Fun Family Tradition Examples: For the Holidays and The Whole Year

Fun Family Traditions for Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Halloween and more.

Are you looking for some new and fun family traditions?

Whether your family is large or small, young or old, establishing traditions can cement relationships. It can also evoke warm feelings and create memories that last a lifetime.

Over the years, we’ve read numerous books about the value of family traditions.

These habits and rituals add stability to the yearly calendar as the kids eagerly anticipate and participate in the preparations for each special event. Traditions don’t need to be expensive or elaborate to be memorable.

We hope our most enjoyable ideas will provide the impetus for you to create your own family traditions. … Read more »

How to Get The Most FAFSA Money and Pell Grant Awards

Maximize FAFSA and Pell Grant Money.

If you want to legitimately get the most FAFSA money for your college education, follow these tips and tricks. You’ll get maximum federal student aid in Pell Grants from following our research when you fill out your FAFSA application.

Debt-Free College Series # 4 – FAFSA and Financial Aid

We have  5 kids who have attended college, and we have filled out FAFSA applications with every single one of them.

As a matter of fact, we’ve filled out the FAFSA application several times with each of them.

In the process, we’ve learned several tips from our own experience and from financial aid experts.

In this blog, … Read more »

Homemade Halloween Party Games, Crafts and Food for a Harvest Festival Party

Homemade Halloween Fun & Games for Families!

Are you looking for some Fun Homemade Halloween party games? We’ve assembled a great list to make your party a frugal and fun success. We started with 13 games, but the list keeps growing. We’ve also added some crafts and fun food ideas.

Halloween and the Fall can make for some really fun homemade Harvest party games. We know some people are squeamish about taking their kids out “Trick-or-Treating” so why not borrow some of these ideas. We’ve used variations of some of these for our kids’ birthday parties.

They work great as carnival-type booths or as party games for a small … Read more »

54 Productive Things To Do When You’re Bored

Productive Things to Do When You're Bored

There are LOTS of blogs written about fun things to do when you’re bored.  So, we wanted to put a new twist on that, and offer you a list of productive things to accomplish in this season of staying home more than usual!

We’ve broken this list of productive activities into 9 categories:

Table of contents

1) Money Activities (5 ideas)
2) Outdoor Activities (6 ideas)
3) Organizing Activities (13 ideas)
4) Things to do with Your Computer (5 ideas)
5) Cleaning Activities to do when Bored (7 ideas)
6) Kitchen Activities (5 ideas)
7) … Read more »

Money Gifts to Adult Kids? Good, Bad or Crazy?

Do Money Gifts to Adult Kids really help them?

Will money gifts to Adult Kids really help them? Do financial bailouts enable our children and make them dependent on us as parents? Here are 8 ways to help without enabling them.

Money Gifts for Adult Kids — What Should We Do?

A website visitor asked:

We have three grown kids. Two are doing fine, but the youngest one is married with two kids and is struggling financially. They are behind on their mortgage and credit card bills and they are constantly coming to us asking for help . . . and we’ve been giving it.

What should we do to help … Read more »

10 DIY Non-Scary Halloween Costumes that are Easy, Cheap & Fast

10 Non-Scary Halloween Costumes - Cheap, Fast & Easy!

We’ve got tons of ideas for non-scary Halloween costumes that are easy and cheap to make.

Have you thought about Halloween costumes for you or your kids yet? Does the cost of costumes scare the fun out of Halloween for your family?

Planning for Halloween Takes the Cost out of Costumes

Halloween will be here before you know it. And costume-loving families know that putting together a unique and inexpensive costume takes some planning and some time.

The earlier you start, the more complete and creative your outfit will be—plus you’ll have more time to find great deals.

We know it may sound strange, but … Read more »

Is Swagbucks Legit, or is it a Scam? Our Review [Earnings Reveal]

Is Swagbucks Legit? It is a survey company, search engine, shopping portal, movie previews, playing online games, and trivia contests online!, and something for everyone!

