Budget saving tips for grandparents

Budget saving tips for grandparents

Happy Tuesday!  Today is Budget Saving Tuesday, and I am discussing budget saving tips for grandparents.

I know there are many grandparents in this audience, so since this is fresh on my mind, I wanted to offer up a few budget saving tips and ideas!

My three grandsons who live out-of-town came to visit for the whole week last week….we call it Summer Camp at Gigi and Papa Joe’s.

It seems with each visit I learn more about being a Gigi….and now very much on a budget!


Budget Saving Tips for grandparents

BUDGET SAVING TIP #1 FOR GRANDPARENTSFirst and foremost, remember it is not about the places you go or gifts you provide, it is about the “time spent.”

We actually were hindered by the excessive heat (32 days in the triple digits) so our time outdoors was limited anyway.

I took this photo while watching Paw Patrol with our four-year-old.  He reached over and took my hand….time spent that day was invaluable.

All three of them said they wanted more time at the house than going to the big theme parks…which have become very, very expensive.

Budget Saving tips on a budget

BUDGET SAVING TIP #2 FOR GRANDPARENTS: Even in the uneventful moments, look for opportunities to teach and build their knowledge and character.

Since they were here over July 4, I used it as an opportunity to teach a little history.

Together, we made a dessert to take to the cousins’ backyard.

We made ice cream sandwiches and rolled them in red, white and blue sprinkles.

While we rolled, I taught them about the colors…what they meant and why they were selected.

Our nine-year-old is a major football fan, so later in the week we watched three old football movies which taught exceptional character lessons.

After each movie, I asked questions and explained some of the actions in the movies.

NONE of these costs one penny….but again, are invaluable.

Budget saving tips for grandpartenting

BUDGET SAVING TIP #3 FOR GRANDPARENTS:  Sometimes all you need are Dollar General, Big Lots, and Goodwill.

I think in our desire to do so much for them, we forget that the simplest items can matter the most.

Like this bug catcher from the dollar store….it has the holes for the bugs, and a magnifying glass to look closer at the. Perfect!

I picked up puzzles and games there for inside and outside.  One of the $1 puzzles had 60 pieces and featured the whole US with lessons on each state. 

The seven-year-old liked it so much that he took it home….I want to stop by and pick up a few more of the puzzles now that I know they are study quality and fun to do.

These would be great stocking stuffers too.

The week before they arrived, I stopped at Goodwill SA for a few toys, books and extra tee shirts.  All were successful finds….including a new Paw Patrol Look & Find book…that went back as well.

One of these tee shirts sent the message NO BAD DAYS….loved the positivity and we talked about it.

These items meant as much to these little boys as paying more for items at a larger store would have.

Budget Saving tips for grandpartents

BUDGET SAVING TIP #4 FOR GRANDPARENTS: Sometimes the most fun is in your own backyard

As I said, they were not interested in going to the theme parks, but they did want to paint rocks!!

We have enjoyed this before.  I used a coupon from my email at Michael’s to purchase a box of paint and good brushes.

This time when we painted, I taught them how to mix colors to make other colors.  This was new for them.  Our oldest was so excited to splash pink onto his rock with white and orange after we mixed it.

Look for those lessons around every corner.

I put some of their rocks in our backyard and I have three in my office.  There is one little one on my desk that says BE HAPPY.

Budget Saving Tips for Grandparents

BUDGET SAVING TIP #5 FOR GRANDPARENTS:  Buy the food they like and forget trying to change it to what you like

In the past, I have wasted money purchasing foods with a desire to change their likes and dislikes.

I can remember buying all the ingredients to make homemade Macaroni & Cheese…then they did not eat it.  The blue box is the go to macaroni.

This time I just purchased what they said they wanted to eat….which included great quantities of fruit….and they ate every bit of what I bought.

BTW:  That is my youngest son with the boys here.  We went downtown to swim at his pool with the condominium complex where he lives.  They adore him.

Budget Saving tips for grandparents

This is the first time I have done the “summer camp” that I did not regret money spent.

I believe we got more bang for our bucks this time….and they had fun…no whining at all.

In fact, not a one, uttered those chilling words…”I’m bored”

I realize these are tips for grandparents with younger children, but if you have some budget saving tips you would like to share, please do!  I for one would love to hear them.

Thank you for joining me for Budget Saving Tips for Grandparents today….tomorrow I will be here with the news!  I hope to see you then…..



