Some ways to manage on a budget in Boston:
Select a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) in your Children's benefits selections (medical $4,000 cap for 2008 and childcare $5,000 cap for 2008) can save you thousands of dollars annually.
If you have a credit card, call the company to request a lower interest rate. Make sure to pay at least the minimum payment on time, or you will lose the lower rate. The more you can pay off each month, the better, because interest is compounded. That is, the balance unpaid accrues interest and the interest also accrues interest.
You can review your own credit report (find out your credit rating) for free at AnnualCreditReport.com . Always be sure you have the correct URL before entering any personal information!
Shop at a wholesale club, such as BJ's or Costco - discounts are often available through Children's at Open Enrollment each November.
Trader Joe's offers delicious, nutritious, international, and gourmet fresh and packaged foods at a lower cost than many other retail supermarkets.
Shop end-of-season sales for clothing for the following year, especially for children's clothes. A good place to do this for children's clothes is The Children's Place.
Combine a store credit card (which often offers a discount for purchases) with coupons and store sales for even deeper discounts.
Resale shops, such as Goodwill Industries or Jax Liquidation Outlet , can offer like-new clothing at deep discounts.
Shop at yard sales - you can locate these via various search engines, such as Craig's List
Children's employee discounts and services - internal web page
Discount AMC movie tickets: $8
Setting up a budget - Boston Globe article (Dec. 2005)
Broke in Boston - book review - "A Guide to Living Cheap in the City"
Free Things to Do in Boston
If you would like to leave your everyday life behind for a few days and receive a glimpse of an old-fashioned New England culture, journey up the coast to Rockport. This tiny town was a favorite refuge of 19th century philosopher/sage Ralph Waldo Emerson and its healing powers were quite in evidence on a late summer day. Unlike most of the other North Shore cities and towns, Rockport is associated with its arts community and this identity becomes evident in the impromptu exhibitions and arts and crafts wares that pop up in local shops.
From the train station (Railroad Avenue), walk up Broadway where you will pass Victorian style bed and breakfasts, through Dock Square, to Bearskin Neck on the town harbor. A suitably rocky shoreline and viewpoint awaits you, with options for swimming or wading at Front and Back Beach, browsing the many gift shops and art galleries, or traveling further to Pigeon Cove. If the Bearskin Neck neighborhood does seem somewhat heavily "boutiqued," the original architecture is nicely preserved and its small scale network creates a comforting atmosphere. The local residents are gracious and friendly, providing directions when the intricate New England streets defy logic. While you can't converse about nature and life with Emerson, you can breathe in the same sea air.
For further information on Rockport, see Rockport.
This is part of a larger section of articles about activities in the Greater Boston Area, "Leisurely Learning," written by Jill Dobriner, Coordinator, Office of Faculty Development, and graciously shared with the Office of Fellowship Training. These can be viewed at Leisurely Learning.
Every Friday, Jazzman's Cafe at Boston Children's Hospital has a sale on its baked goods - buy one, get one free:
In the Karp lobby, cookies are on sale on Fridays, 4:30-5:30pm
In the 1 Autumn St. lobby, cookies are on sale on Fridays, 2:00-3:00pm
Also, Au Bon Pain has a "buy one, get one free" offer on baked goods every day from 10:00pm until 11:00pm.
Children's Museum and other discounts available in Boston (pdf file)
For more information, review the slides from the presentation "Living on a Budget" given by Fern Remedi-Brown.