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Simple Savings Strategies For The School Year

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Well, we've hit the ground running: school started and the constant chaos it brings is already in full force. That means the fees, costs, and donations have started pouring in as well. Thankfully, this is not our first go-around. By the time there is a middle-school aged child in the house, you've learned a few things. If you are budget household, you've definitely learned  how to control the costs that come with the start of school. Here are the ways we manage simple savings strategies for the school year:

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Back To School Supply Basics

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We are in the last few weeks of a dead sprint toward school in our household. My children envy those who go back to school at a later date, conveniently forgetting that those same students started summer later as well. So, basically, for the next two weeks we are doing nothing but organizing, planning, and shopping for back to school supply deals and discounts. You too? Well, before heading out the door in a panic, check out our handy round-up of back to school supply basics:

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Frugal Boredom Busters to Get You Through Summer

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"I'm bored" has to be one of the most disliked phrases ever to fall upon parents' ears. Especially in mid- July when summer, depending on where you live, is either coming to an end or just hitting the half-way mark.  Never fear - we have many solutions to this oh-so-common childhood ailment! Here are our favorite  frugal boredom busters to get you through summer:

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Easy Summer Saving Strategies

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As we move into July, it marks the middle of summer break for some and really just the beginning for other households. In our house, we find that summer also happens to bring new budget challenges. Longer daylight hours, no rigid school routines, and increased social opportunities all have a way of increasing both our enjoyment of summer, and the amount of money we spend. Wondering how to get a handle on it? Well, these easy summer saving strategies are a start!

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5 Easy Summer Crock Pot Recipes

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  Like most of the US, our region is already suffering from sweltering weather. This early onset of heat has us more lethargic than usual and losing motivation for even the most menial of tasks. For example, cooking feels like too big a project to tackle these days. Usually in summer, salads are the go-to food since they are light, easy and cheap. However, there are only so many salads a family can tolerate. The food budget has taken a beating too since grabbing food out seems to be happening more and more. Imagine then, the delight and surprise when friends brought a crock-pot meal down to the pool one evening. Crock-pot meals are a life saver in the winter. Why not summer too? After all, crock pot recipes tend to feed more, cost less, and require so little work. Yes, yes, and yes please! Once you start searching, you'll be amazed at how many summer crockpot recipes are available. Here are 5 easy summer crock pot recipes to get started:

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Best Tips For Budget Family Vacations

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Summer is finally here! Schools are out across the country, pools are open and everyone is in flip-flops again for the next couple of months. Naturally, many have already mapped out a trip for the season. We weren't as certain one would work, but now have a strong urge to get something on the calendar. We are working with a tight budget, so we plan to use these tips we learned to score budget family vacations:

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Father’s Day Gifts: Tools, Tech, and Ties

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According to a recent article, Mother's Day spending was expected to be higher than ever this year. Seems that families really want to be sure mom feels the love. But what about dad? Well, apparently we spend far less on Father's Day gifts. In fact, Father's Day may just be the smallest of the gift-giving holidays. Granted, we don't feel you have to spend a fortune on Father's Day gifts, but we do think a thoughtful gift is a must. Luckily, there are some standard Father's Day gifts you can grab without going over budget! Here's what we think make pretty great Father's Day gifts:

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5 Great Gifts For College Graduates

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Let's be honest, the best gifts for college graduates would involve jobs and/or money. Cash is truly a fantastic gift for a recent grad, especially if you give it in a clever manner.  However, there are a number of other great gifts for college graduates that they would truly appreciate. After all, this is a time in a graduate's life where any and all assistance is greatly appreciated! So, if you haven't grabbed something yet, here are 5 great gifts for college graduates:

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Top Mother’s Day Gift Deals

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Don't panic, but did you realize we are about two weeks away from Mother's Day? I know, I know - it snuck up on me too this year. So I snuck a peek at last year's round-up of ideas and while I still like all of them, I need something more this year. Granted, moms all over are ecstatic to simply get the gift of time off or the gift of fun time with the people they love most (no chores allowed of course). However, every once in awhile it's just nice to get an actual present and so for Mother's Day this year I plan on giving something and, fingers crossed, maybe getting something too. Of course, let's not be hasty; I still need frugal Mother's Day gift options that won't blow my budget. Thankfully, most of the gifts I want to give are pretty traditional which means there are a lot of sales and coupons for them. That's why I've rounded up these top Mother's Day gift deals:

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5 Smart Ways To Use Your Tax Refund

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Next week brings April 15th, the big TAX DAY for most Americans. While the task of filing taxes brings much anxiety, most people (around 70%) still get a tax refund. That means many people will find in their bank account or mailbox a small lump sum that perhaps wasn't already accounted for in the budget. What's a family to do with a tax refund? Obviously, that's a very personal decision, but here are 5 smart ways to use your tax refund:

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