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By Pamela Lutrell

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budget saving tips

Always find books and great toys at Goodwill San Antonio!



  1. When my 13 & 15 year old granddaughters come, they have 4-5 food favorites that they look for at house. My daughter is the same way. I have finally learned to let them have what they love. They don’t care about my creativity. They still love to go to Dollar Tree with $5 to buy something fun. They also love to take a bath with the water hose on the patio; everything gets watered including me! Nyla

  2. What a happy post with the cutest photos!! These are such excellent tips Pam! I always found that my grandboys liked the free stuff best, especially if it included dirt and streams! My oldest used to spend a week each summer when he was young, and I remember once getting a cheap birdhouse kit and building it with him. He lives 500 miles away, so it was a memory every year when I hung it for our wrens! Making gooey stuff in mixing bowls… cheap seems best. Heading to the local pool was a big deal. Now that all three are grown up, they honestly don’t care about spending money, they actually seem to enjoy walking and talking. I have to be willing to be a listener (and a prayer warrior because some things get pretty heavy!) I miss the days you feature here. My oldest used to be like your little one who held your hand. I wrote it all down, what he said, things he did, such an affectionate child. It changes as they get older, but we grow with them. The times you enjoyed are just the best and worth the exhaustion!! You sure planned well and thus were able to really have fun! What a blessing these grandchildren are!!

  3. I need to write more down! Thanks for the reminder, Karen! Kids do say the cutest things.

  4. What lovely special children. I find I have enjoyed the 6-9 range the best. They can do things,think things and the hormones have not started raging yet! Thanks for sharing yours with the readership!

  5. Such great advice! I will certainly look further in the many Dollar stores popping up suddenly around here for fun ideas as I I babysit my 4 year old twins- Ben and Baylee (Bay) . He’s very into Paw Patrol and she is into anything princess.
    I just love the picture of your little guy holding onto your hand. So sweet.

  6. Oh yes…I have two granddaughters ages 5 and 1 and we love anything Princess! Your twins sound adorable, Paulette.

  7. I totally agree with the importance of spending time, not necessarily money. Our 5 grandchildren (ages 5-16) live in the Pacific NW, far from our Dallas home. They’ve been coming to the “GrandVacation” every year since they were very young and will be arriving next week for this year’s event. As we were talking to the 13, 14, and 16 year olds the other day and discussing what they would like to do when they’re here, each of them said…swim in your pool, play games with you, and just be in your house! Teenagers want to be with us old folks! Warmed our hearts even more than this Texas heat is warming our bodies!

  8. Loved reading your post today, Gigi! Boys rock! This is a great segue to your rock painting idea which I will incorporate it into my Mimi’s Summer Camp this week. I have two grandsons who live near Austin so I get to hold my summer camp every year over the course of the summer. The boys are 6 and 8 and I agree that it is so much easier and fun now because they are more independent. Of course, I do miss the days when putting them in the whirlpool tub with bubbles was super exciting for them! We have certain traditions that we have established through the years and one is that every night is movie night. Sometimes it is a challenge to find a good movie for them but recently we have introduced them to classic’s like Princess Bride and Pirates of the Caribbean because they are old enough to understand them.

    I also agree about cooking what they like as opposed to what we think they should like. I usually incorporate some kind of cooking lesson where they pick out what they want to make and prepare it. And I love to include culture in my camp sessions. This summer we are doing a compare and contrast of Mexican sweet bread-“pan dulce” because it is their favorite. We are visiting different Mexican bakeries around San Antonio and they charting how they compare.

    Thanks for sharing this great post, Pam!

  9. Cherish each moment this week, Sharon! Love pan dulce…yum!!! I am impressed that you make your own!

  10. We have a famous zoo here as well as a good children’s museum & I have found it’s less expensive for me to join for a year as a family rather than to pay individually when the grandkids come. Most zoos & museums have different membership programs & they are worth looking into. I also look for coupons especially at our special ice cream shops for when they come. I was pretty bummed I had not one grandchild here yesterday for a free slurpee at 7/11! They grow so fast! Enjoy!

  11. Mine said those exact words…just want to be in your house! And I agree…this is the summer to do that!

  12. I agree! I just paid for slurpees last week!
    We did the zoo the last time they were here and the heat exhaustion almost did us in and it was not near as high as it is now. That has become a fall item for me…or early spring!

