Budget Friendly Phoenix Family Fun with Pogo Pass Giveaway- Win 2 Passes

I am totally excited to work with Pogo Pass to offer you an awesome deal and a giveaway!!!

Are you wanting to get out, but do not want to break the bank spending a ton of money? Get the best deal around with a Pogo Pass. Just 1 pass (per person) will get FREE admission to 15 Phoenix Venues and each pass is good for an entire 12 months.  You not only get your summer fun covered, but you will get to use your pass all year long!

Win Disneyland Tickets when purchasing a Pogo Pass with promo code FUN at pogopass.com

GREAT NEWS…

Every Pogo Pass purchased in July using the

promo code FUN

(or this link – promo code is automatically added)

will be automatically entered to

WIN a family 4 Pack of tickets to Disneyland!

Slip on down to the bottom of this post to enter the giveaway to WIN 2 Pogo Passes for yourself. I promise it’s easy!

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How We Survived College Family Life on a Budget

From the moment my husband and I got married we were living the college student life on a budget. You see, he started school in another state a month before we got married and we were all for taking new adventures. We had plenty of ups and downs financially, but we survived! I can’t toot that we got out of school debt free, but we did our best to take minimal student loans along the way. This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.

Here are 3 tips we learned while being a student family on a budget:

Set A Budget and Stick to It

One of the most important things for us to do was to set a budget and stick to it! AND we had to decide together on the budget. If I did all the planning, then my hubby was in the dark and did not know what he was supposed to stick to, which would cause major contention. It was a tight budget with lofty goals, but we learned to go without. For instance, sometimes the budget only allowed $25 a month for date nights, which was a stretch for us, but we felt date nights were important even if they were small. We also spent minimal on clothes, with only one or two pairs of pants per person and one pair of shoes, which saved a ton in our budget if we didn’t have to buy clothing.

One thing I had to keep reminding myself through our student years (and still do) is, “you never know how in debt someone else is.” So, even though it seems like someone is doing better off, they might be in more debt than you and choosing to live a different lifestyle. Remember it and repeat as necessary. It helps during those wishful thinking times!

Take Advantage of Free Resources

You can never learn too much in my opinion and it is always a great idea to check out free financial resources like the SunTrust Bank’s Resource Center where you can find financial calculator’s, tips and plenty of interesting article and podcasts. Next to listen to on my list is their podcast titled, “How To Become Financially Fit”.

Other free resources that are great to take advantage of are Hand-me-downs for the kiddos, free activities on campus=great date nights, and coupons for foods at your local food store.

Build Credit

Just because we were on a budget did not mean we could not build our credit. For the most part, while we were in school we lived in student housing and rented. Our goal was to get into a house after my husband graduated and in order to get into a house, we needed to have good credit. I had really good credit, but what we found out a few years into our marriage is that my husband’s credit needed work. It was not bad, but it was not as great as we hoped.

When we got married my husband received his first credit card, or so we thought. We added him onto my card and got a card in his name. The mistake we made was assuming that having that card would build his credit. Luckily, we found out in enough time to help us that he needed to have his own card in his own name/under his account to build his credit. We then put away my card I had been using for years to help make sure we did not spend too much. By the time he graduated, we both had awesome credit which later helped us get a great loan to buy a house.

What are your budget survival tips?

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well being. They help you get organized, make a plan, and stay on track so you can get and stay in control of your finances. When you are confident about your money, you can save for your goals and splurge knowingly on what matters most to you.

 

To get started visit suntrust.com/getorganized

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.

4 Ways I Am Improving My Distracted Driving

Over the last month I have had the opportunity to think about distracted driving and the #DecideToDrive campaign. The goal is to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving through this campaign by empowering everyone to speak up to help reduce distracted behaviors while driving. I thought I was doing pretty good drivingbefore, but quickly realized that I have a confession I need to make…

I am a distracted driver.

Phew! I said it. Now everyone will be watching me. Accountability at it’s best! I am a distracted driver or at least a recovering distracted driver as I have been rethinking and retraining my driving habits over the last few weeks. I am betting I am not alone. In a world where technology is at our finger tips and everything seems to be “go, go go”, it is extremely easy to get distracted while driving. BUT I am discovering that it is just as easy to fix. Here are 4 ways I am improving my distracted driving:

 

Let It Go!

I know, you now have the song in your head, right? Me, too, but it helps to remember that when it comes to phone calls, texts and emails that you can let them go unanswered until you reach your destination.  The phrase “It Can Wait” helps me to also remember that answering or checking those is not the most important thing. The most important thing is to keep my eyes on the road so I can be aware of the road and a safe driver. If my eyes are on my phone, whose eyes are driving my car? Yikes!

