Ask the Readers: What Helps You Relax?

The holiday season is usually very busy for many families, but you can relax now, right? Now that it’s over? Unfortunately, there are other sources of stress in our day-to-day lives; it’s important to remember the things that help us relax even when we’re not bustling through the busiest season.

What helps you relax? What do you do to get through especially stressful days? Do you set aside time for self-care?

Tell us what helps you relax and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We’re doing three giveaways — here’s how you can win:

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Source: wisebread.com

Personal Financial Improvement With The Fruit Of The Spirit

It’s easy to judge others by their actions as we judge ourselves by our intentions.

Character development can prove to be a challenging and uphill climb. We want to do well but sometimes find it difficult to do so.

Some days we are living a life of victory and other days we’re too ashamed to look ourselves in the mirror!

There are days when we’re crushing our financial goals and other days when our budget is busted and we’re disgusted. Such is life.

Thankfully we’ve been given the fruit of the spirit.

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message that I delivered recently that explains it in greater detail.

Make friends of money but do not love it.

#2 – Joy

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Joy

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Joy

Joy is not based on our circumstances or situations – that would be happiness. James encouraged us to count it all joy when we fell into trying situations.

We can choose joy or misery.

It’s impossible to avoid difficult financial situations. Each of us will face a situation that tests our faith and at times our sanity. During those times, count it all joy. I know it’s easier said than done but it can be done.

Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; and let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant” (Psalm 35:27, NKJV).

It’s okay to win at wealth. According to Psalm 35:27 God takes pleasure in it! I am convinced that we could shout for joy a bit more.

#3 – Peace

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Peace

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Peace

Money fights are one of the leading causes of marital friction and ultimately divorce.

I know that things can get nasty when a couple fights about money. Egos are bruised, weaknesses are exposed, dreams are shattered, and hope is deferred.

Peace, as mentioned in the fruit of the spirit, is the absence of or the end of strife. It’s a state of untroubled and undisturbed well being. Doesn’t that sound cozy & comfy?

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Sounds as though we have a part to play. It’s up to us to allow the peace to rule in our hearts.

Yes, it’s much easier to lash out in anger but that is not peaceful. Our fallen nature wants to cast blame, point fingers, and make sweeping accusations. Those behaviors do not produce peace.

Be thankful. The budget is challenging and sometimes there is more month than money. We all still have reasons to be thankful.

I’ve realized that I am often thinking about things I do not have rather than the countless blessings that I do have. There are billions of people who would gladly trade their problems for mine. When the budget is tough, take some time to truly be thankful for what God has already done.

Allow the peace of God to rule in your heart and family.

#4 – Patience

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Patience

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Patience

I totally expected you to skip this one. Few people like to talk about patience. Furthermore, many Christians are superstitious about it. They are convinced that if they mention it, all kinds of crazy things will happen to them. Not true. Yes, we must overcome but God is not a despotic dictator.

Before we go deeper, a definition of patience would be helpful. It’s not having a sunny disposition while waiting at the DMV for half a day. It’s much more than that.

Patience is the quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. A person operating in patience is consistently constant.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4, NKJV). 

Bad things, challenging things, and difficult circumstances will find you. You can run but you cannot hide. When these circumstances hit, it’s time to adjust our perspective.

Crying about how life is unfair won’t solve the problem. Actually, it might be prolonged.

When these tests happen count it or consider it joyfully. Why? God is still at work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. He has not give up on us. He’s still working on us! (That’s actually good news!)

I know that it’s difficult. I’m in a season of life where it seems that I have the anti-Midas touch. I feel like Andy in The Office when Michael gave him all of the largest accounts as a going away present. “I’m going to lose them all!”.

Yet, when I fall into these trials I know God is working in me. Patience is being developed and God will reward it.

#5 – Kindness

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Kindness

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Kindness

Kindness, regrettably, does not carry the same gravitas as some of the other fruit of the spirit. Perhaps it is misunderstood. Hopefully after today you will have a newfound appreciation of the persimmon of the fruit of the spirit known as kindness.

The fruit of kindness is having the harmlessness of a dove without the wisdom of the serpent. I chalk it up to that feeling you get when you want to be generous but before your brain kicks and talks you out of it. You simply want to be a blessing.

It’s also the mellowing of our character. As we get older we’re often less antagonistic and more apt to give a person the benefit of the doubt. We’re generally kinder after surviving this thing called life.

