Here are 6 Ways to Save Money this Valentine’s Day without feeling like a cheapskate. Valentine’s Day is not one of my favorite holidays… but it is never a bad thing to recognize the ones you love and let them know in some special way. When you are trying to save money, sometimes you feel pressure to spend more than you really should. Remember that expensive gifts don’t equal more love. You will show love to your husband more by staying on budget than a fancy new watch.
6 Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day
1) Split baby sitting cost with other couples.
Hire 1-2 baby sitters to watch several kids at one house. Let them have a pizza and movie night while all the parents get to go out on date. Leave craft supplies for older kids to work on their own Valentine’s day cards to keep them busy.
2) Find free things to do in your town.
We have an art museum here in Richmond that is free every day to the public. It is romantic to walk around (and pretend like you are more cultured that you really are.) Most larger cites will have a website that list free ideas to do in town. One idea is to go to a local park and walk hand in hand depending on weather. Go to a nice shopping center and window shop.
I love a clean house, I just don’t like cleaning. If I can find a product that simplifies my cleaning routine and is all natural, I’m sold.
I first heard about these cloths that are able to clean with just water from a friend. These cloths contain fibers of silver that are anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. As you clean with e-cloths, the microfibers collect all the bacteria and germs off the surface . Then, they are able to clean themselves in just a few hours, killing all the bacteria trapped inside. You can use the same cloth for a week without needing to clean it. Less laundry? Again… this product was screaming my name.
I watched a few you tube videos of moms using these cloths and testing how effective they are with killing bacteria and cleaning. Several videos used a protein swab to show how the ecloth was able to clean raw meat juices from a plate, leaving no trace of proteins behind… with just water!
I’m a mom and I am concerned about my two girls being around harsh chemical cleaners. I was making my own cleaners for a while with vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia. This is so much easier! I even was able to use the cloth on my swiffer that I already had to clean the floors.
Annaleigh is just about to start crawling (she’s at the roll to get everywhere stage). I am getting more and more aware of what is on my floor. I’m not a huge germaphobe, but I’d rather have her not eat dust bunnies for a snack either.
I bought several of the e-cloths: the shower cloths, the stainless steel cloths, scrubbing clothes, window polish cloths and the universal stone (all natural really deep cleaning cream). I cleaned my whole downstairs in just a few minutes and let Aidalyn help because there are no chemicals. I think dusting with an e-cloth will be the perfect first chore for her.
This is what I bought:
Shower pack, Stainless Steel pack, 4 general purpose cloths, 1 bathroom cloth, 2 window polishing cloths, the universal stone paste, body cloth and more.
E-cloths have 480,000 strands per cm squared. This is what allows it to clean so well and be so absorbent. It holds the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval and is recommended by Bosch, Deva, AEG, Electrolux, Miele, De Dietrich, Bristan, Siemens, Baumatic, NEFF, Franke, and Ideal Standard.
E-cloths are able to remove 99% of bacteria including E-coli and Listeria. Studies show the bacteria stays inside the cloth until it is rinsed. After it is rinsed, the e-cloths reintroduced only 0.01% of bacteria back onto the sterile surface. This shows that only water and e-cloths are needed to clean.
I used these on my very, very dirty stove. It had burnt on foods and grease spills… It works people! It cleaned it all up with just water and the e-cloth. I used the stainless steel e-cloth and then I finished with a stainless steel polish cloth.
E-cloths save you money because you no longer need any other products to help you clean. You can also use these in place of paper towels. You only need to wash them about once a week which can also save you money on laundry loads.
For day to day use, you just rinse the cloth under the faucet with hot water. When you are ready to wash, machine wash with detergent on high heat and a good rinse. Then hang to dry. I cloth diaper, so I wash mine using Charlies Soap. You don’t want to use bleach or fabric softener. If the cloths start losing performance, you can just boil them with water to refresh it.
Good for the Environment
No more harsh chemicals, toxins, or fumes being released into the environment. This is great for all houses, but is very important for families with kids. Your babies and kids don’t need be exposed to all the chemicals that are in most cleaning products. When moms clean, the kids are usually not far away. This eliminates the concern about exposing kids to all the bad ingredients in harsh cleaners. It is also safe that they can join on in and help.
