Thursday, January 20, 2011

How We Make It Work, Entertainment Part 2...

Club Sign Ups~  Another thing that Nathan and I utilize are e-clubs.  Chuck-E-Cheese has a great program for the kids.  They receive 20 free tokens on their birthday and on their half-birthdays.  My kids love this and so do I.  It's just enough tokens for them to stay busy for about an hour and then they can utilize the free toys such as the slide, dance camera, or watch the "band."  We also love Dave and Buster's e-club.  They frequently send both Nathan and I free $10 play cards.  With $20 in play cards, again, its enough for about an hour of play time (at which point I am more than ready for some quiet time!) 

Of course, all of the chain restaurants around here have their incentives for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  We don't tend to use these as we don't eat out very often.  However, one we do take advantage of is our Chick-fil-a.  It has provided us with free dinner on many occasions!  They often have all sorts of special days where food is free.  We signed up for the program where they text us promotions.  Money Saving Mom is constantly providing links to restaurants that are having special promotions-- many times these are fast food so we may or may not utilize these perks.

Culture Pass~  Our library offers Culture Passes to the local zoo and museums.  You have to arrive early to secure your pass, but these are worth 4 free tickets to the museum of your choice.  Of course the library also offers free movies, books, and story time for the kids.  Hooray for the blessing of public libraries!

Museum~ Many museums offer a free day.  This is something we are more likely to utilize on a date night paired with dinner out.

Game Night~ Often we will invite a family over for a night of games and appetizers.  Both families bring their favorite snacks and games-- these are such fun!  It's a night out without the costs of food and babysitters :)

Hiking a Volcano

The Great Outdoors~ Sometimes it's nice to get out of the concrete jungle and just *breathe*.  We love to go hiking and exploring as a family.  We pack a picnic and some extra clothes for the kids and go on a "venture," as Elon likes to call it.  These are free and our favorite times to connect as a family and make some memories.  No interruptions, no distractions, and no need to squelch the kids' boundless energy :)

One quick story:

On our 10th anniversary, the whole family loaded up to run to Chick-fil-a for their Cow Appreciation Day in which we dressed as cows to get a free combo meal.  Although, one of us-- *ahem, Nathan* refused to wear his spots.  So, we all ate for free on our 2 hour drive to the condo that our landlord had let us borrow for the weekend.  On our way, our tire was low so we stopped at a gas station where the attendant graciously let us fill up-- for free.   Upon our arrival, we were met by 2 of our landlord's friends who were to give us a tour of all the amenities that the club has to offer.  Because we aren't members of the club, we were going to have to pay a fee to use the pool, billiards room, club house etc.  However, these kind friends had already paid our fee giving us access to lots of fun!  That afternoon, we ate appetizers at the club with a voucher we received upon purchasing our temporary club pass-- again, free!  The next day, on our way to hike a volcano (dormant, of course!) we walked by the condo's neighboring fire house where they were having family day.  Our kids got to explore the fire house and truck, learn what to do in an emergency, and crawl through a simulated smokey room.  Then we all enjoyed a free lunch at the fire house!  After spending 2 days at our "retreat," we returned home and decided to take a little time for just the two of us.
The night after our return, a friend babysat our kids (free!) for us to go to dinner and a museum.  We decided to go early  to a restaurant we love called Flo's where we dined on half-priced appetizers and drinks.  There we ordered 4 different appetizers and rice (the rice is free!)  Total bill including tip:  less than $13.  After eating, we headed to an art museum where it happened to be free day!  We browsed around the art museum then left for Dunkin Donuts and a chocolate covered eclair.  We finished up with a cuppa' joe and book browsing at Borders.  Total cost for dinner, the museum, and dessert: $15!

Our whole anniversary weekend we again witnessed the Lord's unmerited favor and blessing on our family.

These are just some of the ways that our family "makes it work" when it comes to cheap thrills!


New Mom said...

Davene, I love that you changed your id to Davene Grace. I think that is so pretty!

Bonnie, Entertainment is definitely an easy way for me to burn up money. We rarely go out to eat b/c it's just such a waste of money imo. Especially when I could be buying new clothes at Goodwill! Haha!

Davene Grace said...

Yay, a picture of you! Do you still like your hair short, or do you miss your long hair? You look so good both ways. :)

Thanks for the compliment about my name. :) With the new blog, I decided it was time to change my id a little bit...and since Grace really is my middle name, it was an easy choice to include that. There's only one person IRL who really calls me that (a schoolteacher I had in elementary school; she's also a personal friend of the family)...I think she called all her students by both first and middle names.

I loved the story of God's provision for you for your anniversary; thanks for sharing that! You've always been good at finding bargains. :)

Marie said...

Himilce, I loved reading your post. I am still cracking up about the Chick Fillet and dressing like cows, and Nathan not wearing his spots. Loved hearing about your anniversary... all those sweet, wonderful things you guys got to do for free. The firehouse sounds like a great excursion... especially for little boys. Love the picture of you and the boys.

It sure was nice to see you on skype today, and to get to visit a little with you and Elon. What cute clothes for little Ezra too, by the way.

Love you and miss you so much,

Pam said...

Himilce, well, I just left you a post signed in as Marie.
I know she will probably be making her own comments soon enough, but wanted to correct the problem: Ha Ha Ha on me.
Love you

Elizabeth said...

Ohhh I loved the PICTURE! You looks so PRETTY Himilce! And the boys have gotten so big!

I just loved loved LOVED reading about all that you guys have done saving your money and at the same time doing so many fun things! I crown you as the Queen of finding excellent deals! I think the best part of it all is the fun stories afterward!

Love YOU!


P.S. thank you for your sweet comment on my blog!