Category: Frugal Living Tips

Nature Therapy: The Ultimate Guide to Hiking With Kids

hiking with kidsAre you looking for a way to get your kids off the couch and outside?

Hiking is an amazing outdoor experience. Not only is it a great form of exercise, but it provides fresh air and allows for a little one-on-one time with Mother Nature.

Hiking with kids is an excellent family activity. With a little preparation and research, you can plan a fun-filled day your kids will love.

Read on to find out how.

Pack Wisley

What you bring when hiking with kids is almost as important as where you decide to hike.

There are some essential items that you won’t want to find yourself without.

Food and Water

It’s always important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re hiking in warm weather. Bringing enough water for everyone, and maybe even some extra bottles, will prevent dehydration side effects including dizziness, weakness, and dry mouth.

Snacks are also important when hiking with kids. Bring non-perishable and easy to eat foods like pretzels, granola bars, and trail mix. You can even pack a small picnic lunch with sandwiches, as long as it’s not too difficult to carry and keep cold.

Bug Spray

This is an essential item when hiking in wooded areas. You may encounter any number of insects on your adventure from ants to flies, ticks, and mosquitos.

A quality bug spray will help keep you and your children protected from unwanted bites and irritations.

Proper Clothing

The appropriate clothing for your hike will be determined by the location, expected weather, and time of year.

Since you’re more likely to hike in warmer, more pleasant weather when hiking with kids, you’ll need thin, cool clothing. Lightweight material is best for both shirts and pants. To avoid sunburn, bug bites and cuts from sticks and rocks, long-sleeved apparel is recommended.

The proper hiking shoes will also make the trip easier for both you and your children. Do a little research about the terrain you’ll be hiking on and what boots are best for the job.

Pick a Fun Path

Choosing the right path will make the difference between a pleasurable hike and a miserable one.

Dependent on your child’s age and ability, choose a route that will be mildly challenging, but mostly enjoyable. Paths with a lot of beautiful scenery or a gorgeous view at the end will keep kids interested and moving!

If you and your children are just beginning to explore the world of hiking, choose a place with clearly defined pathways and marked trails.

Know the Wildlife

Anytime you’re embarking on an outdoor adventure with kids, it’s important to know your surroundings well. Be aware of what type of wildlife you may encounter.

Some areas are densely populated with deer and other relatively harmless animals such as raccoon, squirrels, chipmunks, and various bird species. These animals might be fun for you and your children to observe.

But you must also be on alert and prepared if you encounter more menacing wildlife such as bear, bobcat, or mountain lions.

Bring the Right Hiking Gear

Aside from the necessary items listed above, some additional, trail specific items may serve you well when hiking with kids.

A compass will help you navigate if you and your family get off track. Be sure to bring binoculars so your children can observe wildlife, flowers, and spectacular views.

If you think you or your child might need help scaling steeper inclines, these trekking pole reviews will help you choose the right hiking poles and walking sticks for your trip.

Be Patient When Hiking With Kids

As wonderful as a day of family hiking can be, it’s important to remember that kids can get tired and cranky after a long day of activity.

It’s important to remain patient and encourage your children to take breaks when needed. Try motivating each other with words of encouragement. Show your child on the map how close you are to your destination.

If you give your children jobs such as “compass reader” or “animal look out” it will help keep their mind occupied and their focus off the length of the trip.

Looking for other fun activities to do with your children, like making ice cream? Are you a coupon-clipper working on a budget? Visit our site for some great ideas.

If you have other, affordable and fun tips for families with children, leave a comment below.

Planning Flawless Family Ski Vacations

ski vacationWhen you’re looking at family ski vacations, you want to spend less time stressing about the planning and more time getting ready for the slopes.

Ski vacations can be pricey, but the right planning ahead of time can save you bundles of money and stress. With these tips, we’ll show you how to get your family on the ski adventure of your dreams without all the stress.

Be Flexible — But Not Too Flexible!

If you are flexible with your travel dates, you’ll be able to take advantage of promotions and deals. You can often score big discounts if you go on less popular days.

But you also don’t want to go so far chasing a deal that you compromise your vacation! Remember, skiing is a seasonal sport. Without snow, you’re out of luck!

So, if you see a great deal, check what the average weather conditions are like for that area during the time you’re thinking of going. If March in that area is notoriously warm, or they usually don’t have snow by late December, the savings probably aren’t worth the risk.

Instead, consider being flexible with where you are willing to go. 40 states have ski resorts, so you’ve got a ton of choice.

It may be worth going further to get to the resort if you can take advantage of a great sale. So when you’re searching for resorts, cast a wide net.

Consider Alternative Accommodations

A hotel or chalet room might be your default thought when it comes to ski vacations accommodation, but it isn’t necessarily the best one.

Less traditional accommodation can sometimes provide big savings. Condo or vacation home rentals come with kitchen facilities. This means you don’t have to pay to eat all your meals out. Instead, you can cook something healthy and hearty to give your family the energy they need to ski all day!

Plus, vacation homes are often big enough to split with other friends or relatives, helping cut down on costs while making your vacation more social.

Many ski resorts offer these sorts of alternative accommodations. For example, https://www.whistlerpremier.com has vacation homes and condos all throughout Whistler.

Rent, Don’t Buy

Unless you are a family of avid skiers, you probably don’t need to buy your own equipment. It would take a ton of trips for it to be more economical than renting.

When you own the skis, you need to store and upkeep them, and it makes plane travel more expensive. Plus, your kids will be constantly outgrowing their old skis.

Renting is much more economical. However, you will want to buy a few necessities. Ski goggles, gloves, good coats and snow pants are all a must.

Budget Everything

Once you’ve decided on your resort and accommodation, you can draft an accurate budget.

Check out the prices of the resort restaurants by looking at the menus beforehand. Figure out where you can get groceries if your accommodation has a kitchen. Factor in any clothes you still need to buy, like sweaters or long underwear. Don’t forget to stock up on travel essentials like your first aid kit.

And don’t forget a bit of pocket money! You can be sure you’ll want to buy a round of hot chocolates to warm up after a long day on the slopes, and a few souvenirs never hurt. Factoring these expenses into your budget will keep you from overspending.

Wrapping Up

Ski vacations are an absolute blast! With the right planning, you can make sure that yours goes flawlessly.

With some flexibility about your dates, resort, and accommodation, taking advantage of rentals, and having a solid budget, you can set yourself up for a great trip.

Are you planning a ski vacation? How did your last trip go? Leave a reply and let us know!

5 Urgent Reasons to Book Self Defense Classes for Teens

self defense classes for teensYour teenager is never too young to take a self defense class. While you may think your teenager doesn’t need to worry about an attacker, there are some pretty grim statistics out there that would argue otherwise.

For example, persons between the ages of 12 and 24 experience the highest rates of violent crime. 

Violence against women proves to be an especially severe problem in the United States. One survey found that 23 percent of college women experience some form of unwanted sexual contact during their college years.

These statistics aren’t meant to encourage you to lock your kids in the house until they’re 30.

Instead, these numbers should encourage you to be proactive about equipping your teenagers with the right tools to protect themselves in violent situations.

And one of the best tools you can equip them with is self defense training.

Let’s take a look at 5 urgent reasons you should book self defense classes for teens.

1. Don’t Question Intuition

Most parents raise their children to be polite and respectful towards others, and especially towards adults.

This is great. However, teenagers need to understand that if they’re in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation, they don’t need to be polite. They should trust their intuition and leave.

Self defense classes for teens teach that it is okay to stand your ground against someone who is making you feel threatened. These classes teach that safety is always the number one priority and that coming off as rude should always be the least of their concerns.

2. Learn Prevention

Many people are under the impression that self defense classes are all about kicking and throwing punches.

However, a big aspect of a self-defense class is prevention. Prevention is the best way to avoid an attacker.

Self defense classes for teens teach the key components of prevention:

  • Being aware of surroundings
  • Avoiding risky places at night
  • Conveying confident body language

3. Goal Isn’t to Fight

Self-defense classes help teach teens that fighting an attacker is always the last resort.

This is a very important lesson to learn, as many teens will not stand a chance against an attacker who is larger than them.

