an organization yourself through searchable contact info instead of trusting where an email or call is really coming from…harder to scam you if you call the organization directly.

How Do You Save for Short-Term Goals?

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So I received this question in response to one of my newsletters a little bit ago and responded with my own suggestions.  BUT, I wanted to ask you to give some ideas out to the cool lady below too.  It’s nice to get some other opinions and points of view. Reader Question Crystal, I have a frustration: I am really good at saving for long-term goals (retirement–25%), but I have a really hard time saving for short-term goals. For example, we would like to have a car fund of $10,000 saved up by the end of 2016, and I have about $900 in that sub-account right now, but I just had an unexpected two-night hospital stay last week and I know that my current car needs some work done. So now, anything I had saved up, and anything more I planned to put away for the car fund will now probably end up going to those two issues instead. It always seems like the minute I start to plan for a fairly significant short-term goal, life gets in the way! We probably are putting more into retirement than is strictly necessary, but I really hate to cut that percentage–we could retire in 15 … Read more…

My Cheap but Awesome Tree Topper and Skirt

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I started decorating for Christmas yesterday.  My roommate, Mandy, was helping me and we kept talking about things as they came out of the box.  That’s when she met my tree topper and skirt… My Tree Topper and Skirt Mandy saw me take Santa’s hat and a fitted sheet with a snowflake pattern out of the ornament box and looked a little quizzical. I replied, “Oh yeah, that’s the Santa hat for the top of the tree and a fitted sheet for the tree skirt.  I didn’t have a star or angel or skirt the first time I decorated this in my first apartment in 2004, so I stuck the hat up there and the fitted sheet down there.  It’s been a tradition ever since.” The hat was about $3 and the fitted sheet was part of a hand-me-down set that was too warm to use.  They have made a great tree topper and skirt for 10 years now.  If you like this idea, you can find $1 Santa’s hats at Dollar Tree and probably other dollar stores. For the fitted sheet, just take a look at your extra sheet sets.  You may also find them at garage sales or resale shops for less than you’d … Read more…