We're all watching our family budgets these days. Whether shopping with coupons or looking for two-for-one deals, we're taking advantage of all sorts of offers and savings that help us stretch our dollars.
This column will be dedicated to giving you five great local deals each week that will help your family’s bottom line. Since we do the scouting for you, you can save time as well as money.
You are a big part of this column. Let us hear about the deals you've seen. Just add them to our comment box. Then come back each week and see what we've uncovered together.
This week, Frugal Family reporter Carolyn Cunningham scoured our local sources to come up with free or low-cost summertime boredom busters and reading programs, free library cards, free museum entry this summer for military families and links to CouponMom.com of Atlanta's Stephanie Nelson:
1. Summertime Boredom Busters
Deal: SouthernSavers.com has a list of low-cost activities for children and teens whose parents want to avoid spending big bucks on vacations or camps. Categories cover movies, bowling, museums, workshops, national parks and other things like geocaching, minor league baseball games and Zoo Atlanta.
2. Summer Reading List
Deal: SouthernSavers.com also has compiled a list of free summer reading programs for children offered by various businesses.
3. Free Georgia PINES Library Card
Deal: Any Georgia resident can receive a free library card for a program of the Georgia Public Library Service, Georgia Library PINES (Public Information Network for Electronic Services). This public library automation and lending network is comprised of more than 275 libraries and service outlets in almost 140 counties.
Georgians with a PINES library card have access to a shared collection of 9.6 million books and other materials that can be delivered to their home library free of charge. Paulding County's four libraries are listed here.
4. Free Museums for Military Families
Deal: This summer, Blue Star Families and the National Endowment for the Arts—along with more than 1,300 museums across America—are offering free admission to families with a parent or spouse serving in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their special goals are to help around 1 million children who have had at least one parent deployed and to offer these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have fewer resources and limited time to be together. Up to five family members, including spouses and children, may enter with each military ID.
More than 1,300 museums in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa are participating as Blue Star Museums. A list of participating museums may be found here. Blue Star museums in Metro Atlanta are:
- A Southern Trilogy (the 3 historic house museums of Roswell)
- Atlanta History Center
- The Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum, Atlanta
- Centers for Disease Control / Global Health Odyssey Museum, Atlanta
- Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta
- Heritage Sandy Springs Museum
- High Museum of Art, Atlanta
- Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, Atlanta
- Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta
- Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, Atlanta
- The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA), Atlanta
Good through: Sept. 5.
5. Coupon Mom Free Videos and Operation Expiration for
Deal: Attached to this article are two videos on how to coupon from Atlanta's Stephanie Nelson who is nationally known as "The Coupon Mom." Her website is free, listing weekly grocery and drugstore specials. Her 4 million members save money every week with her seven national store lists and 44 grocery store lists that are updated each Wednesday.
Two valuable lists are her Extreme Drugstore Deals list for all national stores, showing each week's freebies. All grocery store deals that are 50 percent off or higher may be found in her Extreme Grocery Deals list by state. (These lists cannot be seen unless you sign up for your free membership.)
She saves you the work of clipping a lot of coupons by showing you which newspaper circular (weekly for SmartSource and RedPlum and monthly for Procter & Gamble) contains the coupons you may want.
Eighty percent of grocery coupons come from the Sunday newspaper. Then about 15 minutes is needed to cut out your coupons when using the Coupon Mom list. (This system also works when using the also-free SouthernSavers.com.)
With your expired coupons, you can help the U.S. military by mailing them to those listed on Nelson's Operation Expiration list. Organizers request that participants send coupons that are expired by only a month or two, and sort them into categories.