#6 – Goodness

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Goodness

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Goodness

Goodness is character energized and expressing itself in action. It’s the desire to DO something. Kindness supplies the idea to be a blessing and goodness puts the plan to action.

Earning money is awesome but we all eventually realize that there is more to life than collecting another dollar. Some desire to change their financial, family tree.

Others want to use resources to start a scholarship or feed children or to start a hospital.

Goodness energizes our kindness and makes things happen.

#7 – Faithfulness

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Faithfulness

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Faithfulness

Sadly, faithfulness is not the word I would choose when discussing the money habits of most people.

Almost 80% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Nearly 40% of Americans could not cover a $400 emergency with cash.

However, these same people have luxuries that people just twenty years ago did not enjoy.

The average car payment is now over $550 per month. Car loans are easy to get. I know many twenty + year olds who are driving cars that are new – and they have the payment to prove it. They have little discretionary income as much of it spent before it is earned.

Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful (I Corinthians 4:2, NKJV).

Financial faithfulness is not a mere suggestion. The language Paul uses is quite strong. Faithfulness is required.

# 8 – Gentleness

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Gentleness

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Gentleness

Gentleness gets a bad rap just like kindness.

In some translations the word meekness is used instead of gentleness. Yep, not much better. However both words are powerful!

We’re told that Moses was meek. Moses marched into Pharaoh’s palace and bossed him around! We read in the Psalms and in the Sermon on the Mount that the meek shall inherit the earth. Not too shabby.

Jesus described Himself as gentle. Gentle doesn’t mean soft. A gentle person is not a pushover.

The one who has fully developed the fruit of gentleness is powerful and is fully aware of the power. Jesus entered Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey – lowly and gentle. He was fully aware of who He was and the power at His disposal. At His disposal, were legions of angels who could have wiped out humanity. He chose the route of gentleness.

There is no need to brag about money or wealth. No need to use wealth as weapon against others.

Exalting ourselves based on financial scorekeeping is bad form and quite tacky. Remain humble. We’re simply managing God’s resources. He is trusting you with it. Run it like He would run it – gently.

For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? – I Corinthians 4:7

#9 – Self Control

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Self Control

The Fruit Of The Spirit - Self Control

I’m a firm believer in living a life free from debt. The Bible never mentions debt in a positive manner. The borrower is slave to the lender.

Living a life free of debt can be challenging because debt is a ubiquitous method of financing a life style we cannot afford. Willingly going into debt (bondage) could be viewed as being discontent with God’s provision.

We feel as though we deserve a European vacation but the cash is not available. The siren song of Visa and MasterCard can be seductive. Before we know it we’re charging coffee and croissants at a bistro in the Latin Quarter of Paris.

Self-control is the fruit of the spirit that requires us to roll up our sleeves. This is the one that takes discipline. Jesus said if we wanted to be His disciple we would need to deny ourselves daily. Easy? Nope. Worth it? Yes.

Conclusion

Gifts of the Spirit are given but the fruit of the spirit must be developed.

If we dig deep we could witness dramatic financial results simply by developing the fruit of the spirit in our lives. These traits are inside each of us.

Let’s ensure they blossom.

Personal Financial Improvement With The Fruit Of The Spirit

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

15 Best Cheap College Textbook Rental Sites

Beyond paying for tuition and room and board, buying college textbooks can quickly become one of the most costly aspects of getting a  college education.

Required textbooks for courses can often be extremely expensive, and when you pay full price for them, it can add thousands of dollars to your total yearly cost.

This is why reducing the costs of your college textbooks is a great way to save money in college.

In this article here we’ll explore some of the best cheap college textbook rental sites that can help you to save hundreds of dollars this semester.  So let’s get started.

rent your college textbooks

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Reasons To Rent Textbooks Or Buy Used

Brand new textbooks can be very costly, with some estimating that it can cost an average of $1200 a semester for new books. This is perhaps the most compelling reason to consider renting textbooks or buying used; you can save a lot of money. Even if you use a buyback service at the end of the semester, you can only expect to recoup approximately 25% of the cost. 

Another reason to consider renting your textbooks is that renting can be an easy way to get your textbooks before the start of the semester. You can choose the exact book and get a price for the entire rental period rather than walking around all the bookstores in the area to find the best deals. 