Distracted Driving

If it is important, I need to pull over to take care of it.

Fact:

“Drivers who text are 23x more likely to be involved in a crash (compared to non-distracted drivers).”- Virginia Tech Transportation Institute”

 

Don’t Eat While Driving

Guilty! As much as I hate to admit it, I didn’t realize that this is one of my bigger problems. We are constantly running from school to sports to the next thing that often I throw a meal into containers for us to eat on the road. I have been retraining myself to take a few extra minutes to eat before we leave or to wait until we arrive at our destination.

AAOS-DecideToDrive-NoSmallDistraction_forweb

 

Keep Busy People and Hands In The Back

There are some people I just don’t allow in the front. This guy is going to be one of them! He has to touch EVERY button, dial or vent all the time when he is just sitting in the car parked. I can only imagine how much worse it would be while we are driving. I now have a few people that I refuse to allow to sit up front.! Love them, but I also love them in one piece a lot better!

 

Discuss the Importance of not Driving Distracted

My kiddos are constantly asking me to watch them while I drive. Um, not possible sweetie! I have learned that if I discuss with my kiddos the importance of me not being distracted while I drive (i.e. fighting, throwing things, etc.), they seem to do a lot better at not being crazy in the car or asking me to look at them. It took a few weeks of reminders, but I think we are there. Hopefully, as they get older this will sink in so much that they will carry the thinking on into their own driving.

 

Speak Up!

This is probably the most important one. I am not always the driver in our car and my children are not always driving with me. If we are in a car where someone is being distracted (i.e. any of my faults previous listed above), we need to speak up and we need to teach our children to speak up. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be safe and get home in one piece.


 

Enter To Win

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance have teamed up to spread the awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and need your help! They are looking for the best slogan or catch phrase to make the Decide to Drive Campaign pop and have some awesome prizes for the best ideas.

Decide To Drive Campaign

Go enter the Decide To Drive Catch Phrase Contest now!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

SunCare Tips & Summer Survival – Whole Foods Market

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market, but even so, I am totally taking advantage of this information and getting my booty down to this sale! All opinions are 100% my own, of course!

Whole Foods Market Sun Care Sale

It’s that time of year again. It’s getting hot and my “easily gets sunburned” skin is reminding me that we are out of sunblock. I’ll be honest, I hate shopping for sunblock. It stresses me out! I am betting I am not alone. I have sensitive skin and young children, so I spend the time reading each label to find sunblocks that do not have certain ingredients.

I remember last year I had heard on the radio that we were supposed to avoid a certain chemical in sunblock, so I assumed it would be easy to find a brand or bottle without this chemical. Nope! So, I had to laugh when I saw these facts below listed on Whole Foods Market Premium Body Care Standards information sheet. It totally sums up my frustration with my Sunblock shopping experience.

Did you know…

FACT: The U.S. government does not require health studies or pre-market testing for personal care products.

FACT: There are many non-natural components and processes in most U.S. body care products. Even those labeled “natural” may contain harsh preservatives or ingredients with environmental concerns.

FACT: Sunscreen is recommended by experts, yet many chemical sunscreens have been shown to have questionable safety. Our Premium standard allows only those that physically screen sun as a safer alternative.

So what is the solution? Be prepared and do your research. I wish there was one answer for everyone, but it is not that easy since everyone is different. So, here are some great tips to get you started in the right direction:

  • Find out how to pick the perfect sunscreen and get details like, what is the right SPF for you and whether you need (and what is the difference between) a Physical or a Chemical Sunblock?
  • Shop somewhere you trust that will do the research for you and provide products that are safe like Whole Foods Market (see their Premium Body Care Standards I shared above). I am always super impressed when I visit their store and the variety of healthy products that I feel I can trust.
  • When you find something that works for you and that you like, take advantage of a sale like the one Whole Foods Market is having right now. They have brands like Goddess Garden, Badger and DeVita. Knowing you are getting quality and a good price always makes you feel good!

Whole Foods Market Sun Care Sale

 

  What is your favorite Summer Survival Tip?

How do you use your Fry’s Fuel Points? {Fry’s Fuel Crew Tips and Savings}

Fry's food stores

I am super excited to be working with Fry’s Food Stores to share with you some fun tips to save money on gas this summer.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 1.51.36 PM

 

It’s summer time and Fry’s 2x Fuel Point Weekends are back! What does that mean? That means  you can earn double Fry’s Fuel points when you shop on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays. By simply taking advantage of fuel points, you can save money without trying. Everyone loves easy savings, right? And it can not get much easier than this!

