With the rising costs of nearly everything in our lives, it is ever so important for families to find ways to cut costs and save money. According to the U.S. National Usage and Broadband Report, 77.3 percent of households have access to the Internet and use it daily. Today’s Frugal Family focus is to share some of these invaluable resources so you and your family can start a savvy spending spree and save time too.
Our first area of savings begins with a party. We all know that the cost of a party -- whether for a child, an anniversary or a summer barbecue -- can add up fast and when the party is over, most decorations end up in the trash and the money spent and time shopping is just a fleeting memory. In order to combat this beast, there are several ways to save for that big event.
One awesome site to browse and shop for any kind of celebration is www.orientaltrading.com. Have you ever gone to a party store and they are just one hat or two of the same party favors short of what you need? With Oriental Trading Company at hand, items can be purchased singularly or in bulk and there is a massive inventory to choose from. Items are priced low and they have daily sale sections including one of my favorites which are the "less than perfect" section. Items that are just a shy bit short of their normal quality can be bought at a fraction of the original costs and can hardly be differentiated from their "perfect" counterparts.
Another similar thrifty site is www.partypalooza.com which is for children’s parties only. If you need an idea for a theme or a fun party game, then this is the place to visit. Party Palooza also is well-known for its goody bags of all sizes which can be custom made for prompt delivery and satisfaction. Why not let someone else do the work for you? Again, items are well-priced and even more so in their "close-out bonanza" section.
One more fabulous store can now be found online: www.dollartree.com. Not only can those party favors be found for cheap, but other standard household items are available too. Have you ever gone to the dollar tree store with one item in mind and then find yourself walking out with a cart full of “well, they only were a dollar” items? Online shopping can be a great way to avoid buying that visual point of purchase item, or 10 of them.
Moving along from party land and into the sports arena is a fabulous site, www.playitagainsports.com. As much as we want our children and ourselves to be healthy and actively involved in sports or exercise, the cost for gear, equipment, uniforms, etc., can empty the wallet fast. At Play it Again Sports, quality used equipment can be bought for 50 to 70 percent off what new equipment would cost. Also, you can trade in old equipment for brand new equipment at a discount! And one … well OK, two more awesome points — you can simply trade across the board or if feeling generous, donate your gently used items.
From parties to sports, there always should be a time to simply relax, but when? In our busy lives we often forget about that vital relaxation time. When was the last time you or your family sat and actually read a book or magazine together or just alone? Now we can and we don’t have to necessarily sit or spend a lot of money to do it with www.kidsaudible.com and www.audible.com.
Accessing these sites will allow you to pick audio books to download on tape, CD, Mp3 or iPod for up to 90 percent less than what an actual book would cost at a retail store. Simply download the book and listen any time you want! If you want to try it for free, there is also a 14-day trial offer. If almost free is not quite good enough, then there is a free audio book download section as well.
If reading is not on the agenda, then how about visiting www.apple.com for downloadable iPhone applications? Apps are a great way to occupy time for children as well as for adults, and while some are free, there usually is a minimal cost. If you are thinking about taking a long road trip with the family then think about downloading some fun and creative apps to keep everyone busy — of course this is not to say that conversations can’t be had as well.
I could go on and on but all good things must come to an end … well, almost. Two more frugal websites that command attention and offer stellar dollar savings are www.groupon.com and www.livingsocial.com. These sites offer amazing deals locally on food, entertainment or services such as salon and spa visits. Although not all may be right in your hometown, they are definitely worth looking into for perhaps a new and fun experience especially when savings are sometimes up to 80 percent off the normal cost.
Now that you have some great ideas on how to save a lot of time and money, check out these websites and have some frivolously fabulous frugal fun. As for me, I’m off to treat myself to a massage which was, by the way, 50 percent off.