Frugal and Floral Fun – The Botanical Gardens

frugal and floral

Frugal and Floral Fun on a Dime

I don’t know why I hadn’t gone before, but when a dear friend visiting this summer treated us to a trip to the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks we had a blast! This frugal and floral experience fits in the budget rather easily. Click here for admission fees and information if you live in or are planning to visit Northwest Arkansas. There is a kid’s section complete with a human-size bird’s nest accessible by bridge, reading railroad, and a wonderful little butterfly house. We will definitely be going back.

Frugal and Floral Fun in the Children’s Garden

This is a beautiful area for the kids to play in with a sculpted cement tree, magnet wall, and even a small pond. The reading rainbow train has couches for train cars. There is also a very large walking stick sculpture that makes for a great photo op if you have multiple kids old enough to sit on it.

The Butterfly House

This small, but beautiful little screened-in oasis was a hit with the kids. There are gorgeous flowers, sculptures, and of course butterflies inside a beautifully designed structure.

Walking Trail and Other Gardens

The paths are easy to follow to the different gardens if you have kids in tow or even a stroller. I definitely plan to go back when it is a little cooler outside. With events and activities year-round from firefly nights to Christmas events we can be sure to find the time for this frugal and floral activity!

There is also a native plants garden, and a chicken coop ( which is almost always a hit with small children), which are not pictured here.

The Japanese garden with the koi pond provides a nice bit of shade to sit in and cool off and looking for fish was entertaining for our bigger butterflies. This is definitely a must-see for Northwest Arkansas. My only complaint is why didn’t I go before?!

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Birthday Party Budget Breakdown

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How’d we do?

I previously posted how we planned to host the kids’ birthday party on a $150 budget including food and kids’ gifts. You can click here to read that if you missed it. Here is the budget breakdown:

budget breakdown

We spent $69 for martial arts lessons for our daughter and she is loving the classes! Our little white belt just earned her first stripe this week for learning her first basic form!

We also spent a total of $54.93 on the previously mentioned sit on tractor and T-ball set from Amazon.

I also spent $12.92 at Target on a felt tool set for my son and favor bags (which I forgot to fill, so they’re ready for next year!). That made a total of $136.85 of the $150 budget.

But what about the food?

budget breakdown
Pickup portion of food

Where is the food in the budget breakdown you ask? We didn’t have to use the budget for the party food! My husband helped a coworker after work one day and was given $40 in return. I used that unexpected money and paid for burger patties, turkey dogs, buns, cake mix, frosting, a fruit bowl, condiments, lettuce, and tomatoes with cash!

So for the budget breakdown purposes, we were able to use $13.15 elsewhere in our monthly budget. Like the newbie I am at this blogging thing I forgot to take pictures of the spread before everyone dug in!

Not too shabby! Would you call that under or over? Technically I think it could go either way since we did spend money, but it wasn’t all from the budget. Let me know what you think!

Have you hosted any parties lately? How did you do on your budget? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear how you entertain your loved ones on a dime!

budget breakdown
Play Ball!
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Buy Clothes Second Hand to Clothe Your Kids on a Dime

Summer Edition

Buy clothes second hand because clothing your kids for the summer doesn’t have to be expensive. For the most part I don’t invest in a lot of clothing over the summer. Really, to be honest, I don’t invest a lot in kids’ clothes period. Here’s why; they outgrow it or ruin it very quickly.

My daughter was my “daycare kid.” I learned quickly it does not pay dress your child to impress at daycare; the teachers are outnumbered, underpaid, and basically just trying to keep your kid alive all day. Stains and the occasional rip are just part of the deal.

Kindergarten wasn’t much easier on clothes but I was so glad I hadn’t bought new, expensive items when I saw my daughter get off the bus each day. First there was the experimenting with the scissors ( on the knees of leggings and her bangs!), then there were the endless grass stains. No sweat kid. Keep it up and you’ll be out of clothes, but at least I didn’t spend a lot of money on clothing.

