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Register for 1+1 and be eligible to receive 15,000 bonus Gold Points® – enough for a FREE night at select Park Inn by Radisson hotels around the world.

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Frugal Travel Tips: 12 Tips To Save on Food While Traveling

We have been planning our vacation for this October for a few months now and with a tight budget I have been keeping a list of ideas to help our family save while eating out on vacation. Most people spend $1000′s of dollars on vacation with nothing to show for it. There are many travel expenses that can be reduced and even eliminated with a little planning- food being one of the biggest expenses! Here are some tips we use while on vacation to save on our food budget:

  • Sign Up for Deal Alerts- A few weeks before you head out, do a little research and find local restaurants near  where you are staying. Restaurants are always sending coupons via email to entice you to stop by their place. Coupons for FREE appetizers, FREE desserts and even $$ off coupons.
  • Kids Eat FREE Nights- While you are signing up for the deal alerts above, check out if there are restaurants in the area that offer Kids Eat FREE Nights. Some locations may even let you combine a Kids eat FREE Night with a FREE appetizer coupon, making for one very inexpensive night out!
  • Make a Menu Plan- If you are like me you are already planning meals for your family each week, vacations shouldn’t be any different. Check the stores in the area where you plan to stay and see what they have on sale and plan your meal in accordance. Create a shopping list and take your coupons- this may be a bit of a hassle to have to go to the grocery while on vacation but it will help you save in the long run. Combine sales from the grocery with Kids Eat FREE Nights and restaurant coupons to make the most of your food budget.
  • Purchase a Entertainment Books or Online Restaurant Vouchers- Buying an Entertainment Book or Restaurant vouchers from places like Groupon or Living Social near your destination can help you save 50% to 70% off regular price.
  • Meal Plans at Hotels or Attraction- Check with your hotel or local attractions to see if they offer any meal deals. Some places offer FREE or discounted meals just for booking your hotel stay or purchasing attraction tickets.
  • Pack a Cooler- We plan to drive to our destination so having a cooler for our road trip is a must. But it goes further than that. We keep our cooler in the car during our entire vacation. This way we always have cold drinks and snacks available, no stopping at the closest convenience store or a fast food joint to grab a quick snack. Why pay $2-$3 for a drink when we have a stockpile of drinks that I picked up for less than a $1.
  • Continental Breakfast- Before you book that hotel, see if they offer a FREE continental breakfast. With our family of 5 we can easily spend $25-$35 eating breakfast, multiply that by 7 days and we could drop $245 just to eat breakfast.
  • Find Buffets- Although some buffet prices may not be the least expensive, it will be the best bang for your buck. All you can eat for a set price is great for those finicky eaters, giving them a whole bunch of choices, as well as for those kiddos that seem to have a bottomless pit. Our oldest daughter is fairly thin and you would think she never eats. But there are days that she out eats me and is a close competitor with my hubby and she is only 11! This is a great way to let her eat til she is completely busting at the seams!!!
  • Bring Your Own Appliances- If you are a coffee drinker bring your coffee maker. Want to have a home cooked meal without the kitchen, bring a crock-pot. There are many appliances that you can bring to help save while on vacation.
  • Ask for A Mini Fridge and an Ice Machine- Make sure when you book your hotel, you ask to get a mini fridge and make sure they have an ice machine. Keeping milk for breakfast, lunch meats for quick sandwiches or yogurts for a snack will save you quite a bit with a mini fridge. We keep the cooler full of ice and drinks, so getting a hotel with an ice machine will keep you from buying bags of ice, which can get quite expensive.
  • Ask Your Hotel for a Travel Guide- In the past we have received several travel guides that were filled with coupons and specials for area attractions and restaurants.
  • Skip The Convenience Stores & Rest Stop for Food- The food and drinks at these places are expensive and if you are driving to your destination, just pack those items that you have in your stockpile in the car. Why pay $1.50 for a Gatorade when you picked them up at a Kroger sale for .50!

