7/15/2022 An All Inclusive Day of Play for Families!

We’ve gone to this event in the past, and it’s always a fun time with great resources.

FREE community event with activities, games, crafts, raffles, shopping, and resource booths for families of all abilities.

Activity Stations for kids including favorites:

  • Light Saber Creation Station
  • Jurassic Photo Op
  • Under-the-Sea Sensory Tent
  • Super Wheelchair Course
  • many more!

Family Resources & Networking  – Resource and service providers will be on-site to speak with parents and offer helpful information. Be sure to pick up a copy of Flourishing Families and San Diego Family at the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego booth.

Sign up for your FREE TICKETS here.

6 Small Ways to Trim Your Out of Pocket

With my work year coming to an end, I need to trim my budget. It looks like my monthly income is about to be cut in half. I applied for a summer school job, but I haven’t heard back one way or another, so I’m guessing I didn’t get the job and I need to prepare for that.

There are fun activities that the kids want to do this summer, and they all cost money, so I need to trim a bit more so we have the opportunity to have some fun.

Here are a few ways that you (and I) can save some money and free up room in our budget this summer.

Start by looking over your family budget. Is there anything you can dump? Streaming services you no longer use, monthly subscriptions that no longer serve you? For us, we are dumping Netflix next month. We no longer use it enough to justify the $20/month. Feel like you are overpaying for your cellphone or other services, look into switching carriers or plans. If you don’t have a family budget, here is an easy way to put one together.

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without. This is an oldie, but a goodie. And by this statement, I mean that use what you have on hand. Eat the food in your kitchen (meal planning can help with that), wear the clothes you’ve got, and repair them as needed. Don’t forget that there are groups like Buy Nothing, where you can share and receive goods and services from those in your neighborhood. It’s hard to not want to keep up with the Joneses, especially in our society where it seems like everything is based on presentation and showing off what you’ve got on social media.

Take advantage of programs in your community. There are so many free and low-cost programs meant to help families during this time of unprecedented inflation, low wages, and other social issues that contribute to financial instability. Here in San Diego County, there are resources for free food and free clothing. 

If you have someone in your family who requires electricity for their medical devices or if you are low income, check out your local power companies website to learn about discounts you may be eligible for. This post has details and more tips.

If you are looking for some free summer fun for the kids, there are events like Kids night out, and summer reading programs.  And in California, there will be free breakfasts and lunches for kids under 18 throughout the summer through schools and local parks and rec. As soon as I have more details on those, it will be a separate post.

My final tip- Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. There are so many programs and resources out there to help. Even if you feel like there are people and families out there who “have it worse”, you deserve help. This isn’t a “who has it worse” situation. Everyone deserves to live a good life. Take advantage of opportunities that come your way.

Talk Back- If you have tips or tricks to help with lowering your Out of Pocket, I’d love to hear it!

 

Free Covid and Flu Vaccine Clinic TODAY (El Cajon, CA)

This was emailed to us last night by a school associate. If you are in the east county area and need the flu vaccine or the Covid-19 vaccine, check out this event today!

El Cajon Valley High School is located at 1035 East Madison Ave in El Cajon. They will have 300 food boxes from Feeding San Diego, prizes, and the live well mobile bus (They provide Application enrollment assistance for public benefits such as CalFresh and Medi-Cal, Immunizations, Health screenings, and information about other community resources).

This event is free and runs from 10am-2pm.

This Saturday: San Diego All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair 9/25/2021!

We’ve gone to this event in the past, and it’s always a fun time with great resources.

FREE community event with activities, games, crafts, raffles, shopping, and resource booths for families of all abilities.

When: September 25, 2021 10:00AM-1:00PM

Where: Park de la Cruz Recreation Center 3901 Landis Street San Diego, CA 92105

Activity Booths • Giveaways • Games • Family Resources • Networking • Shopping & more

Children of all abilities can enjoy activity stations:

  • Play our adaptive Life-Size Candyland Game.
  • Wash a kid car and drive it through the FOAMO Car Wash and sensory station.
  • Make a ghost trap and receive a package of ectoplasm slime.
  • Spin the prize wheel for a prize* from the toy barrel. Everyone is a winner!
  • Stop by the ShopAble Marketplace to peruse and purchase fabulous products
  • and more!

Resource and service providers for children of all abilities will conveniently be onsite to speak with parents and offer helpful information.

All activities and resources are FREE and open to the public! To learn more or register, click here

San Diego All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair 9/25/2021

We’ve gone to this event in the past, and it’s always a fun time with great resources.

FREE community event with activities, games, crafts, raffles, shopping, and resource booths for families of all abilities.

