Great Ways to Save on Southern California Travel

Great Ways To Save On Southern California Travel Destinations

Great Ways to Save on Southern California Travel

These great ways to save on Southern California travel destinations will make your next big family vacation totally affordable.  From a weekend getaway to a week long adventure, you can save tons of money using some of these great tips. 

Use Getaway Today to book: This site is a great online travel discount site that offers great deals on a ton of common Southern California destinations.  You can save on Disneyland, Legoland, Universal Studios Hollywood as well as your entire vacation.  From hotels and resorts to flights and entertainment tickets, this site gives you insanely good discounts on everything you want to do in Southern California. Tip: Use code CALISAVER at checkout and score a $10 off discount! 

Can’t pay for your entire Vacation upfront? Getaway Today offers “Layaway” plans!

Book outside your destination city: Instead of staying directly in the city of your entertainment destinations, look at the areas around that city.  Most major areas also have many smaller communities within a half hour of your destination that will offer much lower prices on hotels.  Check out condos, house rentals and even resorts for all inclusive stays that offer other great ways to save on Southern California travel destinations.

Bring your own groceries: One of the biggest savings on any travel is to bring or buy your own groceries.  Book a room with a kitchenette or condo with a full kitchen to take advantage of cooking meals in the room for you family.  From breakfasts and lunches to full meals you can take advantage and safe tons of money in your travel food budget this way.

Don’t want to travel with your groceries? Order them through Amazon and have the box sent right to your hotel room!

Drive instead of fly: Sometimes Southern California travel is more expensive since it is so tough to afford flights from cross country.  Research he costs of flights for your family and simply driving cross country. You may find that driving is much more affordable and still allows you a great vacation.

These great ways to save on Southern California travel destinations are easy to apply to your next vacation.  Make a choice on where you want to take your family, then start working your way toward ultimate savings with some of these great tips.

7 Tips for Getting the Best Garage Sale Deals

How to get the BEST Garage sale deals

7 Tips for Getting the Best Garage Sale Deals

Garage sale season is in full swing and with that means deals! Garage sales are a fantastic way to pick up items that you need or want at a fraction of the price you would pay retail. While yard sales are awesome, they can also be a bad thing if you don’t watch what you’re doing. Not everyone is honest and those people have no issue charging more than they should or selling junk. Before you head out to the sales this year, take a look at these 7 tips for getting the best garage sale deals. You’re sure to shop smart if you do!

Shop with a Budget – A lot of us can get into trouble hitting the yard sales because for some reason, we don’t equate them in our minds as actual shopping. After all, it’s only a few bucks, right? Well that few bucks adds up and if you’re not careful, you can totally tank your finances. To get the best deals, shop with a budget. When you have a set amount of cash you can spend, you are less likely to pick up junk and will instead be a bit choosier in what you buy.

Carry Batteries – I know this sounds silly, but a lot of electronics, especially kids toys and games run on batteries. Carry a few in a couple of different sizes (AAA, AA, C & D) with you so that you’ll be able to test those toys before you pay for them.

Make a list – Just like grocery shopping, don’t just hit the sales with no clear purpose in mind. Make a list of the things you are looking for. Doing this will help keep you on task for finding the really good deals on products you’ll actually use. It will also help you pay more attention to quality and price since you are keeping it in the forefront of your mind.

Dig, Dig, Dig – Not everyone is great at staging a yard sale so they will use boxes or bags to put items out. So what does this mean for you? It means there could be a goldmine worth of deals stuffed in bags and boxes. Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty and dig through them! I’ve found antique books stuffed in boxes that I paid $0.75 each for. I then sold them for over $30 each.

Negotiate like the Pro’s – People who hold yard sales expect two things and the biggest is to be negotiated with on their prices. Don’t be afraid to ask if they’re willing to take a lower price. Chances are, they will. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know and by not knowing, you can easily miss out on a great deal.

Leave the kids at home – I know, some kids love yard sales, but between the “I’m thirsty’s” and the “Mom! Can I have?” you can easily be distracted. This means you could pay more for items than you should or even miss out on something you need.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to walk away – If the deal is not what you need it to be, don’t be afraid to walk away. This actually serves two purposes. The first is that if you do walk away, you won’t spend more money than you need. The second is that most yard sale hosts won’t let you walk away. Instead, they have a tendency to call you back and deal with you. This is an excellent strategy for getting a deal that you might not otherwise be able to.

Yard sale deals aren’t hard to get, but you do have to stay on your toes. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll score all of the deals you want. Do you have any other tips that I missed? We’d love if you shared them with us!

Why you NEED Digit in your life (Plus reader reviews!)

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I know, I know, I’ve talked about Digit quite a bit here on the blog.. but I really can’t express enough how awesome it is!! I’ve been using Digit since February and Digit has added over $1200 to our Digit savings account!