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6 Tips To Flying With Kiddos

Are you flying this summer for vacation with the kiddos? Check our some great tips to flying with kids from The Coupon Challenge!

Have something you want to share with our readers? Check here to see how you can share!

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Join Alamo Insiders for FREE &and Save 10% or More


Summer vacations are just around the corner, and Alamo is offering exclusive deals when you sign up to be an Alamo Insider! Join FREE today and from now on the best deals come to you. Plus, you can bank on special privileges like a 10% or more member discount on every rental, and self-service kiosks that get you on the road to vacation faster than ever. Whether your next escape is one week or months away, Alamo’s got exclusive deals for you

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2 Unusual Frugal Spending Ways to Save Money on Family Vacations

Family vacations demand one of the biggest crunches of expenditures out of your savings. Although it may seem worth it in the end, still wouldn’t it give you an added joy to know that you can enjoy all that you want and without compromising anything, only if you make an attempt to save some bucks on this trip? How, you ask?

Well, acquaint yourself with the tips given below to know how you can make family vacations an affordable affair, instead of a strain on your planned budget:

Be a local – The easiest eating out or accommodation option on a vacation is to book rooms with a major hotel chain, and when you’re clueless about where to eat, simply land at the nearest restaurant chain you can find.  It may be news for you to know that these overpriced restaurants are often not even half-as-good as the locally owned hotels.

Not only do you save a lot by eating at these locally-operated hotels but you also get to know so much about the place and get the wholesome feel of the authentic culture of the place you’re visiting.

To find the local bed and breakfasts, and hotels along with major attractions of the town, you should check out the Chamber of Commerce website of the place you plan to visit.

Try Out Your Automobile Club Membership for Some Discounts – Use your AAA to get more than just hotel discounts. Make use of your membership for breaks on tickets to major attractions, rental cars, and a lot more. Drop by at the AAA office and ask them what ll deals they have on offer for your chosen destination. Once you’re there, do pick up a few good quality maps, all for free.

In case your state’s automobile association provides a magazine, you may find some advertised specials and coupons in their classifieds section.

With the economy of the country having survived through a real bad hit, it’s our responsibility as American citizen to keep a check on our spending ways. And what better way to adapt to a healthy financial lifestyle than take on the frugal living ideas to live a debt-free life. Check your annual free credit reports every year and make sure you stand in a bright financial light.

Guest Post: Brenda Lyttle believes in finding ways to enjoy frugal living and recommends that you stay within your means and keep a check on your free credit reports online.

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Join Your Favorites- HGTV, Food Network & Travel Channel

The people who bring you HGTV, Food Network, and Travel Channel invite you to join an exclusive online community where you can share your opinions, thoughts, and ideas about topics related to home, food, travel and more!

Under One Roof is your opportunity to tell them about your experiences in home improvement, decorating, cooking, shopping, entertaining, traveling, vacations, and much more. Your opinions will help shape plans for some of your favorite networks.

Plus, you earn points for rewards by participating in surveys and discussion forums. Once you’ve qualified and confirmed your membership in the community, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of three $250 amazon.com electronic giftcards. Be sure to read all terms and conditions before committing to any membership.

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Travel Deal Round-up 7/20

This weeks travel round up is full of awesome ways to save on hotels. Don’t overlook the “Other Travel Offers” for travel-related freebies and news.

HOTEL DISCOUNTS

Hotels.com – Must travel by Sept. 5th (select hotels)*
Free $25 Gas Card- Stay 2+ Nights
Free Kindle – Stay 3+ Nights ($450 minimum)
Rebate up to $100 (depends on length of stay)

Starwood – Free $40 Gas Card with 2+ Nights

Orbitz.com - Save 10% off a hotel stay of 1+ night
Coupon Code: DEALPRO10 (not valid at all hotels)

$50 TheHotelCard.com Credit For $20 (we’ve used this and love it!)