Finally, renting your textbooks means that you won’t need to relocate an entire library every time you change your dorm room or when you travel home. Of course, you’re likely to accumulate stuff while you’re at college, but do you really have room in your car for boxes and boxes of books that you may not read again.

Things To Consider When You Rent A Textbook

While renting textbooks can be a great way to save some cash, there are a few things that you will need to consider before you make any agreement. 

First, you need to think about your style of learning. If you’re the type of student who likes to refer back to textbooks to confirm a theory a few semesters after you took the initial class, you are likely to be better suited to buying your book. Additionally, if you find that information sinks in a little easier if you can highlight passages in your books, then renting might not be for you. 

You will also need to consider your long term requirements. While many courses only require a textbook for just one semester, there are some courses that need the same book for multiple semesters. If you’re unsure, it is worth speaking to your professor to determine if it is better to buy or rent. 

If you’ve decided that renting is the best option, you will also need to consider the fine print of any purchase. You should check for the shipping fees and any other costs associated with the specific book you’re looking at. Add up the costs of any late fees, damage fees, or any other costs that may be applied, so you have a realistic price of your textbook. 

Finally, consider the rental site you’re using. It is a good idea to choose a site that provides some kind of assurance of textbook quality. For example, ideally, the site should provide an option of a replacement if the book is delivered in poor condition or missing some pages.

The Best And Cheapest Textbook Rental Sites

Fortunately, there are some fantastic textbook rental sites that provide affordable options to get your hands on the books you need.

Campus Book Rentals

Campus Book Rentals has been around since 2007, and it was one of the first companies to offer textbook rentals. According to the site, Campus Book Rentals has saved students almost $117 million dollars since it was established. 

Campus Book Rentals

Campus Book Rentals offers three options; Semester (130 days), a quarter (85 days), or summer (55 days). Each of these rental periods also has a 21-day free return guarantee that provides assurance that if you’re not happy with your book or if you change classes, you’re not stuck paying for a book you can’t use. 

After the rental period, Campus Book Rentals will send a prepaid shipping label so you can return your book. There is also a 15 day grace period if you need to keep the book a little longer, or you can pay for an additional 15 or 30-day extension. 

Additionally, if you need to re-rent the book for any reason, the company offers a discounted rate. You can also receive excellent customer support via chat or phone. 

Chegg Books

Chegg is another favorite site for cheap college textbook rentals. This offers free access to e-versions of preferred books for seven days and discounts of up to 90%. If your total book rental is over $50, you can enjoy free shipping before the end of September, but this offer may be subject to change. 

Chegg Textbook Rentals

If you decide that you would like to keep the book, there is also an option to purchase the rental. You can return your books in any box using the prepaid shipping label.

One thing that Chegg discourages is excessive highlighting or writing on the books. This may attract a fee, or you may be obligated to purchase the book. 

What makes Chegg books stand apart is that there is a dedicated study tab with answers to problems posed and access to an online tutor. This is a great resource if you need a little extra help grasping a subject that has not been comprehensively covered in your class. 

Just be sure to keep a close watch of your statements, as some reviewers have been charged multiple items for returned items, so you’ll need to quickly report any such issues. 

BiggerBooks

BiggerBooks is a premier online texbook store where you can buy highly discounted books and textbooks. They advertise savings of up to 91% over list prices using their proprietary technology that searches the web for the lowest prices, and keeps theirs current. 

BiggerBooks Textbook rentals

Buy or rent textbooks, e-textbooks, or sell your textbooks when the semester is over. 

They offer free shipping on orders of $59 or more, which in most instances shouldn’t be too hard.

Vital Source Textbooks

Vital Source Textbooks is a little different, offering instant access to digital textbooks and a broad suite of study tools.

Rent textbooks at Vital Source

You can download your preferred titles and then study with complete offline access. You can use any device to read your textbooks and sync it across all of your devices, color coding any annotations, and making notes. 

Another great feature is that you can listen and follow along with the read-aloud function and use the Flashcards and Review mode for your study sessions. 

AbeBooks

AbeBooks has been an online seller of new and used textbooks, fine art, collectibles and more, since 1996. They have a long track record of helping people to find the books they need, at an affordable price. They were acquired by Amazon.com, Inc in 2008.

AbeBooks cheap college textbooks

AbeBooks has subsidiary sites in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and elsewhere. 