Don’t know about Digit? Here’s a quick overview:

Digit is a FREE automated savings program that pays attention to your spending habits, then finds small amounts of money from your checking account and determines how much you can save and transfers it to a savings account for you. It does this every.day.

You can read more about Digit here.

Why you need Digit in your life:

You need to save money! (without thinking about it of course) 

Digit has even added a new feature where you can add money yourself to your account. The best thing about it is that is is “out of sight, out of mind”! Here are some of the great things it has done for SCS readers:

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Have a look at Digit here

How to choose what to stockpile

how to choose what to stockpile

How to Choose What to Stockpile

Stockpiling for your family is almost a must-do in today’s economy, but it can be extremely hard to decide exactly what you should stock up on for your family. If you stock up on the wrong types of items or food, you could end up with a bunch of waste, but if you stock up on the right types of items, you’ll be able to build a fantastic stockpile that will be there for your family if you need it.

For food, you definitely don’t want to be stocking up on things that your family doesn’t eat. There’s no real point in it, even if you’re stocking up for emergencies only. If you don’t eat it now, you won’t eat it when you need it. Instead, take a month and write down everything your family eats. Then, go through your recipe books or sites and find the recipes that your family loves, but that you may not have eaten that month. Add the ingredients to your list. These items are the things that you should stock up on. Don’t forget to include things like snacks, items for lunches and breakfast as well as any infant formula or baby food that you use.

For fresh foods and meats, you CAN still stock up on them. A deep freezer works well for meat, but even without one, you can build a significant stock by learning to can or dehydrating them. Fruits can be dehydrated to make them last longer. Dehydrated foods retain their flavor for years and can taste just as fresh as it was the day you bought it

You won’t want to forget about personal care items in your stockpile. Things like shampoo, body soap, razors, feminine napkins, diapers and more are all needed in your daily life to help keep your family healthy. To figure out how much to stockpile, watch how much of each item and which items your family uses in a month. If you have six brands of toothpaste and your family won’t touch four of them, you won’t want to continue stocking them. The same can be said for everything else. Brand loyalty is bad for your budget, but we all have certain ones we just don’t like. Those brands have no place in your stockpile.

Other items that you’ll want to consider are pet foods and accessories, baby items besides food, household cleaning supplies and household maintenance items (think lightbulbs and that type of thing). Not having those items when you need them can make life incredibly hard, especially if you don’t have the money to buy them. Make a list of what you use for each category of items and build from that. Just be sure to update your list as your family’s needs change.

Must-haves for organic gardens (and one you probably haven’t heard of!)

Must Haves for organic gardens

When we first started growing our veggie garden, several years ago– we did a TON of research because we really wanted our garden to thrive! (I mean, who doesn’t–you spend so much time on it!)

For the first garden we had–all we did was add soil and plant the seeds! LOL.. we generally think that is all there is too it–but we were most definitely wrong. Our first garden wasn’t very successful and we couldn’t even get our tomatoes to grow! :( We didn’t realize that is WASN’T about just putting the seeds in the ground and watching it grow.. you need to have the “right” tools to get them growing.

I’m happy to say that we’ve had a very successful garden each year after the first and after trial and error we’ve been able to find what helps our garden grow and be the most successful.

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Soil:

We use a organic soil– preferably the Amend Garden Soil (find it at Home depot or Lowe’s) it’s a little more expensive than most soil but it is totally worth it if you want a organic garden.

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Rock Dust or Azomite:

You might have not heard of this–but we’ve found it a MUST-have for our veggie garden. After doing a lot of research, we learned that most soil isn’t properly mineralized. Meaning, its missing a TON of nutrients for your plants and for your family when you eat the veggies. This is why most veggies are a lot smaller when you grow them yourself–because  they are lacking the proper minerals for growth.

Think of it this way: When you take supplements in the pill form, you are taking them to give your body the accurate dosage of nutrients that you wouldn’t get out of your normal consumption. This is exactly what you are doing for your plants! However, its all natural and organic.

We haven’t found this in most big box stores–so we have to order online. We get this Root Naturally Azomite Rock Dust – 10 Pounds and it is enough for our garden to last us three years! (you only need 1 pound per 10 sq. feet of soil) and you do not need to apply every season.

 

 

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Raised Garden Bed

This is great for those just starting out! They help keep snails and slugs out of your garden and If you rent a home, this makes the garden “not-so permanent”. I like this Raised Bed Connection Kit.

You don’t have to use a raised garden bed but be prepared to really fertilize your soil with Azomite and organic soils.

So what are your must haves for a organic garden?

How to vacation on a small budget

how to vacation on a small budget

Everyone deserves a break from every day life, but it can be tough to vacation on a small budget.  Some simple steps, ideas and savings plans can make it possible for anyone on any income to set out for a fun vacation away from the daily grind.  While you may not be able to go on a cross country trip, you can still make sure to take down time and spend alone or with your family to reboot and recharge. 