When we first heard about the Swagbucks website, we had to ask ourselves, “Is Swagbucks legit? Or is it a scam?”

We had tried some of the other survey sites and were really disappointed. So we started researching this site to find out.

A blogger friend mentioned how she earned hundreds of dollars in gift cards through Swagbucks. We really doubted the validity of her claim.

We Googled “Is Swagbucks Legit or a scam?” and found some very interesting blogs. Some people didn’t like this website, but others praised it. The positive reviews also claimed to have earned gift cards and cashback through … Read more »

33 Places that Buy Used Cell Phones for Cash – Broken or Working

Trade in Used Cell Phones for cash.

Have you ever wondered, “who buys used cell phones?” Many stores are willing to buy used cell phones for cash.

Do you have some old cell phones sitting in a drawer? Would you like to turn that outdated technology into cash?

This article will help you turn your unneeded phones into needed money.

We’ll share stores that are nearby where you can get cash today for your phone.

And we’ll also share several online options where you can get a quote and then mail your phone in for a cash payout.

Best Places to Sell Old Phones Online

If you don’t want to drive to a … Read more »

Grocery Store Sales Cycles: How to Save a Ton Of Money Stocking up with Holiday and Monthly Deals

Grocery Store Sales Cycles - brown grocery bags stacked on the floor and counter full of sale items.

Knowing the Grocery Store Sales Cycles by month and for each holiday is a great way to save tons of money on food and to fill your pantry and freezer bargain-priced groceries.

One of our best money-saving grocery strategies is to stock up on loss-leaders around the holidays. Grocery stores drop the price on various food items each month and on each holiday to entice shoppers to come to their store. That’s the time we swoop in and pick up deals to last several months.

Every holiday brings an opportunity to find great bargains because most grocers put traditional foods on sale. That … Read more »

Free Stickers! Wow—174 Confirmed Easy Ways to Get Them

A mac laptop with free stickers on it.

Are you looking for free name-brand stickers from companies you, or your kids’ love? We are!

At MoneySmartFamily we love free stuff. Especially free things that our kids love or that can be given as gifts.

We’ve researched hundreds of companies and created this easy to use list. We update it every couple of weeks to keep it current and to make sure all of the sites still offer free stickers. 

98 Companies with sticker request forms on site. (page 1)24 places to send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE) (page 2)19 places with a Contact Form to … Read more »

Garbage Soup: Soup from Leftovers—A Frugal Recipe that Failed

Tapioca Garbage Soup - an attempt at frugality that failed miserably.

Soup from Leftovers and Garbage Soup are usually really delicious. Out of the thousands of meals Annette has prepared over the years, fewer than five have gone uneaten.

This is the story of an infamous one that has become a family legend.

The Concept of Soup from Leftovers / Garbage Soup

That’s right, Garbage Soup. It doesn’t sound appetizing, but in reality, it can be.

Several years ago, Annette read about the concept of saving small portions of leftovers to make soup and decided to incorporate the practice into her money-saving habits.

Whenever she had less than one serving of green beans, corn, mixed veggies, … Read more »

56 Fun, Inexpensive & Interesting Hobbies

Fun, Inexpensive & Interesting Hobbies #InterestingHobbies #InexpensiveHobbies #FunHobbies #INeedaHobby #AffordableHobbies #MakeMoneyHobbies

Have you ever said to yourself, “I need a hobby.” Are you looking for some fun, inexpensive, or interesting hobbies to try?

Hobbies are a great way to challenge you, learn a new skill or provide some extra income. And they’re especially fun if they don’t cost a lot of money to get started.

If you’re looking for something new, check out these 53 choices.

Fun & Interesting Hobbies that Became Successful Businesses

Check out this list of people whose hobbies turned into huge earning potential. They each created a successful business from a hobby started at home.

Read more »

18 Places To Cash A Personal Check Fast and Without a Bank Account

Writing a check with a gold pen.