They also own the book price comparison site BookFinder.com.

Textbook Rush

Textbook Rush claims its prices are as much as 90% off the retail price and there is free shipping on all orders over $35. Textbook Rush also offers a 30-day moneyback guarantee, which is over a week longer than most textbook rental sites. 

textbookrush book rental service

Textbook Rush tends to send orders out in green reusable boxes, and they recommend using this box to return your books when you’re finished. The company also pays for return shipping, further minimizing your costs. 

BetterWorldBooks

BetterWorldBooks was started in South Bend, Indiana by two college friends at Notre Dame university. They saw a need for more affordable textbooks at their university, and wanted to have the company also be used by generating revenue to fund literacy projects. They set about finding a way to make that happen. 

To date the company has raised over $28 million dollars for literacy projects and libraries, while donating over 26 million books.  Over 320 million books have been reused or recycled by BetterWorldBooks. 

BetterWorldBooks Cheap textbooks

Textbook prices on the site are pretty affordable, they claim that you can get the textbooks at up to 90% off of list price. 

You can also take advantage of their free rewards program and earn rewards, receive coupons and get exclusive savings off of your textbooks.

Knetbooks

In addition to savings of as much as 85 percent, Knetbooks also offers free shipping for orders and returns. The site is a little difficult to navigate, but there is a helpline from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. 

Knetbooks for cheap textbooks

Although the prices tend to be a little higher compared to some of the other sites on our list, you can tailor your rental for 60 to 130 days. There is also the option to purchase your book if you decide you would like to keep it after the rental period. 

While the higher prices are a drawback, many users report that deliveries are always timely, and the company makes the process easy, convenient, and fast from start to finish. 

eCampus

The eCampus slogan is “Easy, Fast, Cheap!“, making it ideal for our list. The company offers free shipping both ways on any textbook order over $35, and there is an eWards reward system that provides loyal customers with a dollar credit for every three points earned. Even if you don’t meet the minimum for free shipping, you’ll pay just $3 a shipment with $0.99 per item. 

ecampus university book rentals

eCampus also provides greater flexibility for rental durations. You can choose short term, quarter, or semester. It also allows you to sort the book condition from worst to best with an option to pay via PayPal. 

What makes eCampus stand apart is that there is international shipping, and the company also has promo codes periodically to save even more. 

RedShelf

RedShelf is one of the leading edtech companies, helping colleges and publishers transition from traditional print to more affordable digital textbooks.

Buying e-textbooks can help you to save up to 80% off of the cost of traditional print textbooks. 

RedShelf electronic textbooks

Their digital titles also have additional features like the ability to take notes alongside the text, being able to define unfamiliar words while reading, creating flash cards as you read, building study guides, having the text read aloud and more. 

If you’re looking for a place to get your textbooks that is forward looking using the latest technology, RedShelf may be a good option to check out.

Amazon Textbook Rentals

Obviously, Amazon is a massive name in retail, but it also offers a great textbook rental service. Amazon Textbook Rentals has a promise to save students up to 90 percent on textbooks and access to a 30-day refund and return option if the book is not satisfactory. Additionally, Amazon Student users can enjoy free shipping. 

Amazon textbook rentals

There is also an eTextbook feature providing access to a vast repository of electronic books for rent, but you will need to have the free Kindle app installed on your device. The service is equipped with School Lists to help you to find your recommended books. You’ll just need to enter the school name or ZIP code to get the list provided by teachers with access to the service. 

There are a few rules for Amazon Textbook Rentals that may seem daunting. For example, you’ll be charged the full price for the book if it is deemed excessively highlighted. There is also no guarantee of access to supplementary materials when you rent your book. Additionally, if the book is not returned by the deadline, you’ll be charged for a 15-day extension fee, and after this time, you’ll be forced to keep the book as you’ll be billed the full price. 

Barnes and Noble Textbook Rentals

As one of the original bookselling chains, Barnes and Noble offers a superb selection of textbooks and a great textbook rental service. The company offers some of the most competitive pricing, and its selection is comparable to Amazon. However, you will be charged shipping costs, whether you rent or buy your books. 

Barnes And Noble textbooks for sale

Barnes and Noble is one of the only college textbook rental sites that provides software to access supplementary materials, which is a great add on for many classes. 