Real Simple Magazine choose E-Cloths for Best Product in 3 Cleaning Categories.
E-cloth’s scrubber won for best scrubber. Having both a gentle abrasive side for scrubbing and a microfiber side for wiping. It also is curved so it naturally fits in your hand better.
E-cloth’s microfiber cleaning cloths won for best all around. It was the best at collecting dust, best at cleaning with just water, and best to stand up in the washing machine. They are guaranteed to last up to 300 washes (just remember no bleach, fabric softeners, or dryer sheets).
E-cloth’s mop won for best washable mop. The mop has a large head that can turn in a 360 degree motion. Just use with plain water to clean your floors. You then can toss the microfiber head into the washer when done.
These were the perfect cleaning solution I was looking for. You can buy your e-cloths here and start cleaning with just water (affiliate link):
Here is the start of simple and environmentally friendly cleaning! How do you like to clean naturally? read more
10 Tips for Going to Disney with Small Children and Saving Money
Disney is the most magical place! All that magic comes with a price.
You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the perfect Disney Vacation with your family.
Here are my 10 Tips for Going to Disney with Small Children and Saving Money!
Lodging: We were so lucky to be able to stay at my parents 2 bedroom condo at Orlando Breeze Silverleaf Resort with a full kitchen for free! This really helped us lower our cost in many different ways.
First, we cooked breakfast in the condo each morning before heading into Disney. This saved us time and money! We also ate most lunches outside the park and dinner too.
Second, it was 2 bedrooms – This saved us some sanity by allowing Aidalyn to have her own bedroom, so we could stay up or wake up early without bothering her.
=&0=&: We decided to drive the 11 hour trip from Richmond to Orlando. It was really an easy drive. We woke up super early (4:30 am) and were on the road by 5. We made it to Orlando by dinner.
If we had flown we would have had to buy 3 tickets since Aidalyn is over 2 and also would have had to rent a car once we arrived in Orlando.
Tickets: We bought our tickets early on www.undercovertourist.com The prices of tickets just went up and we were able to purchase ours $30 cheaper each by buying early.
All children under 3 are free, so we purposely decided to go one month before Aidalyn’s 3rd birthday. This saved us over $200.
When to go: We decided to go the first week of November. This is historically a low season time and it was noticeable. The longest wait time for a ride was 15 minutes – I think for Buzz lightyear. Most times we waited less than 5 minutes for anything.
It was also during the Food and Wine festival at Epcot – which was certainly a highlight of the trip! The festival runs for 45 days through the end of September to the beginning of November.
Food: We decided to eat most of our meals outside of Disney. We ate breakfast in the condo and usually ate at a restaurant for lunch and dinner. Some days we only ate one main meal like a late lunch and then just snacks for dinner in the condo after we got in late from the park.
We also took snacks into Disney to cure any munchies. We brought protein bars, breakfast bars, Annie’s Bunnies, apples, fruit gummies, and pretzels. We also brought our own water bottles that we just refilled throughout the day at the park.
That is one nice thing that Disney doesn’t mind you bringing food or drinks into the park – and that definitely saves money!
Toys: Before we left, I purchased a few new small toys to give to Aidalyn each morning on our way to Disney so she would have something new and wouldn’t be tempted to shop in the stores (luckily these also kept her busy through any line waiting we had to do). I bought a few My Little Ponies on ebay and a few small princess figurines.
I also bought some light up toys for her to have once it got dark in the park. We all enjoyed the light up bracelets and necklaces. She had special light up rings and hair extensions.
Gear: We didn’t need to use it during our trip, but I packed a plastic rain cover for our double stroller. We brought hats and sunscreen for during the day and jackets for at night.
Annaleigh is almost 5 months old. We brought a carrier for her which ended up being almost as important as the stroller was! She would take naps in it while we rode rides or walked to the next land. I used a Baby Bjorn because it is easy to strap on and doesn’t take up much room.
