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Entries in frugal living (24)

Wednesday
Mar052014

Spring Guide 2014: Children's Clothing, Toy & Equipment Resales

Are you ready to stock up on some spring and summer clothes for your children and nab some great deals on toys and equipment, too? Well, then you're going to love this guide to the upcoming spring resale season!

Please follow the links provided to learn more about each resale's individual policies. Some are free to enter, others charge a small admission. Some of the events ban children, strollers, wagons or laundry baskets. Most sell items for half-price later in the day. And some are still looking for volunteers to help out -- volunteers get to shop the presale, usually held a day before the event is open to the general public. 

Before you head out, especially if you're a resale novice, you'll want to read our guest columnist Edith Tarter's tips for making the most of these types of events.

Know of a resale we don't have listed here? Add it in the comments section. Happy shopping!

MARCH

St. Pius X School Children's Clothing, Equipment and Toy Resale: Friday, May 7, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to noon at the school's Social Center/Gym, located at 601 S. Westmore (Corenr of Madison Street/ Westmore-Meyers Road) in Lombard. 

Western Avenue School Semi-Annual Clothing Sale: Friday, March 7, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, March 8, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the school, located at 1500 Western Avenue in Geneva. 

Step by Step Childhood Enrichment PTA Spring ResaleSaturday, March 8, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then half-price from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the DuPage County Fairgrounds Building 4, 2015 W. Manchester Road in Wheaton.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan292014

Winter Guide 2014: Visiting a Suburban Museum or Zoo for Free

Last week, we brought you an updated "Visiting a Chicago Museum for Free” post. But we can't forget the 'burbs! While nearly every major Chicago museum offers “community free days,” that is more rare among suburban institutions, so the list below is a bit less definitive than the Chicago one.

Please make sure to check the museum’s website, or give the museum a call, before your visit to make sure nothing has changed since this list was compiled. And if you know of a spot that should be on here, please let us know!

Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st Street, Brookfield. 708-688-8000.  Admission to the Hamill Family Play Zoo is free through Feb. 28, 2014. but you still must pay general admission and a $10 parking fee at the zoo. Currently for 2014, the Brookfield Zoo had free admission on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 27, only during regular zoo hours. 

Cosley Zoo, 1356 North Gary Avenue, Wheaton. 630-665-5534. It caused a bit of a stir in 2010 when this formerly free zoo (part of the Wheaton Park District) started charging admission. Residents of the Wheaton Park District are still free. Otherwise, adults pay $3, but children up to age 17 are free. 

The 'summer kitchen' at Kline Creek Farm, which is always free to visit. Photo by Tara Burghart. 

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Thursday
Jan162014

Winter Guide 2014: Visit a Chicago Museum for Free

With this bitterly cold winter we're having, a day spent inside one of Chicago's world-class museums sounds like a great option. But visiting these museums -- especially with a few kids in tow -- can get pricey.

Many Chicago museums offer community free days or regular days during a month when visitors get in free. Note that these days are often quite popular, so you might be fighting some crowds. And also make sure to check the museum’s website, or give the museum a call, before your visit to make sure nothing has changed since this guide was compiled. 

Here's a list of the published discount dates for Chicago sites in the winter of 2014, and for some spots, the whole year:

The Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. 312-922-7827. Free general admission for Illinois residents in 2014: Jan. 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29. More updates to be posted soon under "special offers" on the home page.  

Museum of Science & Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. 773-684-1414. Free general admission for Illinois residents in 2014 on: Jan. 17, 20-24, 27-31; Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; March 10; May 5; June 1-6; September 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, 29; Oct. 6-7; Nov. 3, Dec. 8. The museum is also free for all children ages 3-11 on every day in February 2014. More details here!

Admission to the Chicago Children's Museum is free on the first Sunday of every month and on Thursday evenings starting at 5 p.m. Photo by naydeeyah on Flickr.

Shedd Aquarium, 1200 South Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s Museum Campus. 312-399-2438. Free general admission for Illinois residents in 2014 on the following dates: Jan. 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28; Feb. 3, 4, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 24 and 25. More dates are likely to be posted soon.

