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How to Save at Six Flags

16 Jul

Fun Fact: "Six Flags" is named after the six countries that have governed Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States of America, and the United States.

As you know by my last post, I took Cameron to Six Flags for a late birthday present! We had lots of fun! Six flags isn’t a cheap place to go, but there’s lots of ways to make it as affordable as you can. These tips are for Six Flags, but I’m sure many of them can be used at other places too.

Tickets

Never, ever, ever just show up as Six Flags and pay full price for  tickets!! Look online before going so you can find any coupons or promotions. We purchased our tickets online, instead of at the gate. That saved us not only time, but also money. Plus Cameron googled Six Flags coupons and was able to find a coupon for the day we were going to be there, saving us a litttle more. We ended up paying $27 each, instead of the $57 price we would have paid if we just showed up and payed there with no planning ahead. So that saved us a total of $60 (saved $30 each ticket)! That was WAY worth the few minutes of searching the internet and planning ahead!

If you plan on going to Six Flags more than once that year you may want to look into a season pass.

Food and Drinks

First of all if you’re planning a Six Flags trip you’re gonna need to stay hydrated. Especially if it’s in the middle of summer. You can purchase a Six Flags bottle for $13 and get unlimited refills the rest of the day. If you’re not a germaphobe you can share the cup with your friends or family that you’re there with.

Another option for the drinks is to take a Six Flags cup you already own (we borrowed one from family) and you can get if filled up for 99 cents. We figured we wouldn’t need to get it filled more than 13 times that day, so it was a better deal for us than buying a new cup. We ended up only getting it filled a couple of times and would just fill it with water at the water fountains instead.

As far as food….well it’s expensive. We planned on going out to our car and eating some food we had packed and then going back into the park for more rides (make sure to get stamped out or you’ll have to purchase another ticket to get back in). But we didn’t end up doing that, we ended up getting a brisket burger, fries and poweraid and just split it. And that cost us about $15! We can usually feed our whole little family of 3 eating out for that much! So if you want to save on food, keep a cooler with lunch in it out in your car.

Miscellaneous

The best way to save on souvenirs is to just not buy them. I’ve never been a big fan of little trinkets that just sit around and collect dust, so those giant stuffed bananas or cheesy snow globes don’t really tempt me. But I have heard of people buying Disney things before a Disney World trip, since you can get that kind of stuff other places. Then when the kids see all the cool Mickey Mouse stuff that’s way over priced at Disney World, their parents can give them the things they bought previously for a much better cost.

 If you can, only take what you don’t mind carrying, or else you’ll end up renting a locker. Of course if you’re going with a bunch of little kids or babies that may be harder to do. We only took what would fit in Cameron’s pockets (thank goodness he wears cargo shorts with those big pockets).The only thing we carried was the water bottle. Speaking of carrying things in your pockets, Cameron put cash and his cell phone in a Ziploc to make sure they wouldn’t get wet if we went on one of the splash down rides. Also plan ahead so you don’t end up renting a stroller or buying sunglasses because you forgot them.

So there’s some Six Flags savings tips, I’m working on a post about saving on trips in general, so be watching for that!

Six Flags…Here We Come!

12 Jul

Today Cameron and I are heading out to Dallas! We’re gonna leave after work, go to Six Flags tomorrow and come back Thursday! It’s his birthday present…a lot more money than I usually spend on a present, but maybe it can make up for all the times I bought him socks and underwear as gifts! 🙂 Gracia’s staying with her grandparents, first time we’ve left her this long. 😦

But I am planning some posts on how to save at Six Flags and how to save on trips in general, so be looking for those next week!

Dec. '10 in Mexico

This picture has nothing to do with my post, I just decided I didn’t want 2 posts in a row with no pictures!

Bubbles

7 Jul

I found this super easy way to make your own bubble mixture from the Purposed Heart (check out her site to see how to make a bubble wand too). All you need is:

  • 3/4 cup of dish detergent
  • 1 cup of water

Mix the dish soap and water in a pot, then bring it to a boil. Let it cool….and voila, you have bubbles! 🙂 Gracia’s glad to have some more bubble soap, so she can blow bubbles again!

And if you need any other fun and frugal kid ideas check these out (just click the photo to be taken to the full post):

Homemade Finger Paint

Juice Lid Memory Game

Frugal Photo Friday – Cheap Books, Free Clothes and the Magic of Vinegar

24 Jun

This Frugal Friday Photo I have a picture of Gracia playing with a really cool Arthur book. It has little figures from Arthur and throughout the book there’s slots you can put them. I got it for Gracia at a thrift store along with a coloring book that had stickers in it. Both books were in great condition. The coloring book hadn’t been used at all and I got them both for $1! Another frugal thing in this picture is the outfit Gracia’s wearing. A lady from our neighborhood gave me a bunch of girl clothes last year. Most of them were too big for Gracia then, but she’s starting to grow into them now. The only problem with them is that they smelled really strongly of cigarettes. But I washed them a few times with vinegar and that fixed the problem!

