The grocery bills keep rising, the costs of music lessons seem to snip holes in the pocketbook, and orthodontist bills just prepare you for college bills. Raising kids is an expensive adventure. That is why I absolutely love finding free bargains that give a little boost to our days. Some of these are things that are actually on our “need” list, while many of them just add some fun extras that make life easier or bring a smile to a face. Freebies for families are some of my favorite treasures – and here is just a sample of some that help ease the financial crunch.
Free eBooks for Kids
Due to some savvy Black Friday shopping there are now new tablets in my house, but I don’t want to spend a fortune (or anything, really) filling the memory on the tablets with books for the kids. So I’ve been surfing and searching for free eBooks, and here are some of my favorites. (Most of these are for Kindle apps, but there are also options for Nook, or you can download the free Kindle app.)
1. Amazon Kindle Store – Go to the Kindle store at Amazon and select “Children’s eBooks” from the left side menu. Then look to the right and you should see two lists – one for the Top 100 Paid eBooks for kids, and one for the Top 100 Free eBooks for kids. Select the titles that interest you to see more about the books, then you can add it to your cart (just make sure that you have your tablet or mobile device synced to the Kindle store, which you can do by selecting Manage Kindle).
2. The Library – Check with your local library, or the library of a nearby University (or maybe even your alma mater), for selections of eBooks. Our library loans eBooks for free, and also offers free audio books for download. You can borrow for free for up to two weeks – all it takes it a library card.
3. Dailyfreebooks.com – This is basically a filtering service you can use to be alerted to free eBooks that are offered through Amazon. The benefit is that it allows you to select the genre (Children’s) and many other categories, and be alerted as new free titles are added.
More Freebies for Families
4. Boston Market Birthday Club – If you have one of these restaurants near you, sign up for a birthday club offer for your kids.
5. Bob Evans – Another birthday club for kids that will get them a free meal – one step closer to lowering that grocery bill!
6. Hy-Vee – If you have a local Hy-Vee grocery store, your kids can sign up for a Kids Club membership that will not only give them free birthday meals, but invitations to special in-store events – including classes and tours behind the scenes. If you don’t have a Hy-Vee store near you, check with your local grocery chain to see if they offer the same enticements to shop their store.
7. LEGO Club – If you’ve got a LEGO builder half as enthusiastic as one of mine, you need to sign up for the free LEGO Club online. You can even take it a step further (if you are ready to hear the “I might want to save my money to buy…” that I usually hear) and request a product catalogue. This great color guide shows all of the possible sets your builder can imagine. Technical difficulties prevented me from ordering my catalogue online, but I just called the 1-800 number listed and ordered it for free within a few minutes.
8. Barnes & Noble Kids’ Club – Sign up your kids who are 12 and under for special discounts and a free cupcake on their birthdays.
9. Toys R Us Birthday Club – The bonuses are minimal with this club, but if you have a birthday kid who gets a few extra spending dollars from Grandma on her birthday and Toys R Us is where she likes to spend it, you can get special coupons (and the bonus of wearing a birthday crown when she shops!).
10. FreeCycle.org – This site is based on local groups where you can offer things for free or post a request for a “wanted” item. You’ll find everything from cribs and kids’ clothes to books and yard toys.
Raising kids is not a free ride, but a few freebies along the way can be fun and help ease the entertainment portion of the budget. What free bonuses have you found for your family?