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Wednesday
Jan082014

Winter Guide 2014: Visiting Brookfield Zoo (and its Indoor Attractions) on the Cheap

Editor's Note: This post first ran in January 2012, but it is applicable yet again: The Hamill Family Play Zoo is free from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, and general admission to the zoo is free on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from Jan. 2 through Feb. 27, 2014. I've also updated the dates, links and the fees in the below post.

On a day when the thermometer never climbed above 19 degrees, my family had a wonderful time at Brookfield Zoo – and it only cost us $10.

Here’s how we did it: General admission to Brookfield Zoo is free on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from Jan. 1, 2014, through Feb. 28, 2014. And then we spent most of our time indoors, at the Hamill Family Play Zoo. Admission to the play zoo usually costs a couple extra dollars to visit on top of general admission, but it is free to enter every day from  Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, 2014.

So all we ended up paying was the $10 parking fee – we parked at the South Gate, just about a five-minute walk away from the Hamill Family Play Zoo. Read on for more info about the play zoo, which is also included in the Go West Indoor Play Guide, as well as recommendations for enjoying a cold day at the rest of the zoo.

The Hamill Family Play Zoo has an area where kids can pretend to be the zoo director. Photo by Tara Burghart.Name: The Hamill Family Play Zoo, an exhibit at Brookfield Zoo.

Location: Brookfield Zoo is located at First Avenue, between Ogden and 31st Street in Brookfield. For parking, the South Lot is very close to the family play zoo. This page has detailed directions and maps for how to reach Brookfield Zoo, including coordinates and an address for your GPS.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep222013

Fall Guide 2013: Visit a Chicago Museum for Free

With cooler weather on the way, a day spent inside one of Chicago's world-class museums sounds like a great option. But visiting these museums -- especially with a few kids in tow -- can get pricey.

Checking out a Museum Adventure Pass from your local library is one option. Sometimes it makes the most sense to become a member, especially if it's a place you'll visit more than once in a year. And if you plan to visit a couple of museums in a short time span, you'll want to look into purchasing the CityPass or the Go Chicago Card.

But many Chicago museums also offer community free days or regular days during a month when visitors get in free. Note that these days are often quite popular, so you might be fighting some crowds. And also make sure to check the museum’s website, or give the museum a call, before your visit to make sure nothing has changed since this guide was compiled. 

Here's a list of the published discount dates for Chicago sites in fall of 2013:

The Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. 312-922-7827. Free general admission for Illinois residents: Sept. 24 and 25. More updates to be posted soon under "special offers" on the home page.  

Museum of Science & Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. 773-684-1414. Free general admission for Illinois residents on: Sept. 23-27, Sept. 30, Oct. 1-2, Nov. 4 and Dec. 9. 

Shedd Aquarium, 1200 South Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s Museum Campus. 312-399-2438. Free general admission for Illinois residents on the following dates: Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7, Oct. 14, Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Nov. 4, Nov. 11, Nov. 18, Nov. 25, Dec. 2, Dec. 9, Dec. 16, Dec. 23, Dec. 30.

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue in Chicago. 312-280-2660. Admission is free for Illinois residents on Tuesdays year round. 

Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street in Chicago. 312-642-4600. Free general admission for Illinois residents on all Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in September, Oct. 1-3, and Oct. 8-10.

The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. 312-443-3600. The Art Institute is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Children under 14 are always free except during group visits or student tours.

The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. 312-922-9410. Free basic admission for Illinois residents on Sept. 24-25. More dates likely to be posted soon. 

Chicago Children’s Museum, 700 East Grand Avenue on Navy Pier in Chicago.  312-527-1000. Free for all visitors every Thursday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and free for all children 15 and under on the first Sunday of every month. Here's a coupon for $1 off each admission, up to four per family.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive in Chicago. 773-755-5100. Thursdays are "suggested donation days" for Illinois residents.

DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place in Chicago. 773-947-0600. Admission is free to all on each Sunday of the year.