Recently, I posted our daily schedule for school days on Instagram.
Because the littler kiddo is still learning to read, I do a combination of words and pictures. I find that it also helps as sometimes when kids become disregulated, reading can be a little too much for our brains.
The Afternoon/Night section doesn’t have times because while bedtime is at a fixed time, it is important to grant the kids some freedom in the afternoons to relax and decompress from school. After being “on” all day at school, I like to give them 30 minutes to an hour after school to have a snack and relax without any kind of demands put on them.
There are of course times when that is not possible, for example when we have appointments immediately after school. Having a schedule for them to see really helps them organize and be aware.
Having two neurodivergent kiddos, it’s important to have visual reminders of schedules, family rules, appointments, etc. around the house. Each kid has a calender in room that is updated monthly with upcoming appointments, days off school and holidays. Updating those each month is something I do the first day of each month. I use stickers in addition to writing to help remind the kids of upcoming events on the calenders.
With Neurodivergency sometimes comes what we call “losing time”. The concept of time can be hard for kids to grasp, regardless of their neurodivergency. Another way that we help keep the kids on schedule is to use the old theater trick where we give them a one hour “call”, a 30 minute call, a five minute call, and then a time to go call. Grown ups call out, “One hour until X”, and the kids answer back, “Thank you one hour!” Making them repeat the amount of time they have left until we leave or transition activities puts it in their mind that whatever they are doing/playing/watching will come to an end.
Talk Back: I’d love to hear about the tips and tricks you use to keep your family on schedule!
Check out your local indoor mall for fun family activities. In San Diego, we’ve got a couple- Plaza Bonita, Parkway Plaza, and Westfield North County (the mall formerly known as North County Fair). Each one has monthly fun activities for kids and families- just check your local mall’s website.
Have you seen the kinds of Groupons that are available lately? Uptown Jungle has 6 options! There are all kinds of fun activities from Axe throwing to waterparks, you’ll be having all sorts of frugal adventures in no time.
Get in the Water! Beach, lake, river, local pool… whatever. Heck, get in a kiddie pool and splash around. Don’t forget the SPF and snacks.
If you want to stay home, close up all the windows, draw the shades/curtains, turn on all your fans, set the AC to something comfy but not arctic (for us, that’s 80-82 degrees when it’s going to be over 100 outside). Once the house is chilled out, pop some popcorn and assemble some awesome snacks (We had this pumpkin/fuck it bucket because I received it in the mail to review), make a pillow fort and watch some fun movies. We did that the other day. We watched Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Zootopia.
If you are looking for a way to cool down in your pillow fort, this little dude is pretty cool (haha, temperature pun!)
Talk Back: What are your favorite ways to beat the heat?
1st and 15th: Mail out SBKC junk mail envelopes. I process our mail when it all comes in and I put the junk mail in the envelopes as it comes in.
Daily: I spend a little time each day (usually while I drink my coffee in the morning working my points programs. This includes Mypoints (I save all of my Mypoints emails and do them all at once, one time a day). I also check my Field Agent App to see if there are any quick tasks I can do to earn some extra money that day.
As I am notified via email: Paid View Point (some of the surveys are time sensitive- those usually pay extra!), PineCone Research (surveys must be completed 3-6 days upon receiving the email).
Last day of the month: Clean out coupon wallet and removed expiring/expired coupons.
As needed/codes become available: I use the Swagbucks tool bar to do most of my internet searches, so I earn Swagbucks points intermittently with that too. I also order free samples when I see them available online. I’ll be posting about what I do with all the samples coming up.
I try to do as much shopping online with discounts as I can. That means I check with Mypoints and Topcashback to see who is giving the better points/cash back, and I shop online a lot (especially in the summer when I’ve got both kids at home- it’s easier on the budget).
Being Frugal ain’t easy sometimes, kids. I won’t lie.
It’s not always carts of free groceries, double coupons, and mail boxes fulla rebate checks.
Sometimes it’s getting stuck with a cart full of free food that’s yucky (once I bought a bunch of dinner kits that were free after coupon, but they tasted like what I imagine dog food resembles), a newspaper full of .35 off a huge package of already very expensive toilet paper, and an empty mail box (or a mailbox full of bills-Even Worse!).
These are all experiences that every couponer and frugal person goes through.
How do I keep my head up during the hard times were it seems like no matter how I try, money is just pouring out of my hands, and I can’t get a handle on it?
This too shall pass! It’s hard to believe, but everyone goes through it. Even frugal folks like me!
Count your blessings. And while you’re at it, inventory your pantry, fridge, and other stockpiles. Know what you’ve got on hand, and find ways to use up what you’ve got- That will help you get spending under control.
Make a plan. How can you: Repair, upcycle, use up or do without? Don’t forget local community resources like freecycle, Craigslist free section, and your local branch of the Buy Nothing Project to help you find what you need.
Forget about the Joneses. Everyone wants what’s new, bigger, better, faster. Get out of that mindset. Forget about what your friends and neighbors have, and focus on what matters. Family, friends, and being a good person (seriously!). If you ever find yourself thinking “What kind of dining set defines me as a person?” maybe it’s time to re-assess priorities.
Don’t spend money. For some people, shopping is catharsis. Buying new things makes you feel new, but at the end of the day, how did all this stuff get paid for? If you gotta get out and shop, check out a local thrift store. Support a charity and save some money.
How do you keep your head above water when living the frugal life gets hard?