Frugal Fun

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Frugal Fun - $5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge

affording the little treats in life
Need some frugal fun in your life? Want to hear some smart ways to save money on the things you enjoy? Read on!

So, my money-saving mamas, last week we talked about taxes. It had to be done, but tax talk is never what I would call enjoyable. This week, let's lighten up a little bit and talk about something fun. Let's talk about those small, yet meaningful indulgences that we often forbid ourselves from having.


Author Iris Murdoch is quoted as saying that "one of the secrets to a happy life is continuous small treats". And I could not agree more. Another quote that I feel illustrates the importance in taking the time to indulge yourself is "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". Maybe we should revamp that to "All work and no play makes mommy grumpy". And we all know that "if mama ain't happy, nobody's happy". Ok, enough with the quotes. You get my point, right? These small pleasures are something that we need to contribute to our overall happiness. Indulging in a small treat is healthy. Seriously! Studies show that indulging in pleasurable activities, such as shopping, can actually release endorphins (those lovely mood-lifting hormones) .These indulgences can literally make you happy.

And they don't have to be anything big or extravagant, either. For some of us it could be our favorite drink at Starbucks (love the Java Chip Frappucchino, yum!) or a bottle our favorite wine. For some it could be an hour or two at the spa, getting a massage and/or a mani-pedi. Some of us are equally happy to be able to soak in a nice bubble bath at home, with a nice smelling candle burning while reading the latest book by our favorite author or listening to our favorite artist's brand new CD. Perhaps you want to join a monthly club that features a new product each month (e.g. cheese, books, wine, crafts, chocolate, etc.).

Maybe your idea of an indulgence is being able to pay a babysitter and enjoy a date night with your hubby. And, ok, so MAYBE your indulgence is a bit on the pricier side - such as a new pair of shoes, a cute purse, or a bottle of your favorite perfume. Either way, each and every one of us deserves to be able to indulge every once in a while. And I am here to share with you some ways smart ways to save money while engaging in a bit of frugal fun.

Frugal Fun Tip: Add "Me" to Your Budget

The first of my smarts ways to save money is fairly straightforward - add it to your budget. If you know that you enjoy going out on a date night once a month, budget for that each month. The same thing goes for any little treats that you would like to be able to indulge in. How much you set aside is totally up to you. Just be sure that you include it in your budget so that you are not forced between an indulgence and a necessity.

Frugal Fun Tip: Save Your Change

Another way to have money on hand to indulge is to save your change. In fact, I highly recommend that rather than whipping out your debit card to purchase things, you withdraw a certain amount of money each week/month that you are allowed to spend. That way, you are not quite as tempted to buy on impulse. Not only will that simple action save you money, but you will then be able to take the change that is left over from your purchases and set them aside for your indulgences.

Frugal Fun Tip: Ask and You Shall Receive

Another straightforward way to be able to indulge in a small treat? Ask for it. If a gift-giving celebration (such as your birthday or Christmas) is coming up, make sure people know exactly what would put a smile on your face. You get what you want and they have the pleasure of buying you something that they know you won't return the next day. Everyone wins!

Frugal Fun Tip: Online Surveys

One easy way to earn a little extra money is to participate in online surveys. Granted, the payout is rarely much, but over time it builds up.

Frugal Fun Tip: My Points

Another way to earn some extra cash is to sign up for MyPoints. Here you can earn points by doing things such as signing up for offers, completing surveys, and referring your friends, and family. The points can then be redeemed for a variety of cool merchandise.

Frugal Fun Tip: CashCrate

CashCrate is a great way for stay at home moms to make a little extra cash through paid surveys and free offers.
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Frugal Fun Tip: Listia

Listia is a great way to get rid of some of your old things and pick up some new (to you) things. The more you give away, the more points you earn towards bidding on the things that you want. Cool, right? You even start off with 500 points, so you could possibly get something right away.

Frugal Fun Tip: Paperback Swap

If books are an indulgence of yours, Paperback Swap could be just the thing you are looking for. This website allows you to weed out your book collection and add to it at the same time. And, get this, the only thing any member has to pay is shipping to send the books. Receiving them is completely free.

Frugal Fun Tip: Swagbucks

If you find yourself online doing things such as conducting web searches, playing games, and watching videos, you could download the Swagbucks toolbar to your browser and earn Swagbucks for doing these activities. Then, here’s the cool part, you can redeem those Swagbucks for a wide variety of things from books and electronics to gift cards.

Frugal Fun Tip: Sign Up For Newsletters and Alerts

Another of the smart ways to save money is to simply sign up for alerts from your favorite indulgence spot. Many places will send out newsletter, emails, or alerts for discounts and freebies. For example, if renting a movie is an indulgence of yours, Redbox usually sends out a code for a free movie rental once a month to alert subscribers.

Frugal Fun Tip: Babysit

If you enjoy spending time with children, perhaps you could offer to babysit for your friends and family on occasion- for a small fee. By helping other families to have a date night, you could earn enough money to have your own (or whatever your indulgence is).

Frugal Fun Tip: Focus Groups

Another way to earn a little extra cash is to participate in focus groups. You can find these online, on community boards, and in printed materials (e.g. newspapers and local circulars). Often you are reimbursed for your time, even if you do not qualify for the entire focus group. This is a great way to make extra money if you have the time to spare. The amount of reimbursement varies greatly, sometimes offering hundreds of dollars.

Frugal Fun Tip: Donate Plasma

Another simple way to earn spending money (and a more substantial amount at that) is to donate plasma. If you are not wary of needles, donating plasma can earn you significant amount of money – especially if you do it regularly. And you would have the added bonus of contributing to society through your donations.

Frugal Fun Tip: Become a Mystery Shopper

Another way to earn extra spending money is to become a mystery shopper. This is a great pastime for stay at home moms because it offers a great deal of flexibility and variety. The reimbursement for mystery shops varies, but it is possible to earn a significant amount of money doing one shop. Many stay at home moms will simply choose shops that they can complete with their children in tow, such as going grocery shopping, eating out at family-friendly restaurants, and going to family friendly places.

Money Saving Resources

Use the following resources to help you on your path towards saving money all year long.

1. More pages on Stay-a-Stay-at-Home-Mom.com:
2. Rayven Recommends these books on Amazon:

So, mamas, as you can see, it is possible to be able to afford those little indulgences without breaking your budget. Tell me, what are some of the little treats that you like to indulge in? I would love to hear! Please do take a minute to share your favorite indulgences in the comments section below.

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