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  • Tightening Up the Entertainment Belt

    The following is a guest post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.

    Some families’ biggest luxury is eating out. For other families, it is taking long vacations. And for still others, it is going to movies, plays and concerts. It’s nice when there’s enough money on hand after paying the bills to be able to pay for a fun family evening out but … what about those times when money is tight? How do you stay entertained when frugality is the name of the game?

    First, you have to stop thinking that you have to spend money to be entertained as a family. There are lots of ways to put together a fun evening, while spending very little or even, sometimes, nothing at all. Check it out:

    Social Connections

    Cooking dinner together can be just as much fun as going to a restaurant. If you assign one part of the meal to each person in your family, it makes less work and more enjoyment for everyone. You can make it even more fun by setting up a neighborhood potluck — every family gets fed and gets in some socializing at the same time and all for the cost of one dish!

    Another great spin on this idea is to join up with another family – one provides the food, while the other provides the entertainment. For example, let’s say you’ve turned off your cable subscription but your family loves to watch NFL football. Your friends across the street still have cable and get the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Game. Why not offer to cook dinner for everybody once a week if they’ll agree to have the game on for everybody to enjoy?

    Staying Home

    Instead of taking the kids out to a movie (which can easily run close to a hundred bucks if you let the kids get their own snacks), consider staying in. There are plenty of movies and television shows that you can find, legally and for free, online. YouTube offers full length older movies for free online and (if you don’t mind the occasional pause for buffering) they can be a great way to introduce your kids to classics from your childhood.

    Another great example is a streaming media subscription service. Netflix, for example, has an incredibly diverse library of entertainment for people of all ages. If you don’t yet have a Netflix subscription, you can try Netflix for a month free when you use a coupon code. Then, if you like it, it’s only $8 a month. That’s less than the cost of one ticket to a movie theater.

    Community Resources

    Don’t forget that the library is a fantastic resource when you need free entertainment. In addition to being able to check out books, music, movies and in some locations even video games, libraries also have a wealth of programming. They offer talks and movie nights and classes — almost always for free — to their local communities. When the family is itching for a movie night out of the house, try the one at the local library.

    Community centers are also great places to find fun activities for the family. In addition to a variety of classes (for all ages), they offer sports, dances, film nights, concerts, hobby fairs and other activities. A lot of these events are free and even the ones that do charge admission usually charge relatively small fees.

    These are just a few ways that your family can save money on entertainment and getting out of the house. What are some of your favorite ways to keep everyone occupied and happy while spending as little money as possible?

    Evening Roundup: Xbox One in stock at Amazon (for now), Rare Goldfish coupon & More

    Evening Roundup includes the best of the latest coupons, deals, and info I think you may find interesting. Prices and deals can change at any time so be sure to verify them before making your purchase. Please note this post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for using them! You can read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    - Amazon: Xbox One Console is in stock and $499

    - New printables:

    • $1.50/1 got2b Hair Styling Product
    • $3/2 got2b Hair Styling Products
    • $0.35/1 Pepperidge Farm Goldfish
    • $1/2 Wonka Candy Cane packages
    • $1/1 Reach Total Care, Gentle Gum Care Floss

    - A Full Cup: Possible CVS coupon for $2 off $10 purchase

    - Still available at Best Buy: $100 iTunes gift card for $85 + Free Shipping

    - Ralphs Facebook Page: Digital coupon for $5 off $75+ purchase

    - New Common Kindness printable for $1 off Munchkin Clip Lock Cup

    - Wild for Wags: Cheap Kleenex at Walgreens {leave some for me!}

    Banner ad via Escalate Media Network

    Update: Morning Coffee Delayed

    I’m playing catch up, so Morning Coffee will be a bit delayed.

    I’ll be updating today’s Hot Deals as I go, so you can check in there while you’re waiting. Those Lightning Deals are selling out almost instantly!

    What are you making for Thanksgiving?