Have you ever wondered how to cash a personal check when you don’t have a bank account? Or where you can cash a check right now and what the charges would be?

You might need to cash a check from a friend because you’re traveling out of state, or you could have an online bank or you may simply not have a bank account at all.

If someone writes you a check and you don’t have access to your own bank, you may have a problem.

Don’t fret, there are several ways you can cash a personal check without a bank account.

Here’s how … Read more »

Meal Planning: 6 Easy Steps to Make Tasty Menus

Easy Meal Planning to make menus

Meal planning seems to be one of the trendiest things to be doing now. Whether you’re into weight training, catering to a specific lifestyle choice (vegan, keto, paleo, etc.), eating organic or just doing menu planning to save time—this will help you eat healthier for less.

Though, Annette and Steve like to think of themselves as ‘The Godparents’ of the frugal internet foodie trendsetting—Annette started meal-prepping more than 25 years ago to feed their growing family of seven. 

What the Difference Between Meal Planning & Meal Prepping

Menu Planning and Meal Prepping are two amazing tools that will help you to put dinner … Read more »

FREE Coloring Pages for Adults Online: 25 Creative Printable Pages To Relax

A List of Free Coloring Pages for Adults that you can Print and download.

Are you looking for free coloring pages online for adults that you can work on at home? If so we’ll help you find these pages from 25 websites and companies listed below!

From mandalas to zentangles to really cool designs and animals we’ve found them all for you.

Even the most productive adults need some time to recharge and refresh. One way to do this is by unwinding with adult coloring pages. And the way to do it inexpensively is to find free online sources.

There are many resources that have free printable coloring pages for the kid inside of you. So take … Read more »

A Grocery Budget Makeover? The Easy Way to Budget for Food

A Budget Makeover with Groceries is the fastest way to find cash!

If you’re looking for a Budget Makeover – start by changing how you shop for groceries.

Because most of us go to the grocery store several times each week, making a few changes in how you shop is one of the fastest ways to rehab your finances.

How can I lower my grocery bill so I can get ahead on my budget?

Question from an Email Subscriber:

I want to start rehabilitating my finances that will include a budget makeover with groceries. So following your advice, I’m revamping my grocery shopping. I homeschool our 4 young children and they tend to drink a … Read more »

Tips to Freeze Milk and How to Thaw it Safely

Tips to freeze and thaw milk

How can you save money on milk purchases? For years we’ve frozen milk that we bought on sale in our deep freezer, and then defrosted it when we were ready to use it. Freezing milk is not that hard to do if you follow our tips. Learn how we freeze and thaw milk safely and quickly.

1. The Smart Way to Freeze A Gallon of Milk

To freeze milk, pour a little off the top to allow room for expansion. Stand the carton upright in your freezer and then wait about 12 hours. To thaw milk, set it in a microwave for … Read more »

22 Best Trusted Survey Apps: Earn Cash from your Phone

A girl holding a cell phone taking a survey.

Would you love to find the best mobile survey apps that could earn you money? We’ve done all the work for you by researching and testing them.

Do you enjoy sharing your opinion about things? Most of us do.

We’ve researched the 22 of the most popular survey apps that pay you for sharing your views.

The promise of making some money for answering questions might sound too good to be true. And there are some instances where it is.

It’s true that some survey companies might be less than ethical. But the list below only includes legitimate survey companies with good reviews.

These survey … Read more »

Used Car Buying Checklist: 7 Things to Do When Buying from a Private Seller

Use Car Buying Checklist

We created this used car buying checklist to help our young adult kids evaluate their next car purchase.

We’ve always bought used cars from private sellers in Arizona. Our state doesn’t charge sales tax on cars purchased from individuals and this saves us 8.6 percent on the purchase price.

But we’re always careful when dealing with private party sales and follow the tips in this article. We also use the checklist at the bottom to make sure we don’t buy a lemon

MoneySmart Family Used Car Checklist: This easy to use, Used Car Checklist shows you the things you should check when you … Read more »

Expired Meat – How Long is Meat Good After Sell By Date?

