How to Have a No Spend Weekend

Are you looking for ways to increase your monthly savings or maybe you just want to have a relaxing weekend? Try doing a “no spend weekend” or week, whichever works better for you and your family. I believe the weekend, only being two days, is a small commitment that is manageable.

Set a time frame that works for you.

The basics of a no spend weekend is exactly what is sounds like. You eliminate spending for a weekend on all outings and extra spending. Of course, you may have to purchase gas, medications or needed grocery items, but we are focusing on the extra spending.

This means no dining out, going to movies, shopping, buying drinks, etc… Now don’t let this get you down.  There are many fun activities that you and your family can do during the weekend that requires no money spending!

Before you begin a no-spend weekend, I encourage you to sit down with your family and come up with a plan and ideas you would like to do. Meal planning and checking your pantry for all items you will need is helpful in preparing for a no-spend weekend.

If you have never had a no-spend weekend, I encourage you to try it.

Sit down with your family and create a plan for your weekend with fun activities that you may have never tried before. As a bonus, with the money you would have spent you can now put towards paying debt or a monthly savings!

Here are some ideas that you and your family can do on your no-spend weekend.

1.) Hike

Try and find a new trail or somewhere you have never been.  You can even make a day out of it and bring packed lunches and snacks!

2.) Watch a movie

Go through your movie collection and re-watch one of your favorite movies. You can even search on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video for a free new movie.

3.) Make a new recipe

Look through your pantry and fridge for the items you have on hand and search Pinterest for some fun, new recipes.

4.) Go to the library

Go and search for a book that you have been wanting to read or find something that sparks your interest. Most libraries will also have kids time such as storytelling and crafts. As a bonus, you can even rent movies from the library to take home.

5.) Have a pot luck

Have your friends and family over for a pot luck. Ask each person to bring a dish of their choosing. Having a no-spend weekend doesn’t mean that you must be cooped up in your house.

6.) Camp outside

If the weather is permitting, pitch a tent in your backyard and camp outside!

7.) Play games

Try pulling out some board games that you may have not played in a while.  If board games are not your thing, then play video games.

8.) Volunteer

Use your time to volunteer for a cause that means something to you. Serve food a soup kitchen or play with animals at your local animal shelter.

9.) Visit a park

If your children get restless being at home, then try going to a nearby park. My children would play for hours at a park and never be bored!

10.) De-clutter

Use this time to go through your home and ditch items that are no longer being used.  You can even sell items and make extra cash.

Enjoy this time together. Try to relax and enjoy the simple things.

I would love to hear your ideas for no-spend activities!


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7 Ways to Save on Children’s Toys

1.) Buy secondhand

You can find many high priced toys for 50-70% (sometimes even lower!) buy shopping used.  There are so many avenues to find secondhand toys. Consignment sales, children’s consignment stores, thrift stores and yard sale are among some of the best places to find great deals on toys. Many of my baby toys for both children came from yard sales and hand me downs!

2.) Buy less

My husband and I are currently on a process to minimalize and declutter our home (more on that later) and this is one area that I am trying to get better at.  My daughter is just as happy painting on a piece of paper as she is playing with toys. And honestly, I myself get overwhelmed when there are toys EVERYWHERE.  My solution?  I am going through and donating and consigning toys that are no longer used. I now really consider the items (and toys) that I am bringing into our home.

3.) Buy clearance

This is one of my favorite ways to buy for upcoming birthdays and holidays.  The key to toy clearance is to know when to buy.  Most stores will start to mark clearance right after Christmas and continue to mark down late January- early February. Another great time for toy clearance is in July when many stores will begin to bring in their fall/winter items and clearance out spring/summer items!

4.) Trade or borrow

If you are lucky enough to have friends and family that also have children, then this is a great option! My friends and I will share toys and baby equipment and then return once we are finished or another friend has a child.  This is a great way to save some money and to return the favor for someone else! Maybe even consider splitting the cost of a high priced item if a few of you will be growing your families.

5.) Use Coupons

Yes, there are coupons for EVERYTHING. Closer to Easter and Christmas you will see more printable coupons for toys, games and books. Target will also have great discounts through their Cartwheel app during these times.

6.) Use household items


One of my son’s favorite toys is a wooden spoon and a pot. I swear this entertains him longer than any other baby toy that we own. Most evenings he will play with his pot and spoon by my feet while I cook dinner. This is a great way to get creative and see what items in your home you can use as kid craft projects as well. Moms be cautious to what your husband comes up with!

7.) Find free toys online

Freecycle- This is great option where all items listed are FREE!

Craigslist- There is a section for “free” where people will list items that they are going to give or throw away.

Local facebook groups-In my area, we have a local Facebook group for “all things free”. Try searching in your area for a similar group.

Always keep in mind when receiving free items you may have to pick it up from someone’s home.


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Creating a grocery budget

The first step in learning to save on your grocery purchases is to sit down and set a weekly grocery budget. This budget will be different for each person/family. I purchase groceries for a family of five on a weekly basis, so my budget may be higher than a family of three. The steps below, I based on my personal shopping habits and how I set my family’s grocery budget. I encourage you to make this your own and use the steps below as a guide.