$100 Florida Hotel Card For $49- Eversave

$100 Travelocity Gift Card For $50 – Plum District

OTHER TRAVEL OFFERS

Sign up for the Travel Zoo newsletter to stay in the know. Receive 1 email a week with the Top 20 travel deals. We’ve been signed up for years and have purchased many deals.

Did you hear Groupon and Expedia have partnered up to offer hot travel deals? Head over and check out over 30 travel deals. Not too may places will offer 4 nights in Costa Rica for $280.

Request Free Travel Guides (mail or download)

Join Wazzamba and earn travel related prizes.

Don’t forget about the awesome OfficeMax Hotel deal we posted yesterday.

Thanks theDealyo!

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FREEbie- Disney Parks Vacation Planner

Planning a trip to Disney this summer? Well before you start, request your FREE Disney Park Vacation Planning DVD! Your FREE DVD will include:

  • A complete tour of the 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water Parks and over 20 Resort hotels at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida
  • A tour of the Disneyland® Resort in California, including 2 enchanting Theme Parks and 3 Resort hotels
  • Affordable ways to play and stay during your Disney vacation
  • Plus much more, including pocket-sized planning guides, planning tips, and information on special events
This offer is only available to U.S. and Canadian households. One per household.

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FREEbie- Travel Guides or Planning Kits


If you are going on vacation this summer or if you are looking for a new place to visit, request a FREE travel guide and see what they have to offer. I love getting travel guides, it helps us find new places to visit while on vacation and sometimes they offer specials that has saved us money on dining out, special events and even hotel stays! You can request your FREE travel brochures, maps or travel planning kits!
Free Travel Guides and Brochures – Browse destinations, pick travel guides that you’d like, receive guides Free by mail or download. Click Here

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Staycation Idea: Kid Friendly Garden Frugal Style

Here is Staycation Idea 5- Kid Friendly Garden Frugal Style, thanks to Stretching Your Budget!

Spring is almost here! So, I thought it would be a great time to start planting a garden! Unfortunately it’s not always easy to get the kids involved on such a large project. So, I’ve got the perfect solution for both!
If you’re like me, you love to use Organic products without paying the steep price. My kids absolutely love yogurt and we can usually get it for Free at the grocery store after using coupons! So we have a ton of these little yogurt cups. I was trying to think of what I could use them for instead of throwing them away. Then the other day we got the Danonino Yogurt that had the awesome idea of planting seeds in them! They even come with a little pack of seeds! Even if you don’t have this specific yogurt you can still to this project!

Supplies:

- Clean, empty yogurt cups
- Potting soil
- Seeds ( I would recommend herbs or something that will grow well inside)
- Water
- Kids that don’t mind getting their hands a little dirty!

Directions:

- Fill the container ¾ of the way full with soil
- Place the seed on top and then smooth over with more soil just until you can’t see the seed
- Pour a little water in
- Wait for it to grow!

This is super cheap and easy! Kids love being able to get involved and get their hands a little dirty. Plus, they actually get to watch it grow. Then when it’s ready you get to have fresh organic herbs to use in your favorite dishes! My kids are so excited about theirs!

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Staycation Idea: Indoor Camp Out

Here is Staycation Idea 4- Indoor Camp Out, thanks to The Coupon Challenge!

Many families are looking for ways to enjoy Spring Break without breaking the bank. Stay Vacations are a great way to save money and enjoy quality time together. If the weather is still a bit chilly, have an Indoor Camp Out. Avoid the camping fee, drive and mosquitoes and camp out inside your own home.

You’ll need:

  • A Tent
  • Sleeping bags and pillows
  • Flashlights
  • Games
  • Snacks

Set up a tent in the living room or another area of your home with enough space to accommodate a tent. Lay out sleeping bags and flashlights. Children can pack a backpack with a few toys or clothing items to make them feel more involved in the Camp Out.

For dinner, have traditional camping food such as hotdogs and smores (if you have a fireplace). Read stories, tell ghost stories (or age appropriate stories), play board games & just enjoy being together.

