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Free stuff to help families save money
The average family's income remains below where it was in 2007 at the beginning of the recession.
So these days, free "stuff" can really help many parents and their children.
Sheila gray has the secrets to getting things for free in tonight's family 411.
Marie Rossiter is a busy mother of two.
She's been blogging for about 3 years.
"Experiences of raising a teenage girl and a tween gir.l"
The mom blog network has opened up a new world.
"It can be hundreds of dollars."
A world of free stuff, right in your back yard....
"I'm not a in a blog network. Can I get free stuff? Sure!"
"Kids can learn how to build a little wooden race car to bird houses, and everything's free.
Marie found kids workshops at Home Depot and Lowe's.
"All the materials are provided."
More free activities like storytimes and character greetings.. even tea parties at Disney Stores, Barnes & Noble and Pottery Barn Kids.
"Monday, kids eat free at Applebee's, IHOP..."
Free kids meals every night of the week at dozens of restaurants, from Red Robin & Friday's to Fazoli's, Perkins, to Pizza Hut, even Lonestar Steakhouse.
"As my kids get older, things get more expensive."
Kids growing out of those clothes that cost so much?
"It's called hand me downs."
Marie found free clothes through online hand-me-down exchanges.
"Clean out your kids closet and save."
Want to reward your kids for their good grades at school? A lot of businesses will do it for you.
"They do. Let's take a look."
From a free glazed donut at Krispy Kreme, to free kids meals, pizza, and ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, for good grades, or perfect attendance.
Don't forget to bring proof.
"A lot of sporting teams offer free tickets for kids who have a certain GPA."
Marie's even found tickets to big national shows...
"Disney on Ice."
...through online contests on Mommy blogs.
"It's doesn't have to cost a fortune to take your kids to do something. You just have to invest a little time."