How to Make a Road Trip a Success with Kids

One of the worst things for parents to deal with is road trips with their kids screaming their heads off the entire time. My husband and I must be lucky people because our kids, for the most part, have always been great in the car. No screaming, very little fighting (they are siblings, after all) and they have never puked in the car. We did have a potty accident a couple times, but that was not that big of a deal. Instead, our kids always managed to keep each other occupied with things they brought in the car and different games they played together. One of their favorite was Travel Bingo!

*This is a partnered post. This post many contain Amazon Affiliate Links. All opinions are solely my own*

The best thing you can do, when you are going on a road trip, is make sure your kids have things to occupy them. I don’t know about you, but while I really didn’t like listening to Raffi, we did because the kids liked it and it made them happy. Happy kids equals happy parents! While toys, books, movies, etc will keep your kids occupied, you also need to have snacks. We’ve tried little individual bags or baggies of snacks, but those always seemed to make a huge mess. That’s when we though of their own little snap lid storage container!

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The snap lids are easy enough for kids to take off, but if they can’t, then you can unsnap it for them and hand it to them. You can get containers that have different compartments, but we liked this one with the two compartments because we can put fruit on one side and pretzels or fish crackers on the other side! Sure spills can still happen, but we found that when our children were younger, spills happened far less often with a container like this than with baggies.

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Besides having snacks and activities to keep your children occupied, you also have to have the right car. Let’s face it…when we test drive a car, we sit in the front seat. As a result, we have no idea what the backseat is like for the kids. Do they have enough leg room? Believe me, if they don’t, they will repeatedly kick the back of your seat the entire road trip. I’ve been there, done that! As I was looking at the East Hills Chevrolet of Roslyn webpage, I couldn’t help but drool over the awesome 2015 Camaro, but as pretty as that car is, that would NOT be kid friendly. I would have to imagine if my 6’2″ husband got in that car, he’d have to have the seat ALL the way back. No room for kids. So while that car is out, for at least the next 10 years, I did notice that under the New Car Specials, they had some really great deals! For instance, a Chevy Equinox LT for just $79 a month! Say what?!?

What are your tips for a successful road trip?

Tips to Becoming a Savvy Shopper

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Image Source: Flickr

Saving money is one of my biggest priorities. I hate to over pay for something, so you will, almost always, see me step out of line to check my phone for a coupon that the cashier can scan to give me a percentage off my shopping trip. Especially at Kohl’s. They always seem to have coupons! Besides checking for coupons online, a few of my other tips for being a savvy shopper are:

  • Check your junk mail. Yea yea, I know…it’s junk mail. However, that junk mail sometimes has some really great coupons in it. Especially for things you wouldn’t expect to have a coupon for. For instance, we have a resale shop here that we like to go to for jeans for the kids. That resale shop has coupons in the junk mail!
  • Speaking of resale shops, there is nothing wrong with buying used (and saving the difference…sorry, couldn’t resist. You die hard Duggar fans will know what I am talking about). Kids go through their clothes so fast. Why pay full price for something, like a pair of jeans, when you can get them for a fraction of the cost. Case in point…my son just picked up a pair of jeans at the resale shop for $10. It still had the tags on it. Retail price was $38. I rest my case.
  • Use reward cards. Everyone has a rewards card now. Even car dealerships. Get the card. If you don’t want to have a ton of cards in your wallet or little key chain things on your car keys, then search the app store for an app that will hold all those cards for you. My husband uses and app and loves it!
  • Research your large purchases. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on a whim only to find out that you don’t really like what you bought. For instance, a refrigerator with built in WiFi. Sounds cool, but do you really need it? I like to read all the negative reviews of something first. Sometimes the people that post the negative reviews have a point and totally change my mind on a product, while other times they are just whining or they don’t know how to actually use the product. Just research.
  • Read up on the return policy. Some places have a window of time where you can return something without paying a restocking fee. For instance, one place you wouldn’t expect to have a return policy (at least I wasn’t expecting it!) is at a car dealership. East Hills Chevrolet has an exclusive 3 Day/100 Mile Vehicle Exchange Policy! You can never go wrong buying a car at East Hills Chevrolet with this policy!
  • Ask for a better price. Bet you didn’t know you could do that! But you can! My husband is really good about this one. I, on the other hand, need to work on it. I have a hard time asking the sales rep at Kohl’s to give me a better price on something that is already marked. He, however, can look at them and say “is that the best price you can do?” and almost always they will bend over backwards to find a coupon for him to use. It’s crazy…crazy good!

These are my tips. I’m sure I’ve left some out. What tips do you have for being a savvy shopper? Leave me a comment with your tip!

Using Technology in Schools

I am a huge advocate of technology. Both my husband and I use it a lot in our day to day lives, both for work and personal use. In fact, I very rarely, if ever now, read actual books. I read everything on my Kindle. Side-note…if you are looking for a gift for someone who likes to read and who has everything, you may want to consider a Kindle. It is my most favorite gift ever! I’m serious. As a result of our love for technology, our kids love it to. Being the mean parents that we are, we set some pretty strict limits for using technology in our house. Why? Because they use it so much at school, I don’t want them to be in front of a screen all the time at home, too.