A few rules:

  • Turn off the phone, TV and computer
  • Leave the dishes for the next day
  • Stay together in your “campsite”

Alternatively, make a tent with chairs and blankets in the living room. Rent movies and eat sandwiches for dinner under the tent. Kids will love constructing the tent and getting to eat on the floor!

Photo Credit: Insiderspassport.com

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Staycation Idea: Restaurant Night

Here is Staycation Idea 3- Restaurant Night, thanks to Momondealz!

When vacationing, many people tend to eat out either all or most of the time. You may think that with a staycation, this wouldn’t be possible. I disagree! You can scour your newspaper and home mailings for valuable coupons to local restaurants and venture out to try something new OR you can have a restaurant experience in your own home! Here’s how:

  • Pick your cuisine. Whether your family would like Mexican, Italian, Chinese, or American, you first need to make this decision. Be sure to evaluate your stockpile of groceries when making the choice. You don’t want to blow your staycation budget on one meal!
  • Create an atmosphere based on your chosen cuisine. For Mexican you can use brightly colored fabrics to drape around the room with pictures of sombreros or even a cactus or two. For Italian you can create a romantic mood by having candles on the table or print up pictures of Italy to stick on the walls. The Internet is a great source to help with the decor!
  • Have everyone “dining out” to dress the part. If you want the dinner to have a formal feel, have accordingly. If you are planning an American theme, how fun would it be for everyone to dress in their favorite sport uniform?
  • Make a menu. You can type something up and add stickers or clip art to fit the “restaurant” theme. You can even give the dishes the same names as your favorite dining out meals. To avoid having an expensive dinner, make sure your copy cat dishes are based on your stockpile. Another thought would be to drive to your favorite restaurant and grab a couple of their to go menus; then you could just glue in your meal choices inside! Also, instead of printing a menu, you could grab your child’s easel or chalkboard and write the menu on that!
  • Assign roles. You will need a hos/hostess, a server, a chef, and a dishwasher. Try to change traditional roles to give other a chance to experience something different. For example, if mom usually cooks dinner, have another family member perform this duty.
  • Enjoy your restaurant staycation meal!


Sharon is a mom, former teacher, and blogger for Momondealz. Momondealz is also a family friendly and money saving website!

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Staycation Idea: Spa Day

 

Here is Staycation Idea 2- Spa Say, thanks to Madame Deals for the idea!

Oh Spring Break is upon us and the kids are home. The cash is tight and the ideas have dried up and it is only day two of spring break. Introducing the spa day. This easy to do activity is kind on your wallets and our state of mind. It is also educational! Salvation at last! The first rule of spa day is everyone must be calm, cool, and collect. This is a day of peace and quiet. We usually do spa activities in the bathroom or the kitchen. We grab chairs, a sheet, a radio, bowels, towels, flash lights or candles depending on the age of your spa guests.

We head into the kitchen to create our pampering creations. This is a great way to introduce math through following directions, sequence, and measurement and those skills coupled with reading makes this activity relaxing and educational.

If you have young kids with limited attention spans keep your spa services to a minimum. You can do a face treatment, hand, and feet. If you children are older you can do multiple treatments. You can have them conduct a scientific experiment to hypothesize what the results of the procedure will be. You can ask the children what they think the potion will smell like, feel like, and taste like based on the ingredients. (Only taste if the ingredients are food). You can extend this activity to have them create their own potions and try out their effectiveness and chart the results. You can also have them create a service menu and perform the treatments on you, their friends, or other family members. If you would like to extend this activity further you could set up a spa experience with distinct cost. You will be able to work with money, supply and demand, and possibly barter. This day event could turn into multiple hours/ days of enjoyment.

Here are a couple of recipes for treatments. They are fast and easy and most importantly accessible and inexpensive. If you want to make a longer spa day do the easy procedure first and then add the complex procedure.