How to vacation on a small budget

Take a staycation.  One of the most popular ways to take a vacation on a pauper’s budget is to do what is called having a staycation.  Instead of booking a hotel and going out of town, you stay in your own home with electronics and regular routines turned off.  You go out in your own home state and look for landmarks, special venues and other fun things to do that you haven’t experienced before and are within driving distance of home.  This keeps your gas and lodging expenses down, and allows you to cook meals at home, pack sandwiches for lunches on the road and even opens your limited budget up to more amusement parks, movies or other entertainment possibilities.

Check out this post on Staycation ideas for many major cities in the United States.

Research free amusement. Every state has something fun to do for free.  From local parks, fishing, lakes and downtown areas to walk around – to the great free entertainment in cities like St. Louis that offer free admission to city museums and the zoo.  The more you take advantage of free amusement, the more your limited budget will stretch.  This is especially good for when you can afford lodging and food, but just not a lot of entertainment.

Go camping. Pack up the camping supplies and find a local to your destination camping destination.  There are many campsites and RV parks that rent out spots for as low as $12-$15 per night.  From tent camping at some to KOA cabin camping you can easily “rough it” a bit and save money.  There are many KOA campgrounds that have cabins for camping at super low rates.  You are responsible for your own bedding, groceries and such, but the expenses are so much lower that you can manage more on your vacation.

Pack your own groceries for meals.  Even if you stay in a hotel room on your vacation, packing your own groceries can save hundreds of dollars.  Most motels and hotels have refrigerators and microwaves in rooms these days.  Bringing a cooler with things like lunch meat, cheese, yogurt and fresh fruit along with drinks, bread, chips and simple breakfasts like granola bars and cereal can save you lunch and breakfast expenses. 

Planning ahead and looking for alternatives to what are traditional vacation venues and lodging can make it easy for you to afford to take a vacation on a pauper’s budget with your family this year.

Learn how to use coupons with WIC in California

Learning How To Use Coupons With WIC In California 2

LEARN HOW TO USE COUPONS WITH WIC IN CALIFORNIA

For many families, the ability to take advantage of the Women, Infants and Children’s supplemental food program means the difference between having enough formula or milk to drink each month.  This program better known as WIC is a great grant sponsored method of helping lower income families stretch their budget.  Learning How To Use Coupons With WIC In California will help you to make this extra food budget go that much farther for your family.  While every state varies on their requirements and regulations related to the WIC program, we are going to share some great tips for you to take advantage of if you are on WIC and living in California.

The WIC program provides grocery relief to pregnant and nursing moms, infants and children under the age of 5.  This program gives families access to milk, eggs, cheese, dry beans, peanut butter, bread, tortillas, juice and some fruits or vegetables.  While this is not a program that hands out money to individuals, it does present checks that are redeemed in store for the products listed and approved by the individual state and national guidelines.

Some tips listed in the California WIC information:

Stretch your WIC checks and food dollars:

  • Buy lower-priced milk and twin-packed milk when available
  • Use grocery store club cards
  • Use store coupons (examples below)

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Example: You will find that some local stores offer STORE coupons that Can be used in conjunction with Wic checks. The circled store coupon above will give you a FREE box of General Mills cereal when you purchase 2 General Mills Kix or Cheerios (which are WIC approved). Depending on your qualifications–you might have a WIC voucher that allows for 36 oz of Breakfast cereal. This is a perfect combo to use the free store coupon from above! The STORE actually gives you the box for free.

  • Buy store or generic brands
  • Take advantage of buy one get one free specials

WIC checks must be applied only to specific food items that fall within the guidelines listed in your California WIC program information.  This is typically a set brand, ounce limit and of course limit per purchase.  These checks must be used in separate transactions from the rest of your purchases and cannot be combined with other discounts.

You cannot use coupons directly on WIC purchases, you can however utilize savings apps and programs to redeem cash back on products purchased with your WIC vouchers.  This gives you a chance to stretch your other food dollars farther.

Once you have redeemed your WIC vouchers for items like milk, formula, cereal, bread, cheese and fruits or vegetables, save your receipt to use later.  You can scan and submit your receipt to various savings apps for potential cash back rewards given for choosing specific branded items. 

Great savings apps to consider for this:

iBotta

BerryCart

Snap by Groupon

Take advantage of the potential cash back savings to then apply to your other purchases in the future.  Since WIC checks are for specific food products and not a dollar amount, you typically cannot use coupons to make that check go farther.  The exception is in regards to the fruits and vegetables you purchase.  This check is for a specific dollar amount, so you may be able to use in store coupons or digital coupons on your store rewards cards to lower the price of the vegetables thus stretching your WIC dollars even farther.

If you are able to secure WIC for your family, ask your local office more about how to budget your WIC checks into you monthly food dollars.  Take advantage of this great program to supplement your family grocery budget and ensure your children are being fed nutritious foods every day.