Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

The Mommy 101 posts are part of an occasional series in areas where we feel knowledgeable. Each mom brings her own set of life experiences to these posts and we hope that you can benefit from these tidbits. Read all of the
posts in the Mommy 101 series here.

This week, I’ve given readers some tips on how to live on one income and how to take advantage of the secondhand market. Those tips are great for surviving and having the necessities for your household. But let’s say you’re looking for some entertainment and a few ways to save even more money. Look no further.

Here are 10 ways to get things for free.

Some free fun at the Sachs Butterfly House

1.     Use your library. It’s okay to buy new books once in a while, but resist the urge unless it’s a book you’ll really treasure. Instead, check out books from your library, which your tax dollars already support. We also check out movies and music, and we go to weekly story times and other special events. In the past year, we’ve seen a performance by an Irish dancing school, met live birds like hawks and owls from a local bird sanctuary, decorated pumpkins, and met the mascot of the St. Louis Blues hockey team. All for free!

2.     Find out if local attractions offer free – or reduced – admission on certain days. We have it particularly good in St. Louis where our zoo is always free, and the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House offer free admission to county residents on specific days of the week or month.

3.     Visit your local parks. Pass an afternoon at the playground. Stroll on the walking paths. Feed the ducks. Play catch. You get the idea. If you have a good park within walking distance, even better.

4.      Get involved with a church that has good programming for families. My preschool-aged daughter loves the children’s classes at our church. Our family also enjoys vacation Bible school, trunk or treat, and choir concerts.

5.      Snag usable or reparable items from the curb on trash day. My mother-in law was especially good at this when she lived in an apartment complex where people were always moving in and out and leaving their stuff at the Dumpster. She picked up a nice set of wooden stools we now use at our kitchen island and a large table she thought we might use in our laundry room. The table turned out to be too large for the room, so we sold it at our next garage sale. Pure profit!

6.      Use freecyle.org. It’s free. Who doesn’t like that?

7.      Follow a website or blog that notifies you of freebies and samples. Nothing is better than opening your mail box to find free shampoo, cereal, vitamins, diapers, lotion, or deodorant. Moneysavingmom.com is useful, or look for samples being given away on Walmart.com. Samples often come with coupons, which make them extra nice. You can also write to your favorite company – Kraft Foods, for instance – and ask for samples or coupons.

8.      Swap babysitting duties with other parents. All parents enjoy time to run errands or go on a date without the kids. Even better if you don’t have to fork over cash for a sitter.

9.     Earn rewards through the codes that come on diaper packages. I’m currently enjoying a free year’s subscription to Better Homes and Gardens through my Pampers Gifts to Grow account.

10.  Findout if your drugstore offers free antibiotics or other generic prescription drugs. This is becoming more common. I get free prenatal vitamins from my pharmacy.

Did I miss anything? How do you find free entertainment or get free stuff?

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Category: Moms

Tags: budget