A Credit Card Strategy for Families on a Budget

You’ve seen the travel blogs that advertise various credit cards with lucrative sign-up bonuses and how to leverage those points and miles into first class flights and luxury hotels. It’s pretty enticing and inspiring. Unfortunately, acquiring those credit card bonuses often require spending a minimum of $3,000 (per card) within three months. When you’re on a budget, that can be a challenge. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun. It just means you have to re-adjust your expectations and develop a credit card strategy that can benefit your family.

Three Chocolate Options for Kids with a Milk Allergy

Growing up, chocolate milk was one of my favorite drinks. It still is. I remember watching a sitcom when I was younger where someone poured chocolate syrup in their mouth, took a swig of milk, and then swished the two ingredients around in their mouth. Of course I tried it. It was pretty awesome. I’m a little bummed that our little one won’t be able to do stupid stuff like that. With her allergy to cow’s milk, we wondered how or when she could taste the goodness that is chocolate. Fortunately there are plenty of options out there, but there are three products that particularly stand out in our household.

Chocolate Silk

This was the first chocolate product that we gave to our daughter. Since she can’t have cow’s milk or actual chocolate, Chocolate Silk worked out fine. First, it’s soy milk. Second, the chocolate flavoring comes from cocoa. If you’re like me, you might be wondering what’s the difference between chocolate and cocoa. The main difference between the two is that chocolate includes cocoa butter, while cocoa does not.

The Best Shoes to Wear to Disneyland

I took a family trip to Disneyland back in 2007 and aside from some good times, one of the things I remember most was how much my feet hurt at the end of the first day. I wasn’t wearing the best shoes for Disneyland. It felt so good to take my shoes off at the end of the day. By the next morning, my feet felt fine. I was ready for day two at the park. I even stopped off to get some of those gel inserts you put into the shoes to make it more comfortable. About an hour in, my feet were in pain again. I don’t even know how I made it through the rest of the day.

It’s Labor Day and I’m Part of the Labor Force Again

Being unemployed with a family to take care of is a nerve-wracking situation. I was laid off from my job late in 2015. I didn’t think it would take that long to get back into the work force but was I wrong. I was wrong by a lot. It ended up being about 10 months before I was able to find my new (part-time) job, which I just started in the past week. They say everything happens for a reason, and certain things are meant to be. Although I’m not working full-time, I believe this opportunity is a great fit given the way things have evolved.

How to Use and Save Money with Citi Price Rewind

Citi Price Rewind is a feature of Citibank credit cards that scours the internet to (hopefully) save you money by finding a lower price on items you’ve purchased and registered with Citi Price Rewind. According to the website, nearly 124,000 refunds were issued in the first half of 2016, totaling over $3,000,000. You can receive refunds for up to $500 per item, and the maximum refund you can receive in a year is $2,500. It’s a very straightforward process. Charge your purchase(s) to your Citi credit card, submit a tracking ticket, and Citi will start looking for lower prices for the next 60 days. At the end of the 60 days, you’ll be refunded the price difference if a lower price was found.

Three Ways to Change the Way You Spend Money

I’m not too good with setting budgets. I generally just try to save as much money as possible by finding deals or being honest with myself about whether or not I really need something. Most of the time it’s a want rather than a need. One area where I could use some help is in the dining department. We tend to eat at restaurants a lot on the weekends since we’re usually out and about. With a family of three, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to dine out for less than $25 after tax and tip. Even fast food adds up to around $15 per visit. So why do we continue to do it? It’s convenient, and we’re mostly just being lazy. We rationalize that it’s easier to eat out and it’s less time consuming than going home to cook and save some money. When you add up all that rationalizing, we’re looking at $100 to $200+ each month in dining expenses alone. That adds up to thousands of dollars each year. Yikes! If we could all stop trying to justify our purchases, just think how much money we could all save every year. Here are three mistakes I’ve noticed people make when making purchases:

Sleep Training Never Really Ends

As a parent, I’m sure you’ve heard or read the saying, “You can’t spoil a baby,” or something to that effect. For me, this was a common theme every time I read about sleep training for babies. Since it was plastered all over the internet by e-parents and other anonymous people, I figured it had to be true. So for the first three months of parenthood, I cuddled my daughter at every opportunity. I cuddled her to sleep at bedtime, when she woke up in the middle of the night, and for naps. For the most part, she slept through the night but all babies evolve, for better and worse.

Around the thee month age, she was waking up several times a night, so of course one of us had to go in there and help her back to sleep. Apparently you CAN spoil a baby, because they want/need you to help them back to sleep from all of the non-spoiling love you’ve been giving them. It was exhausting. I couldn’t wait to start sleep training at four months old.

Three Weeks Left for Disney Store Summer Play Days

Each summer, the Disney Store holds its Summer Play Days event where they give away free stuff every week. The free items are part of a theme for the entire summer. This year it’s a Tsum Tsum wristband (as you can see from the main image, above). In order to receive a wristband, you have to participate in the event, which typically lasts about five to 10 minutes. The events are different each week. We’ve had activities such as learning how to draw a Disney character, a parade within the store, playing a match game, or learning how to do the Hot Dog Dance. Check with your local Disney Store to confirm the time(s) of their event(s). One store near me has two events daily, while another store has only one each day.

If you collect all 14 wristbands, you can get bonus Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Tsum Tsum wristbands. You’ll have to take your collection to a Disney Store between 8/31/16 and 9/5/16 to show them to a Cast Member so they can verify your collection.

Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound Review

We recently visited the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington with a close friend and her daughter. If you’re not familiar with Great Wolf, they advertise as “America’s largest family of indoor waterpark resorts.” They have 14 locations throughout the United States and one in Canada. In the Pacific Northwest, which has a reputation for rain and clouds, Great Wolf Lodge offers the opportunity to enjoy water activities all year long.

The resort is located approximately 67 miles south of Seattle/Tacoma Airport. If you’re thinking of making a visit here, know that it’s going to be a drive. If you’re traveling south during the week, it’s probably best to leave before noon, or 1PM at the latest. Most traffic heads north during the morning commute and the afternoon commute tends to start around 2PM or 3PM. When you’re leaving, follow the same rules. Either leave early or leave late because the traffic heading north through Olympia and Tacoma is awful.