1.) Make a list of essential grocery items (weekly).

Essential grocery items for me are vegetables, fruits, bread, milk, eggs and some meats. I want you to make this list as detailed as possible.  For instance,

-6 bananas per week (individual)

-1 bag of apples

-1 loaf of bread

-1 gallon of milk

-2 dozen eggs


-Peanut butter

-1 box of cereal

And so on…

2.) Put a price to those essential items.

I want you to estimate the price per item that you are currently spending.  Of course, as you continue to coupon and shop sales, the price that you pay for items will decrease over time.

-6 bananas or 1 package ($2.00)

-1 bag of apples ($4.00)

-1 loaf of bread ($2.00)

-1 gallon of milk ($3.00)

-2 dozen eggs ($4.00)

-Rice ($2.00)

-Peanut butter ($2.00)

1 box of cereal ($2.00)

As you begin to coupon and stockpile items you will be able to build a surplus of “essential” items (step 5) at rock bottom prices and not have to purchase on a weekly budget. Therefore, saving you money on future grocery purchases and lowering your grocery budget.

3.) Make a list of “extras”.

“Extra” grocery items are the ones that are not needed, but everyone should splurge a little so, let us be realistic with this budget. For instance,

-1 bag of chips

-1 box of crackers

-That box of cookies that your toddler MUST have.

Now do the same as in Step 2 and put an estimated price beside each “extra” item and total.

4.) Total

On average, my essential items total around $30 per week and my “extra” items are around $10.  This totals $40 per week. This should guide you into what your weekly and monthly budgets will look like.  Now a few more steps…

5.)Add a small stock pile budget.

Remember before adding a stock pile budget, be sure to total the amount for step 4 (essential & extras). Each family budget limits will be different. Once you see that your essential and extra items will cost $40 per month then you know, based on your personal limits, how much you can contribute to stockpiling each week.

I personally set aside $10 per week to purchase extra items that are at stock up price. This budget may vary per person, but I do encourage you to try and at least budget $5 per week to begin to see a decrease in your budget in the future.

6.)Final total.

Add step 4 (total) and step 5 (stock pile budget).  My total per week is $50 per week.

7.)Stick to it.

This step can be the most difficult while starting to shop on a budget. If you notice that after a few grocery trips that your essential items cost more than initially estimated, then adjust your budget accordingly. I would try not to add much more to your “extra” or “stockpile” as these are items that are not needed. On the flip side, if you notice you have money left over each week from your budget, then maybe you need to decrease your budget. Remember this is a process.

The two things that help me to stick to my budget are:

  • Make a list.

The key to success is planning!

  • Set aside grocery cash.

I set aside cash each month for groceries ($200 monthly total) and bring my allotted amount each week.                        This really helps me stay accountable and think about each item that I add to my cart.

I encourage you to try this approach for 30 days, which is the amount of time it takes to develop a habit.



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50 freebies on your birthday!

Birthdays are a time for celebration, so why not celebrate with all things FREE? I look forward to my birthday month for all my freebies that I get to enjoy throughout the month. You could practically eat for free your birthday week!

1.) AMF Bowling

Sign up for their Pinsiders Club and receive free bowling.

2.) Arby’s

When you sign up with Arby’s emails you will receive a free milkshake on your birthday.  You also will receive a free classic roast beef sandwich when you first sign up.

3.) Au Bon Pain

Join their Eclub and receive a free birthday lunch.

4.) Auntie Anne’s

Get a free pretzel on your birthday when you sign up for Pretzel Perks.

5.) bareMinerals

Join their Friends and Benefits Program and receive a free gift on your birthday.

6.) Baskin Robbins

Join their Birthday Club and receive free ice cream on your birthday.

7.) Benihana’s

Receive a FREE $30 gift certificate when you register for their Chef’s Table.

8.) Bonefish Grill

Sign up to be a Bone Fish Grill Insider to receive special offers on your birthday.

9.) Boston Market

Receive a free birthday offer when you sign up for their VIP Club.

10.) Buffalo Wild Wings

Join the Buffalo Circle and receive a free dessert on your birthday.

11.) Captain D’s

Join their D’s Club and receive a free offer on your birthday.

12.) Cinnabon

Get a special gift on your birthday when you sign up for Cinnabon Club. You will also receive a coupon for a Free Minibon once you register.

13.) Cold Stone

Receive a BOGO coupon on your birthday when you sign up for My Cold Stone Club.

14.) Cracker Barrel

Go to Cracker Barrel on your birthday and you will receive a free dessert, no sign up needed!

15.) Dairy Queen

Sign up for their Blizzard Fan Club and receive a BOGO blizzard coupon on your birthday.

16.) Denny’s

With ID, you will receive a free Grand Slam on your birthday. Don’t forget your license!

17.) Dunkin Donuts

Sign up for their DD Perks and receive a free beverage on your birthday.

18.) Friendly’s

Join Friendly’s BFF Club and receive a free sundae on your birthday.

19.) Fuddruckers

Join their Fudds Club and receive a special offer on your birthday.