When: September 25, 2021 10:00AM-1:00PM

Where: Park de la Cruz Recreation Center 3901 Landis Street San Diego, CA 92105

Activity Booths • Giveaways • Games • Family Resources • Networking • Shopping & more

Children of all abilities can enjoy activity stations including Super Mario Wheelchair Course, Life-Size Candyland Game, Ernie’s Rubber Duckies Literacy Bathtub, Ghostbusters Ghost Trap Craft, and more!

Resource and service providers for children of all abilities will conveniently be onsite to speak with parents and offer helpful information.

All activities and resources are FREE and open to the public! To learn more or register, click here

A Practical Guide to Setting A Budget (Part Three)

The first two parts (Part One, Part Two) of this series talked about the essentials of how to budget. This third part is for those of you who are having a difficult time making the ends meet to get your needs met.

I’m talking about when cutting cable and going cash only for groceries isn’t enough. When you need help. When there isn’t much (or anything) to eat. When the power might be shut off. When there isn’t money to put gas in your car to get to work or job interviews.

This is the most important thing to remember: It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to seek out services and take advantage of programs. Do not worry about what others will think- This pandemic and all of the fallout that has happened has affected so many of us. So many hardworking families and individuals need a hand up right now. 

A lot of the services and programs listed below are specifically for San Diego County. If you live outside San Diego County, I recommend that you call 211 anywhere in the US. They can help you find resources- all judgment free!

So when I talk about needs being met, I mean:

  • Shelter (Rent/mortgage assistance/utilities)
  • Food (Healthy food for you/your family and pets)
  • Comfort (Clothing, healthcare, medication)

Shelter:

  • If you have a mortgage, contact your lender for a forbearance. You may have to provide them with proof that you are unable to pay.
  • If you are a renter in San Diego, here is the County Rental Assistance site.
  • If you require assistance with your utilities, SDG&E has many programs and assistance available.
  • For your water/sewer bills, you will need to contact them directly. There are so many water municipalities in San Diego County.

Food: Food insecurity is a cause near and dear to my heart, so I have all kinds of resources to share!

Many food banks give out pet food as well- don’t forget to mention your furry friends when you complete your intake paperwork (which is oftentimes to find out demographic information to obtain additional funding from the government or private grants). Some do not require any paperwork at all.

Comfort: Being housed and fed is important, in addition to this I’ve added the comfort category. This includes clean, well fitting clothes, access to health care, and prescription medicines.

  • There are many resources for no and low cost clothing (besides thrift stores, which have become increasingly higher in cost in the past year). Naomi’s Closet, Closet on 54th, Charity’s Closet at Sonrise Church, Sharia’s Closet are all San Diego resources. I’ve been told that some Salvation Army churches offer free clothing vouchers to be redeemed at their thrift shops. Don’t forget your local Buy Nothing Group too! So many of your local neighbors are cleaning out their clothes and purging while they are stuck at home, you’d be surprised what your neighbors are will to share with you.
  • If you are in need of healthcare, there are several options. Medicaid/Medi-cal may be available for some. If you have had a “life event” (job separation, birth of a child, death of a spouse, marriage, etc.) you can look for health insurance in your state’s Health Insurance Exchange. Here is a link to California’s Exchange. There are frequently lower rates or discounts for those with certain income limits.
  • If you or family members take prescription medicines, look into discount programs like Singlecare (which you can access via the Fetch Rewards App and earn cashback/points), or GoodRX. Some pharmacies have their own discount programs too. Make sure to ask the pharmacy staff. Another option is to ask your doctor for medication samples when you are visiting them. Many doctors have medication samples in their offices, and most doctors are willing to help you when you tell them you need assistance with medication costs.

 

 

 

Eating Healthy on a Budget: It Can Be Done!

f40fab9210aee93a83df63133f5de09bSunday Night I went to the grocery store to pick up milk, bread, and a few other things.

I spent $42 and it was not all that much stuff. While I was waiting in line, the lady behind me in line was going through her coupons, and her grocery list. We got to talking, I showed her the store app, where she was able to find a few more coupons. We started talking about how expensive it was to eat healthy, and I confessed to her that this was not my weekly shopping trip, I was just picking up stuff that I only buy at Food4Less:

  • Milk (it’s cheapest at FFL),
  • A specific kind of higher protein bread (it’s the cheapest place to buy this type of bread and has no High Fructose Syrup),
  • A specific kind of popscicles
  • 5 lb bag of bananas (cheapest place to buy that many bananas)
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This doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

And I picked up a few other misc. things that we needed and were on sale (cheese, oranges, and a 5 lb. bag of Gala apples), and a 2 liter of diet Cherry Pepsi and a jar of maraschino cherries (Mama needs a cocktail sometimes, OK?).

She asked about my grocery budget and where I shop the rest of the time. I told her my shopping strategy, after I make my grocery list:

My Top Ten Deals at 99 Cents Only– Start there for fresh produce. Salad, carrots, celery, berries, pineapples, zucchini, squash (all kinds), onions, potatoes are all types of produce that are regularly stocked. They usually have other interesting seasonally available produce too. They also have great sauces, condiments, herbs and spice blends.

