February is Fun for Seniors at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park!

If you have a senior in your life and you want to send them on a frugal adventure, check out this sweet deal!

The kids posing with Jefferson’s Sloth

During the month of February, all visitors age 65 and older receive free admission to the Safari Park. Enjoy the sights on an Africa Tram, see the platypuses and other Aussie species at Walkabout Australia, wander through Tiger Trail, take a stroll around Mombasa Lagoon, and relax with refreshments on the patio at Kijamii Overlook. There’s a world of sights to see—all at the Safari Park!

For more information about Seniors Free, check out the Seasonal Events section of our FAQ page.

Seniors 65+ must present valid photo ID at turnstiles for free entry. Parking is not included.

My kids love the Safari Park, and while we are waiting for our tax refund to renew our zoo/safari park membership, this deal is definitely a must-do for anyone over 65!

The kids love Meerkats.


Some frugal tips for visiting your local zoo/animal park (These are all true for the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, your local parks may differ)

  • Bring your water bottles, and fill up at the drinking fountains/filling stations all over the park.
  • Pack your own snacks/lunch. There are tons of picnic/eating areas all over the parks.
  • Bring some cash for 1 treat/toy/souvenir. With cash, you have a firm budget.
  • If you are a zoo/safari park member, you may get a discount in the shops/restaurants (check online).

Q-insights Business Owner Study -$300

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Q-insights is another company that I do research groups, focus groups, and online surveys to earn extra money.

They have a lot of stuff in South Orange County, and less often San Diego County. These days they are doing most of their studies online via chat or online surveys.

Right now Q-Insights is currently recruiting business owners for a 1-hour webcam interview.

This study will run from October 4th to October 8th and you will be compensated $300 as a thank you for your time.

If you are interested in participating please fill out the pre-screener survey here. If you pre-qualify, Q-Insights will call you to ask for some additional qualifying questions.

 

Fun & Crafts for the Whole Family: Shrink Plastic Crafts!

Most of us Gen X kids remember shrinky dinks. They’re still around. You can buy craft kits at Dollar Tree, Five Below, local craft stores, or on Amazon.

Recently I found LOL Surprise shrink plastic kits at dollar tree and I picked a couple up.

We were also recently given shrinkable plastic by the sheet. And this is great because you can draw your own designs, cut them out, hole punch them, shrink them in the oven, and end up with all sorts of cool stuff.

If you’re not familiar with Shrink Plastic, it is super fun and simple craft with anyone who can color can do. However, it does require adult supervision at some point during the craft, cause you have to use the oven.

To do this craft you will need the following items:

Before…
After…

You are looking to make a specific design, you will need to print that image out onto a piece of white paper. And then you will trace it onto the shrinkable plastic using a pencil. Word of advice: most shrinkable plastic shrinks significantly if you start with an image that is the size of a silver dollar, it will come out about the size of a dime.

Also important to note, punch a hole if desired, in the plastic before you shrink it. Once it has shrunk and is hard, it is almost impossible to put a hole in it. Especially without damaging the plastic.

Once your design is traced/drawn onto the plastic, color it with permanent markers. I like these markers.

Once your design is colored, punch a hole in it as desired/needed. Then cut your image/design out of the sheet, trim up any sharp/pokey edges. Use a nail file if needed. You can also file the plastic after it has been baked/shrunk and cooled down.

Most shrinkable plastic sheets will come with the heating/baking directions for the plastic, but it’s usually less than 10 minutes. And you will need to keep an eye on it. That is the step where you do not want small children around.

In the past, I’ve made wine charms, this year I made all kinds of cool stuff, including zipper pulls for the kids’ backpacks, I made keychains, I drew our family’s SCA heraldry/devices. I also made some little charms for a charm bracelet for my daughter.

Next up I will be drawing food and making little toy food for my son’s Playmobil characters to eat. While some of his sets have come with food, he is missing things like french fries, hamburgers, pizza. All things that the Playmobil guys in his adventures want to eat.

Q-insights Education Survey for 22-45 years olds pays $375-$525

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Q-insights is another company that I do research groups, focus groups, and online surveys to earn extra money.

They have a lot of stuff in South Orange County, and less often San Diego County. These days they are doing most of their studies online via chat or online surveys.

Right now Q-Insights is currently recruiting for an online study on the topic of Education.

Q-Insights is looking for males and females ages 22-45 for an upcoming multi-part survey.

The survey would have the following parts:

September 8 – You will need to complete a short survey and two online assessments that will take up to 2.5 hours.  These can be done at your own time but must be completed on September 8th.

