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Thrifty G.O.A.T. - A Collaboration with FamilyMeans

We are thrilled to partner with FamilyMeans to bring you Thrifty G.O.A.T. - a mini video series that will bring you financial tips to keep more money in your pockets AND fun ideas in the St. Croix Valley that you can Get Out And Try on a budget.

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Week 5

FamilyMeans Thrifty Tip #5

Building up your savings can be hard. Eli shows you an easy way to build up your savings. Everybody wants to save, but not many people get around to it. An easy way to save is to use a rounding up App like Acorns. Every time you make a debit purchase, it'll round up your purchase to the nearest dollar and automatically stock that extra money into your savings account. There are many rounding up tools available. Find the rounding up tool that works for you and watch your money grow. 

Get Out And Try Thrifty Fun

This week, Katie talks about ways to stay healthy - which can look different for everyone. For some people, it may mean getting back to a fitness routine. There are gyms and fitness studios all around that offer free trials and punch card access to keep things affordable. 

Perhaps your fitness is dialed in and a healthier you may mean learning something new and exercising your brain. There are many classes and workshops to help keep your brain creative. 

Or maybe it's reminding yourself that you have a community outside of social media - and calling a friend to get together and then go out to enjoy an amazing meal together. was created to help you find those fun things to help you chase happy, healthy, adventure, the good goosebumps, the things that keep us smiling and laughing. Katie will continue to create content that reminds you to visit and hopefully you'll do just that. 

If you are a business looking to list your events on, CLICK HERE to learn how to get started. 

Recap - Eli's Tips #1-4

This week we are recapping Eli's first four tips to keep more money in your pocket. Stay tuned for next week when we bring you our 5th and final Thrifty G.O.A.T. video!

Week 4

FamilyMeans Thrifty Tip #4

Cardboard castles were cool as a kid. Cardboard towers as an adult (AKA stacked up delivery boxes) - NOT so cool. This could be a sign of impulse buying. 

The best way to stop impulse buying is to implement a waiting period. For any unexpected expense that exceeds $50 (or whatever you set your "waiting period threshold" to) - you'll give yourself a specific period of waiting time before completing the purchase. Some people wait 2 days, others may even wait up to 10 days. The idea is to give yourself some cooling off time to really think through whether or not you need the item or perhaps you'd like to remove it from your cart. Let your kids stick to playing with the cardboard castle, and you stick to buying what you need. 


waiting period (2)

Get Out And Try Thrifty Fun

Red Bird Music Store
Osceola, WI

Photo: Getoutandtry, INC

This week we checked out some thrifty shopping options that will keep us outside of that waiting period that Eli was talking about. Check out Red Bird Music Store in Osceola, WI. This is a great spot for any of the music lovers in your life. They have over 6,000 albums and over 200 guitars. PLUS! They have other instruments, t-shirts, patches, stickers - there is so much to look at! Don't forget to say hi to the owner, Bob Brace. He is quite the character and he will answer all of your music questions. 

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136 Vintage
St. Croix Falls, WI

Head North to St. Croix Falls, WI and check out 136 Vintage. They have a group of over 20 vendors in the shop - each one with their own specialty look. You'll find collectibles, antiques, home decor, vintage clothing, jewelry - the list goes on!


Dining Deals

In lieu of a regular dining deal, this week we're satisfying your sweet tooth! WHEN that sweet tooth hits, head over to the Schweet Stop in Baldwin, WI. This unique candy and craft soda shop has something for everyone. Nostalgic candy to the latest trends in candy - EVEN Ranch Dressing Soda and Sweet Corn Soda! Be sure to say hello to owner Jessica when you visit!


Week 3

FamilyMeans Thrifty Tip #3

Making a budget is great. Sticking to a budget can be difficult. Eli shows you how you can stay on track. is an app that helps you stay on track with your budget. Every time you swipe your card and make a purchase, it will automatically communicate with your bank to categorize that expense within your budget. This will help you know where you are at within your monthly budget and help you stick to your successful spending plan. Start with a plan and use to help you stay on track. 


Get Out And Try Thrifty Fun

Franconia Sculpture Park
Shafer, MN

Photo: Getoutandtry, INC

This week we checked out Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, MN. This is a 50-acre outdoor museum. Grounds are open year-round from 8 am - 8 pm. They have over 100 public sculptures that you can explore. Franconia also hosts events that you can find on


Photos: Getoutandtry, INC

Other great local art spots:
Arts House Gallery
River Falls, WI
Orange Dragon Art Gallery
Prescott, WI

Dining Deals


After all of that art fun, head over to Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse in Hudson, WI for a great meal! If you're visiting on a Wednesday, don't miss out on their Wing Wednesday!

Photo: Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse

Week 2

FamilyMeans Thrifty Tip #2

There are easy ways to make sure that you don't pay full price.