Valore Books

Valore Books takes pride in being “the student marketplace” for your college textbook rentals. It is one of the few sites that allows you to track your order or return orders via a box on the homepage. 

Valore Books textbook rentals

One of the standout features of Valore Books is that you can compare book prices from different rental providers to find the best possible deal. Although the shipping charge is $3.95 an item, you can also qualify for free rental return shipping and a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Although the selection is limited for the newer textbooks, Valore Books does have an excellent selection of older books. 

Textbookx

Textbookx is a subsidiary of the Connecticut based online store Akademos, Inc. This company has been in business since 1999 and has a long track record of providing books online at affordable prices. The company has also made a commitment to customer service, and this is reflected in its A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

Textbookx college textbook rental

This company has a significant selection of new and used college textbooks, and there is an option to sell books through its marketplace. The company stocks its own books and has three online partners to further extend the selection. However, the shipping charges and policies vary according to who has the book in stock. If you purchase from Textbookx direct, you can enjoy free shipping if you spend more than $49. Otherwise, the shipping costs are $4.96 an item. 

Generally, Textbookx offers lower prices compared to most online resellers for buying books, but the book rental program links to other rental providers. 

Bookbyte 

This is an all-inclusive site that allows you to buy, sell, or rent college textbooks. The textbook rental aspect of the business is simple and easy to use. You just need to search the title or ISBN of the textbook and select the “rent” option. You can also choose a 30, 60, 90, or 150-day rental term. 

Bookbyte cheap textbooks

If you need to keep the book for a little longer, Bookbyte will provide a seven day grace period. Additionally, the company claims that you can save as much as 87% on textbook rental, and the average student saves $112.93 per book by using its services. 

Bookbyte also offers free shipping on orders over $49, which may be higher than some of the sites on our list, but it still represents a good deal.

Tips For Finding Your Textbooks Cheap

Textbook rental sites can be a great resource, but there are some things that you need to remember when renting your textbooks. 

  • Use the ISBN To Make Sure You Have The Right Book: There are often several editions for most textbooks, so you need to make sure that you have access to the latest edition.The best way to do this is to search by the ISBN number of the book rather than just relying on a title search. 
  • Don’t Expect Access Codes or Supplementary Materials: Textbook rentals are classified as used books, so if there is normally an access code included, or supplementary materials, the chances are the code has already been used, or the extra materials are not included in the rental. If it is important that you have the access code, you may be forced to buy the book instead of renting. If supplementary materials are necessary and the ad doesn’t explicitly say they’re included, make sure to reach out and verify that they’re included. 
  • Take Good Care Of Your Rented Books: While most textbook rental sites expect and allow highlighting, there is a fine line between acceptable and excessive. Additionally, you need to avoid staining or tearing any pages. Most sites have a clause in the terms and conditions that if the book is returned with excessive wear and tear, you’ll be forced to buy the book. 
  • Keep In Mind Total Costs: Some sites will have lower prices, but charge a higher cost for shipping, or taxes. Make sure you figure out the total cost before you purchase.

Check Multiple Textbook Rental Sites At Once Using These Aggregators

If you’re searching for all the books in your syllabus, it can still be a time-consuming process. Fortunately, there are some great aggregators to expedite your search. Below are some of the best.

BookScouter

BookScouter is a great resource to buy, sell, or rent textbooks. You can use the main website or use the BookScouter app, which provides a fast and convenient tool. It is easy to get started; you just need to provide your name and email address to register. 

CampusBooks

CampusBooks allows you to make a complete textbook rental price comparison. You can search dozens of rental sites to seek out the lowest prices, and the Campus Books SuperBot will let you know if it works out cheaper to rent or buy your textbook. 

TextbookRentals

TextbookRentals is another excellent aggregator that allows you to search for all your books, compare prices, and save money on your textbook rental. The platform also has a great blog to provide you with helpful information on college life to help you make the most of your college experience. 

CheapestTexbooks.com

CheapestTextbooks is an aggregator that searches “1000’s of college textbooks sellers” to find you the best deal on your textbook rental or purchase. They search online sellers, big bookstores, and hundreds of small online bookstores. They’ll try to find you the lowest possible price, including shipping when possible. 

Save Money On Your Education By Renting College Textbooks

Renting your textbooks is a great way to cut the cost of your college experience.

Many of the companies we’ve listed can save you up to 90% on the cost of books, which can add up to thousands of dollars in savings over the course of your university career. 

