Category Archives: Activities

How to Stop Overspending at Target

You’re at Target. You only need shampoo and toothpaste.

But then you feel the gravitational pull of the Dollar Spot. Look at all those adorable, unnecessary knickknacks! You grab a few goodies for the kids and keep moving.

Then you see a gorgeous green scarf up ahead. You steer forward to take a peek. Just as you suspected, it looks perfect over your light gray pea coat. Plus, accessories are 15% off right now!

In the cart it goes.

Maybe you’ll just glance at the jewelry while you’re here . . . Any of this sounding familiar?

Name Your Dollars

Target knows their customers. And they know it’s hard to pass up a bargain—especially a cute bargain.

So how do you stop your impulse shopping and actually spend less at this mega chain?

As simple as it sounds, you must make a budget. That means give every dollar a name.

Here’s how it works: At the beginning of each month, sit down with your spouse and create a spending plan for everything from gasoline to eating out. If you want some new clothes, that’s okay, just work them into your budgeting categories ahead of time.

Once you’ve spent every dollar on paper,then you can start spending the real stuff (we like to use cash). Just don’t go over what you’ve allocated!

Related: Learn more about making a zero-based budget

Watch Out for Sales

Easier said than done, right? Target is, after all, brilliant when it comes to sales.

They offer racks upon racks of discounted clothing, reduced-price housewares at the end of every aisle, and a customizable Cartwheel app, which offers rotating deals on everything in the store you already love.

But how much is all this “saving” really costing you? Math time, people.

If you get 25% off a decorative pillow that you never intended to buy, you’re still paying 75% more than you would have! That’s called spending, not saving.

Avoid these shopping traps by making a list before you go. Then practice some self-discipline once you’re there. If an on-sale item isn’t on your list, don’t put it in your cart—Cartwheel or not.

Delay Gratification

If you’re having trouble sticking to your new budget and shopping list, use your psychic abilities. Look into the future and imagine how you’ll be using this “must-have” item a month from now.

Will your kids still be playing with that cheap paddle ball game? Will that owl statue actually fit on your fireplace? Or will those fake leather heels start rubbing blisters on your feet?

Nine times out of 10, the answer will be to put it back. But what if you still want it?Then you wait.

Work it into next month’s budget (and next month’s list) and revisit your feelings in 30 days. If you still love it, buy it without the guilt.

Related: 2 Words That Will Change the Way You Shop

Make It Work

A budget isn’t a bad thing. When done right, it actually gives you permission to buy what you want. So before you slip out to Target the next time, prepare yourself for the temptations ahead.

And if you happen to leave the store with more than you bargained for, take it back. That’s what receipts are for.

Need help making a budget? Check out Dave’s latest budgeting tools and forms.

(Courtesy of Dave Ramsey, “Top 6 Life–Changing Articles of 2015” http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-stop-overspending-target?ictid=CJFMH207)

Elk Grove Accepts the Cool California Challenge

Joins City-to-City Competition to Reduce Energy Consumption
Joins City-to-City Competition to Reduce Energy Consumption

Elk Grove, CA – Help our hometown earn new bragging rights and save energy by registering to participate in the CoolCalifornia Challenge.

Elk Grove could be California’s coolest city this year. It is one of 22 cities participating in the 2015-16 CoolCalifornia Challenge, a city-to-city competition encouraging residents and communities to work together to achieve California’s energy reduction and climate change goals. Other participating cities includeClaremont, San Mateo, Buellton, Indio, Burlingame, Long Beach, San Carlos, Lynwood, Martinez, South Pasadena, Redwood City, Huntington Beach, San Pablo, Benicia, Corte Madera, Mill Valley, Sausalito, El Cerrito, Fairfax, Larkspur, and Richmond. The CoolCalifornia Challenge runs through March 30, 2016.

The Challenge, organized by Energy Upgrade California, engages households in participating cities throughout the state to reduce their energy and water use at home as well as reduce their transportation emissions.

Help Elk Grove earn the title of “Coolest California City” and a portion of the $150,000 in prize money to support local sustainability efforts.  You can join the Challenge by following these 3 simple steps:

  1. Register at www.CAChallenge.org; and
  2. Create a MyEnergyUpgrade plan; and
  3. Log your energy use each month during the Challenge (electricity, natural gas, vehicle gasoline) and share energy, transportation and water conservation efforts and activities to gain points for our city.