Frugal Photo Friday – Easy to Make Finger Paint

17 Jun

Finger Paint

Need a fun activity for your kids this summer? Just whip up some frugal finger paint. All you need is water, cornstarch, and food coloring. Here’s the site I got the recipe from. Today was the second time I’ve done this with Gracia and she really likes it, especially since she gets to pick out what colors we make. You can even have your kids help make it. Gracia poured the cornstarch in the cold water, got the bowls out and of course picked out the colors. It’s a great idea for decorating a Father’s Day card too!

The Semi-Frugal Birthday Party

23 May

My little Gracia turned 3 this weekend! I remember when she was a newborn, everyone told me that the time would go really fast…and boy were they right! Anyways…we tried to do our party without spending too much money, but also make it a worthwhile party. We could have done some things cheaper, like used real plates instead of paper or made my own tea, but that also would have taken more time. So we decided to meet in the middle, we did some things from scratch and some the faster way.

Here’s an estimate of what we spent on the party. Some of the things I didn’t know an exact amount, especially if it was something made from scratch using small amounts of lots of different ingredients, so I just did an estimated guess.

We fed 13 adults and 5 kids. And we only ate about half the food, so we have several meals covered this week!

Here’s the numbers:

  • Swing (our gift to Gracia) $20
  • Drinks (2 jugs of tea, juice pouches, 2-12 packs of soda) $13
  • Bubble necklaces for the kids $2
  • Plates, cups, silverware, napkins and tablecloths  $17
  • Watermelon $4
  • 3 bags of chips $5
  • Cheese $7
  • Ice $6
  • 60 Hot dogs (Oscar Meyer, no artificial stuff, from Sam’s Club) $8
  • Hot dog buns (also from Sam’s) $4
  • Potato salad – the potatoes cost $6, so with all the other ingredients, I’ll just guess it cost about $9
  • Cake – We had 2 cakes, the cupcakes in the butterfly cake, the icing and decorations were free, I’ll explain more in my cake post. The cake for the butterfly wings and the second cake and it’s icing were all homemade so let’s say I spent $3 on that.
  • Chili – the meat was probably $5 worth and the beans just over $1, so we’ll say $8
  • We had onions, ketchup, mustard and pickles, let’s just say we used $3 worth of those.

TOTAL ESTIMATE: $109

Here’s some ways we either just didn’t spend money or spent less than we could have:

  • Our invitations were free, we just sent out a facebook invite.
  • We didn’t do any decorations.
  • I used a gift bag I already had for Gracia’s gift.
  • We spent very little on the cakes. The cake mix, some of the icing and decorations were free (I’ll elaborate in my butterfly cake post). The rest was made from scratch really cheaply. If we had bought an already made b-day cake it would cost at least $20.
  •  The potato salad and chili were made from scratch. Plus I used beans to stretch the meat in the chili.
  • We did it at a park for free, plus it had a brand new playground which was free, but really fun entertainment for the kids.
  • Most of the things I bought for the party were generic brand.
  • I saved receipts in case we didn’t use anything and wanted to return it. Which was good, because one of the sets of cups we didn’t open and I’m going to return them for a savings of $1.50! =)

So all to say, no it was not the cheapest party on earth, but we did find ways to make it cheaper. And when you save in other areas you can afford to splurge a little on special occasions.

I have more to talk about the party. I’m planning a post on how we made our butterfly cake (no purchasing a special cake pan!). I may also share the Wacky Cake recipe (it uses vinegar, and this is after all national vinegar month) and the peanut butter icing recipe. And I might do a post on how we used up our leftovers from the party.

What ways do you like to save or splurge on birthday parties?

Juice Lid Memory Game

9 May

Here’s an idea I got from The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczn. Keep the lids to concentrated frozen juice. Put matching stickers on to make a memory game for kids. You could also paint or draw shapes, letters, colors or whatever to help them learn. And you can keep adding to the game as you collect more juice lids (as you can see I need to save more.)

You could do this with card stock paper too, but the juice lids will last a lot longer. And they stack really nicely! Plus frozen juice is a lot of times cheaper than bottled. Check the ingredients in bottled juice, a lot of them are made from concentrate.

This is a great frugal gift idea for kids. You can personalize them by using stickers of one of their favorite characters, then tie with a pretty ribbon.