Our First Freebie Fun Date of 2017

When I was a kid, Coca-Cola had a promotion where certain bottle caps had free offers from local businesses underneath them. This was before the days of “promo codes” that you enter online…before the days even of plastic 20 oz. bottles. Each week, my mom would buy two 8-packs of Coke in glass bottles and we would eagerly wait to see what treasure our cap would hold. Our favorites were the free Whoppers from Burger King and free game tokens from the arcade. Once we had accumulated enough caps to cover us all, my mom would take my sister and me out for lunch and to play video games. The entire day cost her no more than the gas to get us there.

Seems my love of freebies has been lifelong 🙂

My childhood memory of “freebie fun days” with my mom and our renewed commitment to frugality (and fun) in 2017 prompted me to explore what other opportunities were out there for freebies – and to plan what I hope to be the first of many freebie fun days of our own.

This month is easy – it’s my birth month so we’re rolling in free food from a variety of restaurants where I signed up for their “birthday clubs” last year, including:

  • Zaxby’s – I got a free meal for signing up and a free birthday gift.
  • Panera Bread – Angie and I both signed up and received a free treat of our choice.
  • Fazoli’s – We love Fazoli’s for cheap, quick Italian and have found their e-club to be outstanding. We both got a free meal for signing up and periodically get other freebies via email, including a free meal with purchase of a drink, BOGO meals, and $3 off coupons.
  • Steak ‘n Shake – A free birthday meal.
  • IHOP – Yet another free birthday meal.
  • Starbucks – I always look forward to my free beverage every year. It’s one of the few times I get a drink from Starbucks. We usually only buy their bagged coffee to take home.
  • Culver’s – Both Angie and I got a free meal basket with drink AND a free custard.

The good thing about all of these offers is that they don’t require a purchase. The bad thing is that each of the e-club coupons expires within two weeks (there’s only so much casual/fast food a person can eat in such a short time frame) so it’s probably best to space out the sign ups.

In addition to free food, there are a lot of free things to do in our community. Some major cities (like Denver and Chicago) offer free days at area museums and zoos. As far as I can tell, Nashville doesn’t offer this but they do have discounted admission during certain hours at some museums – like the Adventure Science Center. I’m going to do a bit more digging on this one but so far I have a couple of museums and festivals in our freebie queue for this year.

For our first Freebie Fun Date though, we went to Holder Family Fun Center for 4 free games of bowling (we already have shoes so there’s no added cost there).

We had lunch at Fazoli’s. We each had a free spaghetti coupon with the purchase of a drink.

Afterwards, we went for a walk on a new greenway we found on Monday. Despite the brisk weather and the partially flooded trail, we managed to get in 3.1 miles today.

The whole day cost $4.76. Well…technically…the whole day cost $2.74. On the way back to our car, we found $2.02 on the ground. A gift from the Universe, perhaps? I don’t know but we’ll take it!

What freebies do you and your family enjoy?

My First Attempt at Bullet Journaling

Up until a month ago I’d never heard of a bullet journal. Then one day, while scrolling through Instagram, I saw that several of my blogging friends were starting a bujo (short for bullet journal) for the New Year. As someone who likes to use the same scribbled-in notebook for the entire year to keep track of everything under the sun, the bujo concept really appealed to me. The $20 purchase price of the recommended journal, however, did not.

I have some sort of obsession with brand new journals. I stare at them in their pristine condition, visualizing how cool they’ll look after a whole 365 days of writing…and then I freeze. I can’t bring myself to put anything on the page for fear of messing it up. So instead, I grab a cheap spiral notebook and that becomes my go-to tablet for the year. There’s a drawer in my desk that contains a lot of pretty new journals that people have given me as gifts over the years. Someday I may use one…but it won’t be this year. For my bullet journal, I bought a Graph Composition notebook (97 cents at Walmart). Even then, I stared at it for over an hour before writing my name on it.

For inspiration and help in setting up my bullet journal for the first time, I went to Jena at All-Round Better Me. Her bullet journal is awesome! I even set up my general calendar pages just like hers (though I may end up changing the format later on). I like the idea of tracking food – especially since I’m keeping up with meatless days this year – but I think I may need more room for my daily to do list.


Since we’re also doing the 2017 in 2017 Decluttering Challenge, I adapted a page in the bujo for tracking our progress. And a page for tracking our progress in paying off the car.

So far, I like the bullet journal. It’s proving to be a great way to keep track of everything we’re doing – goals, meal planning, grocery shopping, ideas, and notes – all in one place.

Have you done a bujo before (or are you doing one now)? If so, what do you like most (or least) about it?