September 9 – You will be asked to complete another online survey and assessment that will take up to 2 hours. Again, this can be completed at your own time but must be completed on September 9th.

September 15-20 – Then between September 15th and 20th you will be sent a follow-up email with your results of the assessments and a survey about your experience, which should take no longer than 30 minutes.

If qualified and invited to participate, you will receive $375 for participating in the above 3 parts. Some participants may be asked to participate in an online interview or focus group between September 10th-16th for additional $125-$150 compensation.

To see if you qualify, please fill out the pre-screener survey here. 

 

Flagship Research: New Diabetes Study $200-$300 Payments

Flagship Research is conducting a paid research study and is looking for children 6-17 years of age and adults 18 and older who have diabetes.  If you qualify it would be a 2-hour one-on-one interview for the adult and the parent would be able to attend with the child. The interview will be held online so you would need a computer with a webcam and microphone to participate. This interview will compensate the adults with the minor children $300 and the adults $200 in the form of a check that will be mailed at the completion of the project.

The details of this study are included below:

  • Dates: Starting Wednesday, February 3rd 2021
  • Times: Various times available
  • Duration: 2 hour
  • Incentive: $300 for Parents with kids, $200 for Adults 
  • Location: Online

 

If you are interested and use an insulin pump please click on the link below to answer a few questions to see if you will be a good fit for this study.

Please click here to answer a few questions.

Michael’s: Valentine’s Day Makers Fest (2/8/2020)

IRC23123_VMF_AdultTShirtLooking for something fun to do this coming weekend? Check out your local Michaels Craft Store!

  • Date: Saturday, February 8, 2020
  • Time: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Come make a Lots Of Love Vinyl Decal Shirt: Come punch designs out of vinyl to create a Valentine’s Day T-shirt. Buy the shirt, and the supplies to decorate it will be provided!

Other crafts going on include on 2/8/2020:

  • Valentine’s Day Cards: Create cute “love bug” or pretty watercolor cards to give loved ones! FREE, all supplies included.
  • Sweetheart Cookies: Learn easy ways to decorate Valentine’s Day Treats. FREE, all supplies included.
  • Fabulous Friendship Bracelets: Make these beaded bracelets to give to your BFF for Valentine’s Day! FREE, all supplies included.

Michael’s has all sorts of fun free and low-cost classes coming up for kids and adults. Find out about classes near you here.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Routine!

991d001cb11fbb9af4e45d3b104865ea.jpgParents know that kids need a routine- It gives them stability and a sense of security. But, adults need a routine too. Working from home, routine is absolutely needed to keep me productive. I was talking to a lady at the gym today after yoga. She said it must be nice to work from home- all the free time! But really, today was my busiest day this week. After the gym, we had errands, then home to start dinner, school pick up, and prep for tomorrows tie-dye session while Bitty is at preschool.

Here are my 5 Tips for Maximizing your Routine:

Update your calendar: I sit down on Saturday night and go over my calendar for the next week. I take my paper calendars (Yes, I have one next to my bathroom vanity, and one on my desk), and make sure they match with the calendar on my phone. That way I’m not dependant on my phone all the time and everyone in the house can be on the same page.

Take Notes: I keep a spiral-bound notebook and pens in my purse at all times. I make notes about all kinds of stuff: Ideas for blog posts, appointments (Which I later put into my phone), shopping lists, etc. I sometimes use my phones note feature for this too, but there is something about putting pen to paper and writing.

Lay it out: Before bed, I lay out my clothes and the kids clothes for the next day. I also grind the coffee and set up the coffee maker. I put the kid’s lunch bags out of their backpacks and set them on the kitchen counter. It makes the next morning so much easier.

Look Ahead: Before you go to bed, take a look at your next day.  What kinds of activities do you have? Work, school, gym, meetings? I feel more at ease knowing what is on deck for the next day.

Give yourself Grace: You are only human. If you can’t get everything done in one day, it’s cool. Tomorrow is another day (literally). There are so few things in this world that positively need to be done on a specific day (bills and doctor’s appointments are a few things that come to mind). Push your tasks forward to the next day, and make a conscious decision to work on those items or tasks the next day as priority items.  No one is perfect (or insta-perfect).

 

Talk Back: How do you get the most out of your daily routine?

9/21/19- Free Museum Day!

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Museum Day is a one-day event in which participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. Participants are allowed to download one ticket per email address. The ticket provides free general admission on Saturday, September 21, 2019, for two people.

For those of us in San Diego County, there are 37 choices, ranging from The New Children’s Museum downtown to the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad.  You can find a list of museums near you here.

Now, if you can’t make it out to free museum day, there are museums all over San Diego County that are FREE EVERY DAY!

Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum 4203 Anderson Ave, San Diego, CA 92145

Barona Cultural Center & Museum 1095 Barona Road, Lakeside, CA 92040

Bonita Museum and Cultural Center 4355 Bonita Road, Bonita, CA 91902

Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum 3190 Lionshead Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92009

The Water Conservation Garden isn’t a museum, but it is free daily and super fun to explore. They also hold cool free events for kids and adults.

The Timken in Balboa Park is free every day. And there are select museums free every Tuesday in Balboa Park.  While you are in Balboa Park, stop by The City’s Botanical Building. It is open every day except Thursday. Admission is always free.

Make it a frugal afternoon by packing your lunch and snacks (don’t forget water- it’s going to be a hot one here in San Diego and most of the southwest next weekend)! I raid our snack cupboard and pack lots of different choices, that way everyone is satisfied.

Talk Back: Which museum in your area are you excited about checking out on 9/21/19?

 

Learn a new skill from Craftsy for free!!

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I love Craftsy! I love making stuff and being creative, but sometimes it’s hard to learn a new skill or hone one you already have on a budget. Craftsy to the rescue! They have awesome free classes where you can learn to do all kinds of cool stuff from cooking and baking to knitting!

The free mini classes can be viewed on any device, so you can learn anywhere! Right now there are 47 mini classes that are free. Mini-courses  feature student-led discussions and are shorter in length than regular courses. They are a perfect way to learn new skills and experience the Craftsy platform first-hand.

Here are just a few of the ones I’ve saved to watch and explore:

For the complete list, click here.

Which Mini-Classes are you going to take?

Great gifts for kids that won’t break the bank (or your sanity)

DSCN9862It’s that time of year, when friends and relatives start asking you and your kids the dreaded question.. The Holiday gift question.

First of all, if you don’t have kids, please do your friends WITH kids a favor: Skip the toys that make noise/require batteries. Many a night I was woken by a phantom toy mysteriously going off. This Stupid Fisher Price Dog was the main culprit.

This year, we’re skipping all the “hot” toys. Why? Well, we don’t have cable, so Lil’ Man doesn’t really know about what toys everyone else has or wants. We mostly watch PBS and Netflix. I’m trying to get away from “stuff”. We have so many toys and stuffed animals. We don’t need a lot more stuff. I’m asking for more “experience” type gifts. Here are a few things that are always welcome in any household:

  • Groupon/living social/Amazon Local discounted vouchers or gift cards to places that  kids love to go, but can be a little pricey. For us, that’s Urban Jungle, Kid Ventures, Boomers, bowling. Zoo tickets, movie tickets, and museum passes are great options as well!
  • If you have a vacation planned, ask for gift cards. We have a friend who takes their family to Disney World each year, and she asks her family to buy the kids Disney gift cards to help offset the cost of their vacation (bonus- Disney GC can be used almost anywhere in the park- food, gift shop, even admission!).
  • Accessories for toys or games the kids already have. We always need more train tracks for our Thomas the Tank Engine trains. Most kids could always use more pretend food (we like these and these from Melissa and Doug).
  • Gift baskets that include experiences: I know I keep going back to experiences, but kids and families love to do stuff together. Movie baskets that contain popcorn, candy, redbox codes or GC for redbox is always a big hit here. We’ve given pizza night baskets that contain the fixins for a pizza (boboli crust, toppings, sauce) and a board game. Use your imagination!
  • IOU’s/GC for dates or time with the kids: Lil’ Man and I have a special date every week. We go out to eat and do an activity together. Maybe you have a little in your life that you’d like to spend more time with? Give them the gift a a date! Ice cream feeding the ducks, exploring nature- all of these things are inexpensive for you and mean a lot to a kid.
  • Craft supplies. The most popular gifts we’ve both give and received have been treasure boxes (usually a decorative cardboard box from Michael’s) full of craft supplies. Dollar Tree has a great selection of craft kits, glitter glue, stickers, feathers, pom poms, construction paper, water color paint, acrylic paints. Add in some wooden cut outs from Michaels (.50 or less EACH), and a few paint brushes and the kids will have fun for hours. The best part: for less than $20, they’ve got a cool box and tons of stuff to keep them busy and unplugged!
  • Monthly Subscription Boxes: Kids love to get mail. Monthly subscription boxes like Kiwi Crate, Little Passports, Green Kid Crafts are a great option for kids to get a little something fun in the mail each month- and monthly subscription boxes aren’t that expensive! Adults love them too! BirchBox (makeup), UrthBox (snacks), and Dollar Shave Club (razors and shaving accessories for men and women) are all popular options!