Keep a Price Book- I know the best place to buy Milk, cheese, bread, and butter. I keep my price book in my phone now, but I used to use a little spiral bound notebook that lived in my purse.

Stock up on food that you will eat frequently when it does on sale. I’m not talking about fresh produce that can’t be kept (like lettuce), but if you find a good deal on strawberries, for example, chop and freeze some for smoothies or baking, make fruit leather, or dry some (they are really tasty dehydrated). Bread can be frozen, so can butter! Canned goods, shelf stable foods are perfect for stocking up. I also like stocking up on chicken when it’s on sale. I can butcher a whole chicken in a few minutes, and I frequently will break up large packages of chicken breasts into meal sized portions, season them, and put them into the freezer. Learn more about meal prep here.

For our family, meal prep and meal planning saves us a lot of time and money. There are always multiple choices for each meal at our finger tips, so the allure of getting food from take-away is gone. I always have a batch of pizza dough in the freezer too! I make two batches once a week- one for the freezer, and one to go in the fridge that gets used within 1-2 days of making.

Use Cashback/Couponing Apps. Here is the list I use frequently.

Here is an article I wrote a few years ago that has more tips on how to get “Extreme” savings without being an “Extreme Couponer” (which by the way isn’t even possible anymore thanks to that stupid TLC show and coupon abuse).

It doesn’t matter what your food budget is, you can still eat well! It may take a little prep work each week, but the health of your family is worth it, right?

If you are on a very tight budget or are facing food insecurity, here is a list of San Diego based food resources that offer healthy food.

Affected by the Government Shut Down?

4cad5a265dc46a2ca38b1727137b1b6e.jpgI know there are so many families in San Diego that are affected by the government shutdown. I wanted to post a small round up to try and help those who may need help with groceries, clothes, or help with paying bills.

Food: Here is a post about San Diego, CA area food banks, food pantries, and produce distributions. You can also call 211, or visit the 211 website. They have tons of great recourses, including information on housing, utility assistance, and transportation.

Utilities: For those of us in San Diego County, SDG&E has several ways you can save money on your power bill. I’ve gone over a few here.  SDG&E also has information on their site specifically for furloughed Federal employees.

We switched to Time-of-Use pricing a few months ago, and combined with being more mindful of when and how we use power:

  • Turning off lights during the day and opening the shades/curtains
  • Turn your thermostat up.
  • Doing laundry and dishes before 4pm or after 9pm
  • Using Smart Plugs and using OhmConnect to help us conserve power actively during times when there is extra demand on the grid. You can learn more about OhmConnect here.

Clothing Resources: Here are a few resources that can help you with clothes. There are clothing swaps all over San Diego County.

Pet Resources: The San Diego Humane Society is offering free pet food (cat or dog) for furloughed Federal employee. Per their Facebook page: “We will offer free pet food to federal employees affected by the government shutdown Monday, Jan. 14 through Friday, Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at all three of our campuses. Two bags of pet food will be provided to each family who can show proof of federal employment. All pet food will be available on a first come, first served basis while supplies last. You can help by sharing this post, donating on our website (https://bit.ly/2AJJtcN) and/or by donating dog or cat food at any of our locations.”

Summer Lunch Resources for Kids in San Diego!

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School is out (for most of us, the rest will be getting out next week), and that means there are some parents (and kids) who usually rely on free or subsidized school lunches may find themselves wondering what to do.

Thankfully, a lot of great organizations have stepped up and partnered with local area school, rec centers, and civic organizations to provide free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for al kids 18 and under this summer.  For those of us in East County, here is a list of locations!

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Those of us in the greater San Diego Area, there are a lot of great options all over town!

There is a kick off BBQ at Skyline Hills Park 6/21/17 10:30am-2:00pm! Parents eat free at this BBQ and there are all kinds of activities!

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 12.53.16 PMLindo Lake in Lakeside is hosting a summer BBQ that’s free for kids, and only $4.00 for parents on August 15th! The best part is that each family leaves with 6 lbs. of fresh produce thanks to Feeding America! If the two lists above aren’t in your area, you can also turn to the USDA Find Summer Meals map here.

 

All of these programs are free and there is no proof of need and you do not have to sign up in advance. Just show up and hte kids get a tasty meal!

 

What I love about this program is that there are tons of rec centers hosting these lunches and they are usually adjacent to a playground, which means after a long morning of playing, the kids don’t have long to wait to get a yummy lunch!

Looking for a few ideas of summer fun with a nearby lunch?

If you know of more summer lunch programs for kids in San Diego County, I’d love to hear about them! Please leave a comment!