Schedule: Our plan was to be at the park 30 minutes before it opened, then leave for a late lunch, catch a nap, then head back to the park for more fun in the evening (probably my favorite time). We stayed all day at Epcot the first day without leaving and surprisingly Aidalyn did great. The rest of the days, it was pretty obvious that she needed the nap – and we didn’t mind a break from the hottest part of the day either. We usually made it back to the park by 5 or 6 and were able to stay as late as we wanted.
We did one day at Epcot, 3 days at Magic Kingdom, and our final day at Hollywood Studios. It ended up working out well for us. Magic Kingdom was certainly our favorite, so we were glad we spent the most time there.
Since the crowds were lower, we didn’t have to use any fast passes during our trip. We did however, go straight for attractions that were popular first before a line developed. We did this for Enchanted Tales with Belle, Meeting the Princesses, and the Toy Story ride at Hollywood Studios.
We were able to also park so close to the park that we didn’t have to ride the tram (avoiding another wait line when ready to go). Every day we were able to get a great parking spot when we returned to.
Aidalyn’s favorite rides were the People mover in Tomorrow land, The carousel, and the Tea cups.
Costumes: The kids love to dress up at Disney. If you look to buy something there, the dresses will cost over $60… We were SO incredibly lucky to be able to borrow 2 dress up dresses for our trip, one Ariel and one Minnie Mouse. I did by a crown for Aidalyn on Amazon.
Apps: I used undercover tourist app on my iPhone to help with maps, scheduling attractions based on location or what has short or long lines, and managing parade times or shows. It is a great app! I would totally recommend having an app on your phone before going to Disney.
Disney is such a magical place to go for anyone – couples, singles, families, young or old. I can’t imagine anyone being there not having a great time. We honestly can’t wait to go back! I hope that this post helps you plan your trip to Disney with small children and makes it a great trip for you as well!
Have you gone to Disney or another Theme Park with kids? Do you have any Disney Tips to share?
Adam and I were married really young (21 & 19 respectively).
I am so thankful we were introduced to Dave Ramsey before we were married. I will credit this to Daryl Wolgemuth teaching one night at the college group. From that point on, Adam and I read Dave Ramsey’s books and listened to his radio show preparing us for when we were going to have to live on a budget.
It is said that before you get married you need to agree on the 4 main pieces: Money, Dealing with In-laws, Children, and Religion. Doing so will save you from a multitude of fights and disagreements later on.
Some of Dave Ramsey’s principles I wanted to share today that impacts us:
We live off a budget and we stick to it.
In this day in age where it is so easy to get a credit line, we have chosen to pay cash for everything (except our house). Playing with credit is dangerous. It doesn’t allow you to save for things and treasure them. Secondly, it forces you to live within your means. I have to say, when we were first married, we were broke. But we started saving our money from that first paycheck. Now, we both have very good jobs and are much more relaxed, but still hold true to the principles we learned when we were just barely making it.
We don’t buy things that don’t matter.
Neither of us are spenders in general. Gifts are not our love language, so that makes it easy. We changed how we spend our money to help us value what we do have. We stopped buying cheap DVD’s just because they were cheap (This was kind of a hobby Adam picked up!). We think about every purchase asking “Do I really need this?” This usually stops me from buying another shirt at the store, because I know I have several shirts I haven’t worn in forever – why add another to the pile? I also follow a list at the store pretty closely to keep me from buying anything that I don’t need or I already have at home.
We shop for deals. If I can buy something cheaper online, I usually do. I buy somethings in bulk to save money. We use red-box instead of renting from the store – or going to the theater.
We buy used. I shop consignment stores for good deals on clothes for Aidalyn. We also buy used cars.
We save money.
Each money, we put a percentage of our money in savings for retirement.
We give money away.
This message is taught in the Bible. The more you give, the richer you will be (maybe not richer in earthy values). It may be counter productive mentally. The bible says it is better to give than receive. This may not even be in money. You can give your time as well.
It is important to remember how to view money. Our money isn’t our money at all. It is a tool God gives to us to provide for us and to bless other people. God allows people to have money, not to hoard it, but to be his hands and feet. He is actually giving you a gift, so you can then get the joy of giving it away – how neat is that?