Have your own tips to save money on college textbooks? Tell us what they are in the comments!

Best Cheap College Textbook Rental Websites

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

7 Inexpensive Ways To Have Fun With Your Kids This Summer

In our area, kids began summer break just last week.

My Facebook feed is already filled with pictures of other families’ fun summer vacations.

One family is on a cruise, another is on a beach destination. Another one has her child in gymnastics camp all summer.

If you don’t have a lot of money for extracurriculars and vacations, you may be sad when seeing these posts and feel like you won’t be able to give your kids a good summer vacation, but that’s not true.

There are plenty of ways you can share experiences with your kids this summer that don’t cost a lot of money

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free library programs offered during the summer.  At our local library, there’s a free activity every Friday ranging from learning about desert animals to watching a play, and more.

cheap summer fun with your kids - library programs

cheap summer fun with your kids - library programs

A friend of mine gathered information from five local libraries and attended all of the free programs with her kids one summer.  They had free activities to enjoy four days a week each week! Beyond the activities – reading books for free from the library is underrated!

Free Or Low-Cost Movies

cheap summer fun with your kids - movies

cheap summer fun with your kids - moviesMany local communities offer free movies in the park at least once a month.  Show up at dusk with a blanket, some homemade snacks, and relax and watch the movie in the great outdoors.

Another option is to get discounted summer movie passes for kids.  I just purchased a pass for me and my children–$5 per person allows you to see 10 kids’ movies, one each week during the summer.

Museum Passes

Many libraries have free museum passes that you can check out.  You can then attend the museum completely free.

If your library doesn’t have this, check each museum that you would like to attend.  Many offer a free day once a month.

Bible School

Many churches offer free Bible school during the summer.  Because so many parents work, many of these are in the evenings from 6 to 8 each night, but you may still find some that are offered during the day.

My kids are registered for our church’s Vacation Bible School one week in June from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. every day.

Picnics

Pick one day a week when you and the kids explore.  Maybe you go to a park, or a nature center, or a hike.

Bring a sack lunch with you and enjoy the great outdoors for several hours.  If you want you can even bring yard games and a small grill and make an evening of it.

cheap summer fun with your kids - picnic

cheap summer fun with your kids - picnic

Go To The Beach

cheap summer fun with your kids - go to the beach

cheap summer fun with your kids - go to the beach

Does anything else say summer as much as a trip to a lake?  Kids can stay all day enjoying the water, building in the sand, and munching on snacks.  If you have a lake nearby, try to go at least once a month.

Craft And Experiment Times

Break up the day with fun craft activities or experiments.  My girls are into making slime and can do that for at least an hour a day.  I just need to keep enough supplies on hand.  We also recently made a volcano out of homemade clay; they loved watching it explode and wanted to do it again.

This summer make Pinterest your friend, and you’ll find hundreds of activities to keep your kids engaged and learning (without realizing they are doing something educational!).

cheap summer fun with your kids - craft time

cheap summer fun with your kids - craft time

Be Creative And Your Summer Will Be Full

Our kids are so busy now that we think we have to have them scheduled 24/7 and attending all of the camps that their friends are going to.  We don’t have to.

Some of the best summer memories are made from free activities.  At the end of the day, our kids just want our time and to have fun.  You’ll be able to satisfy those desires with these activities.

How do you keep the kids engaged and entertained without spending hundreds of dollars during the summer?

7 Inexpensive Ways To Have Fun With Your Kids This Summer

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

Netflix Prices Have Gone Up: 5 Netflix Alternatives For You To Try

A week or so ago Netflix announced that they would be raising their prices on all of their streaming and DVD rental plans.

There was a bit of an outcry throughout the internet with people talking about how they were going to cancel or drop part of their package to reduce costs.  Nobody likes to pay for more for a service that they’ve been signed up for and using for such a long time.

It’s understandable to not want to pay more, but what are your alternatives if you don’t want to pay for Netflix anymore?

Today I thought I’d look at how the Netflix pricing is changing, and what entertainment alternatives you have to replace them.

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Netflix Prices Going Up

In their announcement that prices were changing Netflix told how pricing was changing, and what was going to be available for plans going forward.  You can either do streaming only or DVD only.

Here is their new pricing.