Swimwear can be so Expensive!

buy clothes second hand

A quick browse on shopping apps such as Amazon and Target made me realize the annual gifted swimming lessons were going to be major budget busters after my daughter had outgrown two of her three swimsuits. Tempted to run to Target to save 10% off on an in store purchase I decided to check a local resale shop and scored! It cost less to buy both kids new swimwear than it would’ve to buy my toddler a rash guard and trunks. He isn’t even a fan of the water, so why waste $20 to watch him NOT get in the water?! Use that money elsewhere in the budget!

buy clothes second hand
$8 total!
buy clothes second hand
toddler’s rash guard and trunks

Moral of the story? Get out there and check out the thrift and consignment shops for swimwear! Buy clothes second hand and keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket!

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Let Nature Set the Pace

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." Ralph Waldo Emerson
let nature set the pace

Just a friendly reminder to slow down and let nature set the pace every once in a while. Life can be a non-stop breakneck pace if we let it. This is just a reminder from Ralph Waldo Emerson, the writer of some of my favorite quotes to slow down. Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break.

It can be hard if you’re out there hustling trying to make a better life for yourself and your family. Every once in a while you need to slow down and breathe. You’ve got this! Slow and steady wins the race. You won’t get out of debt, fully fund that 529, or your retirement overnight. On the bright side you won’t miss your goal if you take some time off from all the hustle and just enjoy where you’re at now and what you’ve accomplished so far.

Sometimes taking a little break from the fast pace of it all can help give you the motivation and energy needed to pick up momentum in your goals. Maybe you haven’t had the time to just sit out on the porch, watch the kids play, and get to work on that meal plan. Catch up on that book you’ve been meaning to read. Chat with a friend you haven’t in a while. Heck, just sit if you want! As a bonus leave the phone in the house. The outside world can wait an hour or two.

I misplaced my phone for a few hours this morning and while it was stressful at first it was actually really nice not to keep checking my email, texts, or feeling like I should take pictures to document the experience. I just hung out with my daughter all morning and while she played and explored at the library while I skimmed a new library book.

You’re doing great! Look at your progress instead of how far you have to go. Grab the kids, go take a walk, and enjoy letting nature set the pace for an afternoon or even a weekend. Why not this weekend?

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Birthday Budget with a Life on a Dime

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June is the birth month for both of my children, which could really add up… if we let ourselves get caught up in the hoopla. Last year being our son’s first birthday we did give each a separate family party at home. This year with all the summer traveling going on we decided to do one backyard barbecue to celebrate both kids. One birthday budget for both kids.

We had pancakes for breakfast and a simple meal of pizza at home on the day of my son’s birthday because those are his favorite foods. Just being two, and needing clothes for warmer weather before his actual birthday I took him shopping just the two of us and purchased four little outfits for around $20 ahead of time. We sang him Happy Birthday at every meal and had an otherwise typical day at home. And you know what? He felt loved and knew we were happy he is around. No clowns or bounce houses required. There is nothing wrong with those things, by the way, if you can afford them and have budgeted for them, but it just isn’t how we choose to spend our money in the birthday budget category this year.

birthday budget

On my daughter’s birthday we will cook her favorite foods for breakfast and dinner and strive to make her feel special as well. There will probably be one gift to open. She will be six. We are teaching her to appreciate people and experiences more than stuff. As a wannabe minimalist who just purposely built a smaller house for the purpose of not accumulating stuff we decided to incorporate this into her gift and she will be starting martial arts classes. We just visited the studio this afternoon and picked up her uniform. It is a happy coincidence the next session starts on her actual birthday.

I have a total budget of $150 for the kids’ birthday party this month, martial arts lessons included. This will cover one gift to open from us each and food. For our son I ordered this cute pedal-powered tractor. Our daughter is getting a T-ball set. We are keeping it simple.We already have condiments. The invitations pictured above were picked out by the kids at Dollar Tree. As the kids get older we will obviously invite more friends and have to plan more activity, but for now this pace suits us just fine.

How do you budget for birthdays? Do you have a sinking fund? Allocate funds the month leading up to the special event? Please comment and let me know. You can also head on over to the corresponding post on my instagram page, @alifeonadime and join in on the conversation there.

Happy budgeting!

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