These classes teach teens that their primary goal is to shock or hurt their attacker so they can get away.

It’s very important for teens to know an attacker’s vulnerable spots: the knees, groin, eyes, and neck.

Classes teach teens how to attack these areas using their hands or using a device, such as a self defense keychain. 

4. Mental Toughness

Most teens struggle with self-confidence.

Self defense teaches teenagers how to face the unexpected and break through uncomfortable situations. There’s no doubt that your teen will come out of these classes a more confident person.

5. Never Blame a Victim

If your teenager does experience an attack, it’s not their fault. Victims should never be blamed for an attack.

Self defense classes help teens learn this important concept. They also teach teens what to do if a friend or family member confides in them that they’ve been attacked.

Self Defense Classes For Teens: Wrap Up

We hope this article convinces you of the benefits of self defense classes.

If you have any questions about self defense for teens, please don’t hesitate to drop us a comment.

4 Cute Storage Ideas to Help Organize Your Clutter

cute storage ideasEvery now and then, people need to declutter. But even after spending hours and days cleaning and throwing things away, much is still left over.

It’s even harder to organize and hide everything when dealing with small spaces. So, how does someone tidy up and store necessary items when they don’t have much space to work with?

Luckily, there are lots of cute storage ideas that can help organize the clutter and add to a room’s decor.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an attic, a bedroom, or a child’s playroom. You can declutter any type of room and still store everything in discreet – and adorable – ways.

Here are 4 adorable ideas…

1. Side Tables & Dressers

For decades, people have used side tables and dressers to tuck away their excess clutter. But not only that!

Adding a dresser or side table can often be the missing element of a room that ties its decor scheme together. Not to mention, people can decorate the top of them in addition to storing things inside them.

Dressers and side tables are staples to every bedroom. But they also go great in children’s playrooms, living areas, and even indoor porches.

And people don’t even have to buy them brand new! Many are available at second-hand shops, yard sales, or somewhere in a friend’s garage.

2. Wall Shelves

What does someone do if their space is too small to incorporate a side table or dresser?

They go higher!

Wall-mounted shelves have become something of a trend in the DIY community. And there’s a reason why they’re climbing the ranks on the list of cute storage ideas.

They not only take advantage of the walls for storage purposes but style up any room. Plus, they go beyond standard blocks or flat pieces of wood!

Magnetic strips can store kitchen and bathroom items on the walls or sides of drawers. Peg boards and screwdriver racks are also helpful for storing tools in the garage.

3. Bins & Baskets

Every household has items that may be useful in the future, but serve no purpose in the present. And that’s where storage bins and containers come in.

They store and hide clutter away in closets and under beds – in the most organized way possible.

But when there’s no room left, collapsible storage bins allow storage out in the open. They’re made with fabric and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Baskets are also stylish additions to children’s bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. They’re great for storing toys, magazines, blankets, and even cosmetic devices.

4. Glass Jars & Cork Boards

These days, it’s easy to find stylish jars online to implement cute storage ideas. And there’s no shortage of places to use them for compact storage out in the open.

Jars can take advantage of excess counter space by storing things like spices and teas. They also store cotton balls, swabs, and hair accessories in bathrooms and bedrooms.

But what does someone do about their extensive jewelry collection?

Cork boards have become popular for this exact need!

Cork boards are the trendiest way to organize and hang jewelry with tacks for the easiest access. No more digging through boxes and untangling necklaces!

Cork boards also organize important papers that can’t get thrown out. Junk drawers everywhere will breathe a sigh of relief.

Declutter & Organize with Cute Storage Ideas

You don’t have to put up with excess clutter and mess. Especially if it means styling up one’s living quarters in the process.

It doesn’t matter how big or how small someone’s home is. You can organize clutter and create more space in apartments and houses alike.

For more cute storage ideas, stay tuned with Thrifty Momma Ramblings!

4 Natural Soap Recipes for Healthier Skin

soap recipesIt’s an unfortunate reality that many commercial soaps contain harsh dyes, fragrances, foaming agents, and other artificial chemicals that are harmful to our skin.

This is even true of soaps that are marketed as “natural.” Believe it or not, there is no regulation or quality standard for the use of that word. Beware of the marketing manipulation. The only way to truly know what goes into your soap is by making it at home.