Face-
  • Easy- Place a well-mixed blueberry or strawberry yogurt on their face. Then rinse off. 
  • Complex- Take 1 cup of cheerios grinded into a fine powder, some honey and a couple squirt of lemons to create a mask. Then apply to their faces until it dries rinse off.
Hands-
  • Easy- Get a bowl and fill it with warm water and soak your hands with a tablespoon of olive oil. Then put lotion or Crisco, or Vaseline on your hands and place them in gloves (dish kind work) or use socks. If you let the lotion, Crisco, Vaseline site for 30 minutes their hands will be very smooth. 
  • Complex- Take one Tablespoon of cane Sugar and baby oil. Then rub your hands together. Then wash off the mixture and follow up with the easy suggestion above.
Feet-
  • Easy- Fill a bowl with warm water and add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. You can place flower petals on the top or orange slices.
  • Complex- 1 cup of brown sugar, 3 Tablespoons of water, and enough honey to make it liquid, and ¼ cup of oatmeal mix. Then rub your feet to remove dead skin. I would then place their feet in socks with Vaseline, lotion, or baby oil.
Body-
  • Easy- A warm bath with bubbles and cucumbers on their eyes. You could also place one cup of Apple Vinegar in the bath it improves circulation.
  • Complex- Create a body scrub- Use cane sugar and vanilla extract. You could also have them rub pineapples on their skin to remove dead skin. You can have fun and create your own scrub using sugar, oatmeal, bananas, and honey.

What are some ideas that you see for extensions to this simply idea?

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Staycation Idea: Have a Scavenger Hunt

This week our girls are home for Spring Break and I wanted to find a few things to keep them busy all week long without breaking the bank. With my husbands crazy work schedule we were not able to go anywhere for spring break, so I decided that we would have a staycation! Every day this week we have something planned to keep our kiddos busy. And with the help of a few of my bloggy friends, I will share with you a new idea each day.

First, our girls are the type of girls that if they don’t have something to do every minute of the day they are bored! And to be quite honest, I am not sure where they get that from! Just kidding! Anyone that knows me personally, thinks I am a crazy person when it comes to our weekly schedule. I love to stay busy and I love having things to do. I know, it is probably some sort of disorder that I have the need to feel needed and always on the go, but hey, I like it and it works for me!

Second, I knew that we have already planned a few things this week that would help them stay busy, but I wanted to fill in the blanks! We have soccer starting this week, so that means 2 practice and 2 games. We had already planned to go to the Zoo one day, maybe catch the new Wimpie Kid Movie and I was having people over for a 31 Gifts Party.

So with that, I decided that the first idea for our Staycation, was to have a week long Scavenger Hunt. Each day I listed the places that we had to go (see Thursday’s list above) and picked things that I knew our girls would see along the way. Some are really easy, some are a little more difficult, but they each get their own list and at the end of the day we can compare what everyone found and where they found it!! Here is what we are looking for on Thursday to give you an example!

Thursday- We have a Zoo trip, soccer practice and my 31 Gifts party!

  • A Bird
  • A Monkey
  • A Elephant
  • A Tiger
  • A Insect
  • A Fish
  • A Hotel
  • A Zoo Worker
  • A Police Car
  • A Black Building
  • Something Metal
  • A Telephone
  • A Bridge
  • A Coupon ( you know I had to throw that in there!)
  • A Punch Bug Car
  • A Bus
  • A Old Junk Car
  • A Bumper Sticker
  • A Fountain
  • Something Blue
  • A Person With A S In Their Name
  • Something With a Triangle On It

So what do you do on spring break when you aren’t able to travel anywhere? I have more Staycation ideas coming, so stay tuned for more great ideas!

 

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FREE Travel Guides!

Looking to travel anytime soon? Here are a few places that you can request a FREE Travel Guide to the following states.
Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Florida Illinois Indiana Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Michigan Minnesota Missouri Nebraska New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Pennsylvania Tennessee Texas Utah West Virginia Wyoming

 

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