  13. I am a most lucky Mamma because our five grandchildren live here in town so I used to see them often. After I retired from teaching, I picked up three of them after school daily and took two to their dance classes. Driving back and forth to dance almost daily, I tried to teach them scientific facts related to what we saw or discussed as well as names of plants we saw. They can now name many plants. I too cooked their supper meal so I definitely learned that homemade mac and cheese is not eaten. Since my Mr. B and I only had two boys, I had to learn how to deal with little girls including quickly putting their hair into those “ballet buns” before dance each day. They are all but grown now and have their own busy lives, but still want to learn how to cook my lasagna and spaghetti which are two of their favorites. I’m helping one who will be a freshman in college learn to cook some easy dishes.

  14. Lovely post. One of the things my son adored was a “night walk” with flashlights. It felt so mysterious and thrilling/a little forbidden. I agree that sometimes the kids like a few bucks to go to the Dollar Tree. They take a ton of time to choose, and seem to really enjoy that bit of responsibility. One of the grandkids here at our condo complex used his money to buy a gift for the grandparents. How sweet is that? Gives you hope for the world.

  15. This is a great idea, but since I was attacked in our neighborhood in March I have not been out in the neighborhood at night. But I love this idea and know they would love it…perhaps just in the backyard. They love flashlights! Thanks so much!

  16. What a lovely post! Though I am not a grandmother yet, your wonderful visit makes me very nostalgic for my summer visits to my grandparents back in the 1970’s in Ohio. As a Westerner, everything midwest seemed quite different and special, but most of all getting to spend six weeks each year with them was incredibly meaningful to me. I learned to fish, pick berries and make pie, catch fireflies, and enjoy fried chicken picnics and lake swimming. We always spent at least one week going on vacation, so got to see a lot of the midwest and points north and south that otherwise wouldn’t. They have of course been gone a long time now, but truly live on in my heart and memories as the best, sweetest g’ma and g’pa a girl could have had. 💗

  17. Pamela, you are the best Gigi ever! My grandkids are now in their twenties, but I love all of your tips and they actually brought back some very happy memories. You have a beautiful family – a very handsome son & adorable grandsons – and I love the photos. The rocks & paint reminded me of when ours were little and we gave them rectangular cake pans with a layer of baking soda in the bottom, along with little bottles of food coloring. They loved dropping the color on to the baking soda and making new colors by mixing them.

  18. What a fun week you had with your grandsons! You are so right about the food. While my granddaughters are grown now, they would spend evenings with us when they were small. If I had chicken nuggets & PBJ, all was well. I remember they could watch the same Scooby Doo movie that I bought for $2 over & over again. When we see them now, I enjoy talking with them about what they are doing & the things they are interested in.

  19. I agree, Becky…chicken nuggets and peanut butter will cover much!! Thanks for sharing…

  20. What brilliant ideas! For many summers, when our two Austin-based grands came to Colorado they loved joining the two nearby grands to play at our house as many days as possible. We used to buy four of the biggest cardboard boxes available from The Home Depot (since appliance boxes are no longer available!) and turn our living room into a box town. Three girls and one boy, the youngest (boy and girl) about six weeks apart. They’d design their windows and doors, overhangs to sit under in case of “rain” — and the youngest two always wanted their houses to be attached. They’re too big now, but what fun memories. I totally agree with you, Pamela!

  21. Beautiful article. I miss those years with my grandchildren so much. Mine are now 24, 22, 20 and 18. I have swim with them in our pool when we would almost turn blue. It was a rite of passage on the last day of school that they would spend the night and swim, no matter the water temp. They all loved Dollar Tree and Dollar General. Your grands are adorable. Enjoy while you can.

  22. Like their parents did…they grow so quickly! Time is precious! Thank you…

  23. Our grandkids (ages 4 and 8) live in Texas and we live in Southern California. We made scavenger hunts so they could explore our communities. We made one for things to see around our favorite lake, one for the beach and one for lights and decorations at Christmas time. We also did some geocaching, which you can do with an app on your phone. In the summertime, some theaters offer $1.00 admission to kids movies on certain weekdays, and we followed the movie with ice cream or popsicles. Chalk from Dollar Tree decorated our driveway and painting rocks were a hit with them as well!

  24. I just learned a good hint. Paint rocks with old nail polish. The brush is the right size and the polish goes on with a shine so no need to shellac. Also it can be pulled out of cupboard and quickly set up.

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