20.) Hard Rock

Receive a special offer for your birthday when you sign up for Hard Rock Rewards.

21.) Hooters

Join Hooters Eclub and receive a free birthday gift.

22.) IHOP

Receive a free meal on your birthday when you sign for their Pancake Revolution.

23.) Jack in the Box

Register for their emails or text messages to receive a special offer on your birthday.

24.) Joe’s Crab Shack

Sign up for Joe’s Catch and receive a special offer on your birthday. Plus, you will receive a free appetizer once your register!

25.) Krispy Kreme

Join their eClub and receive a free donut on your birthday.

26.) Macaroni Grill

Sign up for their email club  and receive a free dessert on your birthday.

27.) Maggie Moo’s

Sign up for their Slab Happy email  and receive a free birthday surprise.

28.) The Melting Pot

Join Club Fondue and receive a free chocolate fondue for two on your birthday.

29.) Moe’s Southwest Grill

Join their eWorld and receive a free burrito on your birthday.

30.) Noodles and Company

Receive a special offer on your birthday by joining the Noodles Family.

31.) Olive Garden

Join Olive Garden’s eClub and receive a free appetizer of dessert on you birthday.

32.) On the Border

Sign up for their Club Cantina and receive a special offer on your birthday. You will also receive free queso on your next visit once you register!

33.) Panera Bread

Sign up for MyPanera and receive a free pastry on your birthday.

34.) P.F. Changs

Sign up for P.F. Chang’s Preferred and receive a free appetizer or dessert during your birthday month.

35.) Qdoba

Sign up for Qdoba Rewards and receive a special offer on your birthday.

36.) Redbox

Receive a free one night birthday movie rental when you sign up for Redbox Play Pass.

37.) Red Lobster

Join the Fresh Catch Club to receive a special offer on your birthday.

38.) Red Robin

Sign up for Red Robin Royalty and receive a free burger during your birthday month.

39.) Rita’s Italian Ice

Sign up for their Birthday Club and receive a free birthday treat.

40.) Ruby Tuesday

Join their So Connected email club to receive a free burger or garden bar entrée on your birthday. You will also receive a free appetizer for signing up!

41.) Sephora

Sign up for their Beauty Insider rewards and receive a special offer on your birthday.

42.) Smashbox

Sign up for their rewards program and receive a free gift during your birthday month.

43.) Sonic

Receive a special offer on your birthday when you create a My Sonic account.

44.) Starbucks

Receive a free birthday drink when you sign up for Starbucks Rewards.

45.) Steak n’ Shake

Receive a free menu item on your birthday when you join their eClub.

46.) Texas Roadhouse

Sign up for their email club to receive a free birthday gift.

47.) TGI Fridays

Sign up for TGI Fridays Rewards to receive a free dessert on your birthday.

48.) Ulta Beauty

Sign up for their Ultimate Rewards program to receive a free birthday gift.

49.) Waffle House

Join the Waffle House Regulars Club to receive a free waffle on your birthday.

50.) Zaxby’s

Join the Zax Email Club and receive a free Nibbler on your birthday.  You will also receive a free sandwich meal for joining!

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Shop With Me: Super Doubles #1

Let me start off with saying that I am normally up and early at Harris Teeter for Super Double coupon events. This time I decided that I was going to take it easy and just go when I woke up and not rush. I am currently in the process of  a “eating down the stockpile” phase. This is basically where I focus on all the food items in my stockpile and pantry and try to make meals with things I have on hand versus continuing to add with couponing.  I will go a little more into this in another post at a later time.

There were a lot of FREE items with paired coupons and Super Doubles, but I tried to focus on getting items that I was either running low on or did not have. Since I have a truckload (or close to) of shampoo, deodorant and other products I tried not to focus on getting those items, even if they were free.

With that being said, here is my first haul of Super Doubles.  Many items were already out of stock since I went later during the day, but I was okay with that. Also, the chocolate chips were a NEED for our tradition of Sunday morning pancakes 🙂 . That added close to $4.00 to my total, but my husband and children almost refuse to eat pancakes without chocolate chips.

Vegetables: $1/2 coupon= .34 cents each

Buffalo sauce: .75/1= FREE

Riceworks chips: $1/1= FREE

Suja drinks: $1/1 (hang tag found on product)= FREE

Canned tomatoes: $1/3= .33 cents each

Robitussin: $2/1= $1.99 each

Kotex pads/tampons: $2/1= .19 each

Hummus mix: $1/1= FREE

Chocolate chips: $3.97 (not on sale, but needed)

Total spent: $16.XX (79 % savings)


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10 Cheap and Easy Valentine’s Day Crafts

Holidays around our house calls for festive pancakes and breaking out the arts & crafts! With Valentine’s Day being no different, I have been searching for some fun activities to do with my daughter.  She is in that fun stage where she thinks arts & crafts are the highlight of her day and I can’t disagree! I am a kid at heart.

I am hoping to get started on a few of these this week.  The DIY bird feeder makes me feel like Spring is just around the corner so this will be first on my list. Enjoy!




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