Plus, making soap can be a fun and relaxing process. You can make soap for at home use, gifts, or even a business. All it takes is a little practice and some great natural soap recipes.

Read on to find our favorite natural soap recipes free of harmful chemicals that you can easily make at home.

4 Chemical-Free Natural Soap Recipes for Healthy Skin

Soap helps us wash away germs, bacteria, dirt, and all the products we put on our skin. Why would we want to use anything unnatural to achieve a clean slate?

Use these natural soap recipes to achieve healthy skin with soap that you can feel good about using.

1. Milk and Honey Soap

This moisturizing soap is great for your skin and smells delicious. You’ll need:

Just melt the soap base, add the remaining ingredients, pour into a mold and allow to cool until firm.

2. Kratom Soap

Kratom is a tropical tree that grows in Southeast Asia. Its leaves have been recognized for their healing properties, providing relief from chronic pain, muscle aches, anxiety, and stress.

In this soap, its healing properties are absorbed by the skin as well as through aromatherapy as it mixes with steam.

To make kratom soap, you’ll need to source the leaves in the form of a powder from a reputable kratom strains supplier. After that, just follow the instructions below:

  • 3 cups glycerin soap base
  • 1/4 cup lemongrass leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil (or essential oil of your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon seaweed oil
  • 1 teaspoon kratom powder

Infuse the kratom powder and lemongrass leaves in water and simmer for 15 minutes.

Melt the glycerin soap base in a double boiler and add the infused lemongrass kratom mixture and the remaining ingredients.

Mix well, pour into silicone molds, and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

3. Lavender Oatmeal Soap

To make this soothing aromatic soap that gently exfoliates the skin, you’ll need:

  • 1 pound goat’s milk soap base
  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil

Melt the soap base, add the dried lavender flowers, oats, and essential oil and mix well. Pour into molds and allow to cool.

4. Salt & Grapefruit Soap

This energizing soap is excellent for your skin with gentle exfoliation from both the grapefruit acid and the salt crystals. Here’s how to make it:

  • 1 pound goat’s milk soap base
  • 1/4 cut pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grapefruit essential oil

Melt the soap base, stir in the remaining ingredients, pour into molds and allow to cool.

Easy Peasy!

These soap recipes are fun, easy, and safe. Try making soaps for a fun activity with kids! All of these recipes are free of harsh chemicals, lye, or difficult to find ingredients.

Do you have a favorite soap recipe that we missed? Comment below!

Love this article? Check out our other great posts like this one on healthy eating!

5 Tips for Handling Your Travel Finances Next Vacation

travel financesIf you’re dreaming of the perfect trip, getting your travel finances in order well before you leave home is the best way to make it a great experience.

The Census Bureau states that tourist spending within America has been growing steadily since the start of this decade. However, you can keep your costs low by planning ahead and cutting your travel costs in advance.

Get a grip on your travel finances right now with these 5 simple tips.

1. Save Ahead of Time

It sounds so simple, but many of us don’t really think about the cash we’re going to take on vacation with us until we leave.

Putting aside a little each month over 12 months is a lot easier than trying to find the money all at once when the time comes.

Say you put $50 of your paycheck into a special account for your vacation. That’s $600 marked for vacation use, which sounds like a very good start to a trip!

You can also save yourself a bit more cash with these savvy tips. Then, you can put the difference aside for your vacation.

2. Buy Ahead of Time

You can also help to spread out your spending by buying activities and experiences ahead of time through sites like Groupon.

This type of site sells prepaid vouchers for things to do during your trip. Usually, these offers are sold at a big discount.

Just don’t forget to bring the vouchers with you when you leave for vacation!

3. Consider a Credit Card for Travel Finances

A credit card processed by a travelers epay system can help you to spread the cost of your vacation as you go. That way, you can deal with the debt later.

However, this isn’t meant to encourage you to spend what you don’t have.

The best way to manage this aspect of your travel finance is to take out a trip-friendly 0%-on-purchases card that you can spend on and pay off later. Ideally, you can pay it off during the 0% period.

