We just got back from a fun week in St Louis after attending FinCon. I loved meeting up with writers from my favorite personal finance blogs and getting to meet some new ones. Like my previous work trips, my husband and baby girl came along for the ride. Neither one of us had really been to St Louis so we saw this as a chance to locate favorite places to eat, drink, and have fun.
While the conference gave us plenty of opportunities to hang downtown with fellow attendees, we also wanted to explore some spots as a family. We had fun checking our the Gateway Arch Thursday morning. If you haven’t been there, you should definitely go! It’s $10 each to go to take the tram to the top, but it was worth it. The views were incredible (see below for my attempt at capturing it).
Besides getting pictures on the Arch we also made our way around the Museum of Westward Expansion which is free. You can see the weapons, tools, and transportation methods used to expand the nation’s territory. Getting to the Arch was simple as there were bus stops and a light rail station nearby.
We also got to meet some new people during FINCON while going on a beer tour through downtown and drank at local brewing spots like Schlafly (loved their pumpkin ale!) and Alpha Brewing (red ale was my favorite).
After we said good-bye to new and old buddies from the conference, we spent half of Sunday over in Forest Park. In case you’re not familiar with it, Forest Park is THE park in St. Louis, with over 1,300 acres that includes:
We hung out at the Zoo and it was fantastic! Admission was free (some special attractions charge a small fee) and there were plenty of animals to see. The zoo is divided roughly into six areas including Red Rocks, River’s Edge and The Wilds. Our baby girl tired herself out, there was simply too much to and appreciate in one day. With just having to pay for our lunch there and metro-cards for travel, it was a fantastic way to enjoy St. Louis without spending a ton of money.
Speaking of frugally enjoying St. Louis, I had the pleasure of discovering the voice behind St. Louis on the Cheap! When I told her we wanted to check out some local spots to eat at, she had a list of eateries and neighborhoods to explore. With our limited time, we couldn’t use all her suggestions, so I’m sharing them here so you can hopefully try them out next time you’re in St. Louis.
King and I: 3157 S Grand Ave, St Louis, MO 63118 (Thai Food)
Blueberry Hill: 6504 Delmar Blvd, St Louis, MO 63130 (Burgers and Music)
The Hill: A neighborhood that borders Forest Park with numerous Italian restaurants including Rigazzi’s, Lorenzo’s, and Adriana’s.
Soulard: A historic French neighborhood south of The Arch near the Mississippi river that is home to Bogart’s Smoke House, 1860’s, and one of the more popular farmer’s markets in the area.
If you been to these places or know of some delicious eateries, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thoughts on Visit St. Louis
We had a great time last week and getting learn our way around St. Louis. If you live in the area or have the chance to stay in town, please check out St. Louis on the Cheap to find some great deals.
One reason I liked when friends had gift registries for their weddings and baby showers is that I know that I’m getting something that they really want and/or would need. I especially appreciate this as I’m cleaning up the house and going through all of our rooms and closets, sorting everything that we seemed to have accumulated over the years.
My hope is to plan my gifts in a way that allow me to give my loved ones something thoughtful (while staying within my budget).
Saving Up for Gifts
While I’ve given gifts spontaneously (they’re fun), some of my favorite ones are the planned gifts where I found JUST THE RIGHT gift for my loved one. Some having some money saved up just for gifts has given me opportunities to pick presents up without stressing over.
Every once in awhile a friend or my family will ask me what I want and when I’m put on the spot I draw a blank. I also hate when I’m looking for a gift for someone and I know they’ve mentioned at some point something that caught their eye and for the life of me, I can’t remember it.
I found a simple and handy solution for both problems – creating gift sheets. I have a document on my Google Drive to handle both situations. Having it online allows me to check it where I go.
Another option is pinning on pinterest, it’s quick and easy to set up a board just for gifts. I prefer using a spreadsheet because I also make notes on prices to make sure I get a good deal. Even with planning, I still have a budget that I have to keep with.
Thoughts on Planning for Gifts
I like to hear from you about how your save for gifts. How organized are you when shopping for gifts? What gifts do you like to receive?