The city with the highest number of total points by March 30, 2016 will be crowned the winner. Participants can earn points, tracked through online software, if their home or vehicle energy use is below the baseline average in their city. Extra points are earned by participants that re-set their “personal best” for home energy and vehicle fuel consumption from a previous month. And bonus points are earned by signing up for the Challenge, filling out a MyEnergyUpgrade plan, uploading a photo, inviting friends to join the Challenge, sharing energy and water saving tips on social media pages, and committing to do an energy and water saving action and writing a review of that action.

Register today at www.CAChallenge.org. For more information on the City’s participation in the CoolCalifornia Challenge contact Mona Schmidt at (916) 478-3633 or mschmidt@elkgrovecity.org.

Haystacks, Mazes, and Scarecrows… Oh My! Pumpkin Patch Time!

pumpkin patch(Article courtesy of “Family Fun In Sacramento“, by )

It’s that time of year again…when the ghosts and goblins come out of hiding and everyone is sipping on their pumpkin spiced lattes. October is my favorite month and our family absolutely loves this time of year- the chill in the air, the leaves changing color, the caramel apples and the pumpkins galore! Visiting new pumpkin patches and checking out the scarecrows, decorations, hay stacks, mazes and gourds is always a treat. If you are searching for a place to take the kids for some fall fun, check out this list of local pumpkin patches and try to hit up one or a couple of them for some cheap family entertainment.

Dave’s Pumpkin Patch– 3010 Burrows Ave, West Sacramento
Open September 26- October 31
Hours: Sun-Thurs: 10am- dusk, Fri-Sat: 10am-9pm
*Zip line, Jumping Pillow, Pumpkin Princess Castle, Corn Boxes, Hay Rides, Pony Rides, Hay Maze, Corn Maze General Admission $7 Monday-Friday. $12 Saturday and Sunday. Haunted Corn Maze $15 General Admission and $25 VIP

The Pumpkin Farm– 7736 Old Auburn Blvd. Citrus Heights
Opening October 2-31
Hours: 9am-6pm (Closed Mondays)
*Haunted Barn, Farm Zoo, Hay rides, Tower Slides, Corn Maze, Train Ride, Go-Kart Trains, Jumping Castle
Kids Farm Pass $10, Adult Farm Pass $8.

Bastiao Farms Goblin Gardens– 3845 El Centro Rd, Sacramento/Natomas
Opening October 1-31
Hours: 10am-7pm 7 days a week **Closed on Oct 3 and Oct 6
*Corn Maze, Hay Bale Pyramid, Hay Maze, Slides, Hayrides, Toddler Pedal Car Track, Sunflower Pit, Corn Canon
Admission is $7 (Kids 2 and under are free).

Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm– 1415 Pumpkin Lane, Wheatland
Open September 19- November 1
Hours: 9am-7pm weekdays,  9am-8pm weekends
*Hay Rides, Train rides, Coyote Mountain, Pig Races, Play areas, Petting Zoo
Admission is free, Parking is Free during the week and on the weekends it’s $10-15.
Additional activities have a small fee.

Fog Willow– 11011 Cecatra Drive, Wilton
Open October 1-31
Hours: Monday- Friday; 11:30-6pm Saturday and Sunday; 9:30am-6pm
*Petting Zoo, Adventure Course, Hay Rides, BBQ
Admission is $4 for persons age 4 and older.

Roemer Pumpkin Patch– 6851 Hedge Avenue, Sacramento
Open through October 31
Hours: Tuesday- Friday 2pm-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm
* Corn Maze, Hay Rides, Hay Maze

Uncle Ray’s Pumpkin Patch19376 Old River Rd, West Sacramento
Open October 1-31
Open Daily 10am-6pm
*Tractor Rides, Hay Maze, Corn Maze
Free Admission

Cool Patch Pumpkins 6585 Milk Farm Rd, Dixon
Open through October 31
Open Daily 9am-8pm
*Corn Maze, Kid Zone, Scarecrow Contest, Pedal Track
Free Admission, small fee for activities.

I hope this helps you out as a little guide for some of our local pumpkin patches. This isn’t a complete list- but, hopefully enough to get you started and on your search for the “Great Pumpkin”!