Netflix Price Increase

Netflix Price Increase

Netflix Streaming Plans

  • Basic – Streaming video only – 1 screen at a time: $8.99
  • Standard – Streaming video only – 2 screens at a time + HD: $12.99
  • Premium – Streaming video only – 4 screens at a time + Ultra HD: $15.99

Netflix DVD Plans

  • Standard – 1 DVD at a time: $7.99
  • Premier – 2 DVD at a time: $11.99
  • Standard – 1 HD Blu-ray at a time: $9.99
  • Premier – 2 HD Blu-ray at a time: $14.99

For most people who had basic streaming the pricing is going from $7.99 to $8.99/month.  So a price jump of about $1.  The other streaming plans went up by $2.

To find out if you think your plan is still a good value even with the price jump, check out our post: Is Netflix A Cost Efficient Entertainment Option For You?

Netflix Alternatives

Netflix Price Increase - Alternative Services

Netflix Price Increase - Alternative Services

With a lot of people talking about canceling Netflix or moving to another provider, just what other streaming and DVD providers are there out there?  Here’s a quick rundown of some of the more visible options.

Redbox DVD & Game Kiosks

Redbox Kiosks are located at a variety of gas stations, department stores, grocery stores and restaurants all over the United States.  You can rent any new release or classic movie from the kiosk for $1.75/night plus tax. They also have video games and Blu-Ray movies for slightly more.  If you try hard you can also find codes for free rentals at the Redbox kiosks, although those are becoming harder to find.  Still, $1.75 per movie is an affordable option, especially if you’re close to a Redbox location like we are.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV has an app for most streaming devices that allow you to watch a 100+ channels of free video entertainment from movies and music to TV shows.  Pluto is the free TV streaming service, but it feels like a premium product. They also have some free streaming movies available to watch, although you do have to watch commercials.

Amazon Instant Video

Amazon launched a video streaming service a few years back. The best part?  It’s free for all Amazon Prime members.  So if you’re already a member of Amazon Prime’s unlimited free or reduced price shipping on the site, you’ll get the video streaming service for free (not if you’re on one of the free Prime memberships for students or parents, however). The cost?  $119/year for Amazon Prime, or about $9.92/month.  Not too bad, especially when you also get all the benefits of 2 day shipping on all Amazon items.

The only downside that I’ve found is that they only have a fraction of the titles available on Netflix, so options aren’t as varied and some more popular and new release movies may not be available.

In addition to their Amazon Instant Video streaming options you can also purchase or rent selected movies and TV shows via Video On Demand.  Rentals start at about $3.99, and movie purchases cost $9.99 or more.

HBO Now

HBO programming has only been available via a cable TV package for the longest time.  Since 2015 HBO Now has provided HBO programming outside of a cable package.

If you’re a fan of certain HBO shows this makes cutting the cord much more possible. You can get HBO Now for $14.99/month.

Hulu

Another alternative, especially for folks who like to watch a lot of TV and classic movies is Hulu.  It costs $7.99/month and you can stream the video content to a variety of connected devices including Xbox and Playstation consoles, Fire TV, Rokue, as well some Blu-Ray players and TVs.

If you want to get a little more down and dirty, you can set up a streaming video solution like we have at our house using a Playon Media Server.

Philo TV

Philo is quickly becoming the go to option for people who don’t want to pay a lot for cable TV, and don’t care about sports (they don’t carry sports or major news networks, making it much cheaper).

They are only $16/month for their basic cable package, with 40+ channels from Discovery, TLC and History to HGTV.  Add 10+ more channels for only $20!

Read the full Philo review here.

There Are Other Options, But Are Any Better?

As you can see from the list above there are several other options of video rental services to use instead of Netflix if you aren’t happy with the price increases, but the question remains – are any of them better or more affordable options than Netflix?

Even after the price change I still think that Netflix offers a pretty good value in comparison to the other sites and video rental services.  It still costs less than a full cable TV package, and their streaming options, while still only being OK – are still ahead of most other sites offering the service.

Can you find cheaper options? Maybe, but their combination of ease of use, DVDs and streaming, leave them hard to beat still in my opinion.

Right now we’ll probably continue on with our streaming plan and pay the extra money just because we’ve been pretty happy with the service.

How about you – are you cancelling your Netflix plan, and if so are you going to be using something else instead?  Tell us your thoughts on the price increase, and about what alternatives you might be likely to try.

Source: biblemoneymatters.com