    Thanksgiving 2013

    Thanksgiving is less than a week away now, so I’m wondering what’s on your menu.

    My mother-in-law makes a great turkey, and she’ll also make the stuffing, gravy and green beans. My father-in-law is picking up the pies. So that leaves me with the fun stuff:

    Sweet Potato Casserole from Cooking Light

    Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole – I’ve been making this Cooking Light recipe for almost ten years now! {that’s their photo, not mine}

    Macaroni and Cheese – Because the kids won’t eat turkey … {I’ll have to take a photo this time}

    Cauliflower Puree from Martha Stewart

    Cauliflower Puree – This Martha Stewart recipe is another one I’ve been making for about ten years. It’s a nice substitute for mashed potatoes, and a favorite of my husband and his dad. {again their photo, not mine – I don’t garnish so mine never looks this pretty … maybe I’ll change that this year!}

    I will probably also make popovers or Yorkshire pudding, since the kids like them, and some kind of roasted vegetable. The sweet potatoes and mac and cheese can be prepared ahead of time, and then baked the day of, so that makes things easier. {I have to make sure I have time to hit the drugstores before I start cooking!}

    What’s on your menu this year?

    Turkey image via by watipron.

    Save Money Later by Investing in a Security System Now

    This post is brought to you by Supercircuits. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post. Read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    You come home from a long day at work, only to find your front door open ever so slightly. Once you get inside, your stomach drops. Family pictures shattered, computers torn out from the wall, your jewelry box lying on the floor, empty. Unfortunately, most people don’t invest in a home security system until it’s too late.

    Back in 2010, American citizens lost roughly 4.6 billion to robbery – with 70% of robberies being committed in residential areas. That means the average monetary amount lost was $2119 per person – a substantial sum for an average sized family. Monetary value isn’t the only thing that matters – if someone steals your laptop, for example, they also steal all of the material you have on it – family photos, banking documents and other sensitive information.

    Here are a few ways a home security system will help you:


    When a burglar scouts properties, they look for two things: the estimated value of material inside the property, and if any security is present. If they see a collection of cameras watching various entrances, they are more likely to skip over your home and find an easier target. In fact, 9 out of 10 convicted burglars have said they would not attack a home if there was an obvious security presence. Why take the risk?

    Faster Response Time

    If you’re living alone with a health issue, a security system can save your life. If you have some form of security system, a wireless transmitter may be provided. When you have a health emergency, you can press a button on this transmitter to send an instant message asking for help.

    If you’re dealing with a home invader and you don’t have access to your phone, a security system may have a two-way radio that lets you connect directly with an operator. This helps the police get to your home as quickly as possible.

    Home Insurance Discount

    As mentioned earlier, having video security acts as a burglar deterrent. Insurance companies know this, and will frequently lower your insurance because of it. Once you have a home security system, you’ve eliminated some of the risks that others face, and as such, your insurance company will pass the benefit on to you.

    Smoke and Fire Detection

    You’d expect video security to protect you against burglars and home invaders, but did you know it can also keep your family safe from smoke and fire? Many security systems are all encompassing – designed to deal with break-ins, fires, and other issues you may have. For example, your security system can be designed so that it sends a message to police when an entry is breached or when your smoke detector goes off unchecked.

    Ultimately, investing in video security is one of the best financial decisions you can make. The security system will deter potential criminals, call for aid if necessary, and give you tremendous peace of mind. Home security isn’t just a financial investment, it’s an investment in the future safety of you and your family.

    About Supercircuits

    Supercircuits is the security industry’s trusted leader for cutting-edge security technologies and surveillance solutions—from HDcctv/HD-SDI and IP video surveillance solutions, to hidden cameras and wireless and IP-based access control systems. Supercircuits has over 23 years’ of experience in the security industry and offers customers the largest selection of fully-integrated, high quality surveillance solutions available today. Learn more at, and connect with them on Twitter, at FacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn.