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How to Enjoy Sacramento on a Budget..Part 1?


Spend the day in Sacramento for $40 Family Challenge!
That was my “Great Idea” for our family to spend the afternoon in Sacramento and enjoy spending quality family time together-without going over our budget. There were 7 of us, so I said “Let’s eat lunch at home, and then with $40 (approx $5 each) let’s see what fun we can have without driving too far, and let’s see how we can try some new things in our own city. Plus-let’s take some fun pictures around our city and then we can go home when it is dinner time! Sound’s fun right?????” 
Everyone was like  “OK Mom! -then they said they wanted to get gelato, coffee, buy a souvenir, candy, comic books.-see the rainbow crosswalk..” so we ate lunch and left home…. This was going to be such a FUN day and I was so excited!!! 

Driving there (literally a 12 minute drive) My daughter remembers that she forgot her camera-she was taking the pictures..no big deal we have iphones keep going. Then my 13 year old son says-can I spend my $5 at KFC, I am hungry. I was like “Is KFC Downtown?? Is it new and exciting-and I told you to eat lunch-his response “Oh, I didn’t hear that” It’s OK, deep breath, let it go-this is going to be a FUN family day.

That did not last long AT ALL- when you see blog posts about families having fun and are all happy and loving each other..#1 It isn’t my family, #2 It takes like a million tries to get each picture right..and in most cases #3 Everyone hates you by the time the picture is taken-and you may have had to promise, candy, money, or a prize to get them to smile ONE more time. If that hasn’t happened to you-I am jealous. 


My husband wanted to try a new place to get coffee. He said ” I want to go to Insight Coffee”. First of all, this was not the area I wanted to go to, but whatever. Let’s go there first and then get to where we can walk around. He swore he knew where it was.. Then I had to use Waze to get there, then he was mad at the Waze app because he wasn’t following it, which made him mad at me…but we eventually got there..


My 9 year old son LOVED the sign that said “Hella Open” He thought it was so funny and wanted his picture taken with it. OK! FREE fun, funny picture, this is going to be a great day!!! Oh- and if you send your kids to the men’s bathroom-the sign that says you must wash your hands has been changed to the word “anus” and that made for another funny picture… 

My husband got his cold brew and we were on our way to our next adventure!

Insight Coffee 1901 8th Street. Sacramento. 


Next we went to HR Sports Cards and Collectibles
2231 10th Street

My boys like to look through the trading cards and find their favorite players or a special card. 
They also have a great selection of comic books. 

They went through the boxes of $.50 Comic Books and found some-CHEAP FUN- spent about 30 minutes in there and spend like $2!! So far so good…


After that I decided I wanted coffee too. We parked by Pachamama Coffee, and since I have never been there before, I got a cold brew coffee there-AND LOVED IT!!! Then we headed out walking!

As we were walking we passed by-

Pizzeria Urbano
1050 20th St, Sacramento, CA 95811

Thank God, they had HUGE pizza slices for $5! My son got a pizza slice, and 2 other kids split one and they were going to split a dessert later when they found a good place. So far so good..staying in the budget getting good pictures…


After the pizza these boys found a cornhole set to play with while the others ate-free entertainment, in the shade-I finished my coffee here. So nice…

My daughter went into “nektar” the juice place next to this, and it was $8.40 for a juice or a bowl-not in the budget… I may have gotten some attitude about this one, but I knew gelato was coming up and everyone would like that better…


This is where my dreams were dashed… all the fun I imagined started to disappear..

We walked on and saw FREETYLE Clothing Store- I have driven by here many times, and have always wanted to check it out. So we went in, the girls were looking through the clothes ad accessories and were really enjoying themselves. 
The boys..well-this is where it just started to go bad.. 
My 2 youngest boys 9 and 10, decided to get into a fight in the store and were running through and one of them decided to punch the other one and ended up punching me ( I still have no idea how this happened) He punched me in the hand, and all the bones made a loud popping noise and it hurt so BAD-so I went outside.
So- the picture that should be inserted next would be me outside sitting on the sidewalk, holding my hand and crying!!! Nobody took that picture though, they were all scared I was going to yell. I was trying really hard not to be mad and ruin the day. So I was like “I am just going to suck it up and keep going” 

Next stop-GELATO!! 

Gran Cafe Milan
1801 L St, Sacramento, CA 95811

Their gelato is wonderful and my son was VERY happy to get gelato!

After this I wanted to go around the Capitol, Downtown Commons and then end the day in Old Sac getting candy and just taking the most wonderful family/kid pictures EVER…..

It didn’t happen. My hand was swollen, my kids were complaining, and it seemed like I was torturing them by buying them gelato, pizza, and candy-so THEY WON. We got in the car after this and my husband started driving to the next spot as a few of the kids starting hitting and yelling at each other in the car..he said “Where to next??” I said “HOME” 

So, I really tried, had good intentions and this fantasy of how I thought the day was going to go….

Now YOU can maybe continue to enjoy Sacramento. There really are many ways to enjoy the city on a budget-bring your own food! Have a picnic, bring snacks to eat while you walk around.  Downtown is really shaded, so it isn’t as hot when you are walking around.

I know it is fun to have unlimited money to just do whatever, but you really can find different ways to enjoy the city you live in, or around you. There are MANY murals around the town that you can take great pictures in front of too! Pretend you are a tourist! My kids are all different ages, and although I have been to all these places SO many times, there are some that some kids have missed out on or do not remember and they actually enjoyed some of the places. 

Although this is not a complete post of “How to Enjoy Sacramento on a Budget” which was my original intention-I am sharing it anyways. Why? Because people need to know that real things happen to bloggers too! I am not perfect, my kids are not perfect, and not every idea is a great one. However, maybe this will inspire you to spend time with your family doing something on a budget, or enjoying your city-or realize you aren’t the only one that can never get your kids to stop fighting long enough to have a nice time.. 

I can say this- SACRAMENTO, although it isn’t San Francisco or a big tourist area, still has plenty to do-you may just have to be a little more creative if you have seen it all so many times!

So this could be my Part 1-and if I can get inspired again or decide that I am crazy enough to try again-I will continue this series!

Leave a comment if you have any favorite Sacramento spots, or if you have ever had a horrible time with your family!




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