One way the Fun On a Dime crew likes to earn Fry’s Fuel points is to use the ads for meal planning and then take advantage of the double fuel point earnings when we shop on Friday and Saturday.

We have a friend who is an ultimate saver and a while back shared with us some additional tips that we have been trying to implement. She takes advantage of her shopping on the weekends, too, but she will also buy gift cards to restaurants (which also get double fuel point earnings) that she knows her hubby and her are going to eat at for their date night that weekend.

This smart friend also taught us that in order to take full advantage of all her fuel points she will take full advantage of all the gas she can get. So, when she has earned $1.00 off per gallon of gas, she will meet her husband at a Fry’s gas station on his way home from work and will fill up to the maximum of 35 gallons allowed for points per transaction. I have yet to be this awesome, but was told this is easiest to do this is to have your hubby park on one side of the pump at the end and you on the other. Then you are able to move the hose easily from one vehicle to the other.

Check out this video from the Fry’s Fuel Crew to get some more great ideas and tips on how you can maximize your fuel points earnings. Every little bit helps, right?

 

How do you like to spend your fuel points?

 
 

How To Save Water and More with Jimmy’s Green Challenge Starter Kit

I am always looking for ways to help my children become more aware of their surrounds and more responsible. I think they are finally old enough to understand the importance of turning off water or the light when they leave the room and with the help of the Jimmy’s Green Challenge Starter Kit, that we were able to try out, I think we were able to really help them get the idea.

Jimmy's green challenge review

 “If you ask Jimmy, every day is Earth Day. His rhyming picture book encourages kids as young as 6-years-old to think about living “green” from the moment they brush their teeth in the morning to when mom turns off the bedroom lights at night. The book Jimmy’s Gone Green is part of a new conservation kit that also includes a poster, green wristbands and a refrigerator magnet. The award-winning book features a green boy who happily shares ten simple steps for kids to improve the environment, starting today.”

Jimmy's Gone Green Challenge Starter Kit

I am a firm believer that you can teach almost every lesson you need with a good story or book. Jimmy’s Green Challenge Starter Kit includes just that. It took a few times reading it to my kiddos for it really sink in, but they started to take the ideas to heart. The kids were excited that we already were doing some of the steps, such as recycling. But we all knew we needed help in the spending less time in the shower department, so we made that our goal to work on.

 

How To Take Less Than a 5 Minute Shower and Save Water

One of the steps is to take less than  a 5 minute Shower. When we first tried this, we used a timer and I let the kiddos go for it. Telling them to take a fast shower. It did not take long for them to start day dreaming and forget all about the timer. FAIL!

Then we tried it again the next time with me reminding them as every minute passed. “5 minutes left, 4 minute left, etc.” My eight year old son did pretty good, but my six year old daughter who does not like to be rushed was quite upset about speeding through everything. SLIGHTLY SUCCESSFUL!

But then I remembered my scouting days and one of my Professor’s telling me that when she visited Sea Base (a BSA High Adventure Base Camp in Florida), that she had to take 3 minutes or less showers and she shared her secrets on how to do it fast. I always thought it was great idea, especially for camping, and thought my kiddos would appreciate it. Especially my “don’t rush me” daughter. SUCCESS

The Easiest Way to Take a Fast Shower for Children

So this can be used by everyone. My kiddos wanted to show how they are now able to take quick showers in as little as 3 Steps under 5 minutes, but they chose closer to 5. If they had combined steps 2 and 4,  they would have been able to get it down to 3 steps total! Between each step they turned off the water and made sure they were ready to rinse off and went as quick as possible when the water was turned back on. (FYI: Swimsuits were worn on both kiddos for these pictures.)

How to save water when taking a shower.

 

My son ended up with a shower after 1 min ute and 45 minutes and my daughter,because she had to do conditioner received, 3 minutes and 25 seconds, but both were under 5 minutes. This was a lot of fun for them and a great idea to help them find ways to conserve and more aware of their shower habits.

They have also been having fun with the wrist bands and remembering when they need to switch wrists. Overall, I’m excited to have the book and the challenge as party of our book collection to help encourage and remind my kiddos how they can save a little more energy and resources.

Check out Jimmy’s Gone Green Facebook page for more tips that help families become more earth friendly or stop by his other media outlets on Twitter and Pinterest

 

 

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