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The other day I went to my son’s 6th grade open house. First of all, it seems so crazy to me that I have a child in middle school. I know it’s so cliché to say, but I really cannot believe it and quite frankly, I don’t feel like I am old enough to have a child in middle school! I can’t help but think that we have now begun the downward slope. He’s 11 right now, but pretty soon he will be 16 and driving; then he will be 17 and going to prom and before you know it, high school graduation day will be here. Insane. Absolutely insane! Before I go any further, you have to see his 6th grade picture! So cute! Oh and by the way, I purchased the CD which gave me the rights to share and print this picture as I wish!

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As I walked through the halls of his new middle school, I couldn’t help think about my middle school experience. Unlike most people who have absolute horrible things to say about middle school, I loved my experience. I had more fun there than I did in high school! But boy how things have changed. When I was in middle school we were allow to take backpacks to class, we covered our books in paper grocery bags, and we hand wrote our homework on loose leaf paper. Middle school now is so different. Well…except for the Trapper Keepers, those are still a thing!

Everything they do in school is on a Chromebook using Google docs and Google Classroom. I sat in the different classes, listening to the teachers talk about their class and how they will be utilizing the Chromebooks and how their classroom is pretty much paperless (which this mama likes…I hate feeling like I’m drowning in paper), I couldn’t help but feel totally overwhelmed at the thought of everything being on the computer. While I am sure the participation and the homework turn in rate will significantly increase, after all, you are no longer able to use the “dog ate my homework” excuse, as a parent (and one that is very technically savvy) I feel very lost all of a sudden.

This is definitely one of those “play it by ear” and “see how it goes” type of things. I am sure it will be great. What types of technology do you see your kids using in school?

How to Save Money When Buying or Leasing a Car

Saving money is one of my top priorities. While I do work from home, I am also the main parent home with the kids and I’d love to say I make a ton of money working from home, but I don’t. I’d definitely make more if I went and got a traditional 9 to 5 job outside the home. However, if I do that, then I would not be home when the kids got off the school bus; my kids wouldn’t be able to be involved in all the sports they are involved in; and if they are involved in all the various sports, I would be a whole lot crazier than I already am! So, when we made the decision to have kids and for me to stay home with them, I made it my mission to save as much money as I possibly could each and every time I bought something. Even if it meant camping outside a store on Black Friday to get a t.v. Yes..I did that.

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Image found here and used with permission 

It seems like nowadays, every store you go into has some sort of savings card or a rewards card. I have to say, I really love the rewards card. Especially the Qdoba rewards card! I like that when I get X amount of points (that only really takes you a few visits to rack up), you then are rewarded with one free entree! My favorite is to go with my whole family, use the cards, rack up the points and then enjoy the free entree by myself one day while everyone is at work and school! I figure that’s my treat for being such an awesome saver!

*This post is a partnered post

But guess what…I just found the ULTIMATE rewards card! How would you like to earn rewards towards your next car purchase or lease?!? I know…so awesome! The East Hills Auto Group has the Auto Rewards program. With every swipe of your Auto Rewards card, you will earn 15% off all qualified purchases! Each point earned is equal to $1 AND the points are fully transferable to family AND friends! But wait…that’s not all! As you begin banking these points, you can also earn free gift cards to local merchants and the points DO NOT deduct from your overall point total! It’s just their way of thanking you for being such an amazing customer! As a member, you also have these advantages:

  • Save $100’s on Members-Only Parts & Service Pricing
  • Free New York State Inspections
  • Free Towing Program
  • Free VIP Shuttle Service
  • Free Lost Key Return Service

I don’t know what you think, but East Hills Auto Group has it figured out! Way to reward your loyal customers and show them that you appreciate their business! I don’t live near East Hills Auto Group, but I will be looking to see if dealers in my area has this same program. Like I said, I like to save money as much as possible…and earning a gift card for a local merchant is great too!

 What are your best money saving tips? Leave me a comment with one or two of your favorite tips. I’d love to add a little more to my list!

Connect with Your Favorite Brands with C Space!

About a year ago, my husband was speaking to customer service of a fitness band he used. He felt there was a huge design flaw that was causing the brand a lot of claims when the product broke. He gave them details on exactly how he thought the particular fitness band could be changed that would alleviate a lot of the issues they were having. Would you believe that a little over a year later he saw that fitness band at the store and saw that they took HIS suggestion?!? How cool is that?

**This is a partnered post. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating**

Can you relate to that? Have you ever had an idea for one of your favorite brands, but didn’t know who to reach out to? C Space is a company that helps your favorite brands grow by connecting the brands with their customers. The customers, in turn create impactful insights for the brand!

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How You Can Get Involved

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Leave me a comment and let me know if you signed up!! What would you save your Amazon gift codes for?