Just remember to pick a card which offers a good exchange rate if you’re leaving the states.

4. Look at Airbnb

We all need little luxuries from time to time, but Airbnb is often so much cheaper than hotels.

You can spend the difference on treats for your vacation. That way, you’re not forking out hundreds of extra dollars for a hotel room.

Also take a look at Tripping.com, FlipKey and HomeAway when looking for hotel alternatives.

5. Discount Vacation Websites

There are sites out there like VacationsToGo which scout for ‘clearance’ vacations and sell them to the rest of us.

You can enjoy 50% or more off the cost of a trip using these sites. They’re great if you’re traveling on a budget.

And they’re also great for anyone who’d rather spend the money they save on more exciting things than a hotel room!

Enjoy Your Trip

Wherever you’re going, use these tips to make it a fabulous (and affordable) experience.

If you’re looking to earn some extra cash on the side before you go, check out these ways to earn money for your vacation.

5 Green Tips to Save Money on Home Heating

home heatingReady for cooler temps, but not quite ready for your power bill to increase? As your systems kick into full gear to heat your home, you may be dreading that inevitable spike in your monthly expenses.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that home heating and cooling accounts for almost half (48%) of your household’s total energy use. Yet, reducing that amount and lowering your bill might not be as difficult as you think — and you won’t have to forego your beloved heat for mounds of heavy blankets to do so.

In fact, there are many environmentally friendly ways you can save money on heating.

Ready to learn more? Keep reading!

1. Check Your Weather Stripping

When air leaks through your windows and doors, you can easily lose heat. In fact, experts estimate that 10% of a home’s heat loss is attributed to poorly sealed windows, and 11% from leaky doors.

If you’re constantly dialing up the thermostat to stay comfortable, consider checking the weather stripping around your entryways and windows. If it’s worn down or torn, replace it and fortify the seal with indoor caulk.

This simple step can help reduce drafts and conserve energy, saving you money on home heating and keeping you warmer.

2. Replace Old Windows

Though repairing your weather stripping will help conserve heat, the reality is that if your windows are outdated, they may not be optimized to prevent heat loss.

If your budget allows, consider making the switch to energy-efficient windows.

These are often multi-pane, with an insulating layer of air between the two panes. This design offers valuable heat and energy savings over traditional single-paned options.

Not ready to invest in new windows? Try covering your doors and windows with clear, transparent film. Available at home supply stores, this film allows you to better retain heat in your home and can easily be peeled off as required.

3. Better Insulate Your Attic

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates homeowners can save around 15% on their home heating and cooling costs just by sealing leaks and upgrading the insulation in their attic.

Evaluate if there are any areas in your attic that may require extra insulation. Often, though the space itself may be well-insulated, there may be heat loss around the access door.

If yours needs attention, fiberglass batt insulation affixed to the attic side of the door can make a huge difference.

4. Fine-Tune Your Home Heating Systems

What’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to maximize your home’s heat retention? Ensure your heating and air conditioning systems are clean and routinely maintained.

It takes more energy (and costs more money) to push air through a dirty system filled with debris. Sticking to a regular cleaning and upkeep schedule can keep yours working at an ideal setting.

Not sure where to start? A professional company skilled at boiler and heating system installation and repair, such as Diamond Gas & Heating, can provide the care your systems need.

5. Invest in a Smart Thermostat

You already know that keeping the temperature cooler in your home can save you money on your power bills. Yet, chances are you don’t want to be uncomfortable in your own home, buried under layers, all winter long.

As an alternative, consider investing in a smart, programmable thermostat. You can set these systems to automatically lower your home’s temperature by 10 to 15 degrees for around eight hours, ideally while you sleep or are away during the day.

This way, you’re not paying to heat your home to full capacity when there’s no one there, or when you’re not awake to enjoy it. Talk about smart savings!

Save Big and Live Bigger: Easy Ways to Start

Are you looking to cut costs without cutting corners? Are you interested in learning more household tips that can preserve your sanity while protecting your bank account?

If so, you’ve come to the right place!

From deals and freebies to tips on frugal living, I provide it all — helping you live easier and save smarter every day.

Feel free to contact me for more information and let’s talk thrifty!