There are deals everywhere. Local fundraisers offer coupons to local establishments. Apps like PayPal Honey and Rakuten proactively find deals for you. Don't pay full price - make your money work harder for you. 


Get Out And Try Thrifty Fun

Lake Elmo Park Reserve
Lake Elmo, MN

Eli and Family (1)
Photo: Getoutandtry, INC

Eli was sent out on assignment to enjoy a fun beach day with his family. They chose Lake Elmo Park Reserve. When you visit this park, you'll need to purchase a Washington County Parks pass to access the beach. They offer both daily and annual park passes. 

This beach features a two-acre man-made pond that is filtered and chlorinated. They have restrooms onsite as well as a shaded pavilion. They also have ramp access to the water. Eli's family had a blast while they were there. 

Eli and Family
Photo: Eli Snyder

If you purchase the annual park pass, you'll gain access to other beaches throughout the Washington County Parks, including:

Point Douglas Beach
Hastings, MN

St. Croix Bluffs Beach
Hastings, MN

Square Lake Beach
Stillwater, MN

Big Marine Beach
Marine on St. Croix, MN

Dining Deals

Thursdays: Buy any large pizza for the price of a small.


After all of your beach time, you might not have enough time to prep and cook dinner. If it's a Thursday, head over to Willow River Saloon/Carbone's Pizzeria in Burkhardt, WI (right next to Hudson, WI). 

Photo: Willow River Saloon

Check out all of their dining deals and save while you support local biz!

Week 1

FamilyMeans Thrifty Tip #1 

How you choose to feed your family can be one of the biggest ways to blow up your budget.

SuperCook Recipe By Ingredients is a free zero-waste recipe generator that allows you to simply add ingredients that you already have SuperCook will provide hundreds of recipes that you can make. Get creative with your meal prep, stop tossing food, and start saving money. 

SuperCook App

Get Out And Try Thrifty Fun

Belwin Conservancy Bison Prairie & Observation Platform 
Afton, MN

Open from dawn until dusk - you can stop by the Bison Prairie & Observation Platform in Afton, MN. I met a nature photographer while there and he said the best time to visit is around dawn and around dusk - especially for pictures.

Belwin Conservancy has partnered with Northstar Bison since 2008 - bringing Bison in each May and departing around September/October. Belwin Conservancy Program Director, Susan Haugh talked about the Bison program on the Get Out And Try Podcast - CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast and learn more!

Belwin Overlook BLOG
Photo: Getoutandtry, INC

St. Croix River Crossing Loop Trail

Two states, two bridges, and a 4.7-mile workout! In our video, we started out in Houlton, WI; although you can start your trek at various spots on the trail. The first bridge we crossed is the historic Lift Bridge in Stillwater, MN. We made our way through downtown Stillwater and over to the new St. Croix Crossing bridge. 

The trail is open to pedestrians and bicycles. It is open from 8 a.m. - to dusk. If you park in Houlton, WI (where we parked), you'll want to grab a St. Croix County Park Pass. There are other great spots to park along the trail that are FREE, including:

Loop Trail
  Photo: Getoutandtry, INC

Loop Trail Map_202106281507366327
  Image: St. Croix County 

Dining Deals

Taco Thursday at P.D. Pappy's
PD Pappys

So maybe you can't get into the kitchen to try the SuperChef app... That's okay! There are dining deals out there to help keep more money in your pocket. After our bike ride around the Loop Trail, we hit up P.D. Pappy's in Stillwater, MN for Taco Thursday

Check out their daily dining deals and save while you support local biz!

Photo: Getoutandtry, INC

Thank you to our sponsors.

We are grateful for our sponsors that have come together in the spirit of the St. Croix Valley community to help make Thrifty G.O.A.T. possible. 


Working with Eli Snyder & FamilyMeans

Eli Snyder
Image: FamilyMeans

From the FamilyMeans website:

Eli Snyder joined FamilyMeans in July 2009 as a credit counselor, bringing his personal passion for budgeting and money management success to his clients. His prior experience as a mortgage broker, combined with his communications degree from University of Northwestern in Saint Paul, has benefited both FamilyMeans and its clients over the years. Eli works out of the Stillwater and Saint Paul locations. If you would like to build money management skills, improve your credit, and be excited about it as you learn…Eli is the counselor for you! 

In Fall 2019, Eli was named National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) Counselor of the Year. This award honors Eli's passion for financial counseling and education. In his tenure with FamilyMeans, Eli has helped over 1,275 families pay back over $30 million dollars of debt! 

In June 2021, Eli was promoted to the position of Financial Solutions Counselor Manager. He is excited to use his expertise to help guide staff in helping our clients find financial freedom.

FamilyMeans Financial Solutions