Is Expired Meat Dangerous or a Deal?

Want to see people turn up their noses in disgust? Just mention that you often purchase expired meat or meat that is going out of code.

“Code” refers to the date placed by a grocer or manufacturer on a grocery item revealing its use-by, sell-by or freeze-by date.

We did an interview on ABC’s 20/20 with Elizabeth Vargas. When she saw a video clip of Steve selecting some discounted ham in a grocery store, she was puzzled.

She said, “You are picking up bargains on items most of us would avoid, like expiring meat.”

She continued, “Most people don’t want to buy meat that … Read more »

Buying a Home with a Low Credit Score: Repeat & First Time Home Buyers

Buying a home with bad credit or a low credit score is possible.

Buying a home with bad credit can really be challenging. And if you have a poor credit score it can be even tougher. If you’ve always dreamed of owning a home, but you’re struggling with saving a down payment or raising your credit score, we’ve got hope.

There are several steps you can take to repair credit, find a lender, and realize that goal of homeownership. This guide will help you find all the resources you need.

Step One: Work on Your Credit

Bad credit and a low credit score are major obstacles when purchasing a home. Lenders use your credit score to determine … Read more »

Once A Month Bulk Cooking to Make Easy Freezer Meals

Discover the Freedom that once-a-month cooking brings to your life

Have you heard of Once-A-Month Cooking—where you prepare a month’s worth of meals in one day?

How about Bulk Cooking where you prepare large batches of several meals that are divided and stored for later? 

Or lastly, freezer meals which are essentially the same as Once-A-Month and Bulk cooking, with all meals being stored in the freezer.

Do these ideas sound impossible or just too overwhelming? We’re talking about making meals super efficiently so that you can experience Cooking Freedom! 

Well, Annette felt completely overwhelmed with the idea of Once-A-Month cooking when Steve first mentioned it to her more than 30 years ago. But … Read more »

37 Garage Sale Tips and Tricks: A Guide To Hosting Great Yard or Garage Sale

Wooden yard sale sign posted on a wire fence. Guide to Hosting Great Garage Sales.

If you’re looking for Garage Sale Tips and Tricks, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve hosted and participated in dozens of very successful garage sales.

We’ve written this Garage Sale Guide to help you turn your unwanted treasures into cash. There are 37 ideas presented on this page to help you run an efficient and profitable yard sale at your home. Or to host a rummage sale for a charitable organization where you volunteer.

Hosting A Garage Sale – Where to Start

Have you ever wondered how to host a great and profitable garage sale? We’ve hosted dozens of yard or garage … Read more »

15 Ways to Wreck Your Food Budget

15 Ways to Wreck your Food Budget - Tips for Saving Money!

Learning to manage your food budget is one of the fastest ways to start turning around your family household budget. We see so many families practice grocery shopping habits that drive their food costs through the roof.

If you’ve never been shown how to master the art of food shopping and meal prep, don’t feel bad.

It’s a much easier game to learn than you realize.

Take the Quiz and See How You Do

Put a checkmark next to any statement that describes something you’ve said or done in the past six months:

 1) I go to the store several times each week.

Going to the … Read more »

The Secret Fix: How to Rehydrate Droopy Limp Carrots

A Terrific Limp Carrot Fix!

Have you ever purchased carrots that are rubbery, limp and droopy? Have carrots that you store in your refrigerator lost their crispness and crunchiness?

Don’t despair, your produce is not ready for the trash can or compost pile. You can rehydrate limp carrots and return them to their crisp and crunchy original condition.

Watch the video at the bottom of this page as Steve demonstrates how easy it is to fix limp carrots.

Why Do Carrots Get Rubbery and Limp?

Carrots are a root vegetable and consist of 88 percent water. By comparison, cucumbers are 96 percent water. Carrots get limp when their water … Read more »