Guest post from Deanna of From this Kitchen Table
Some years, the budget doesn’t allow for even a short trip let alone the vacation you’ve always dreamed of taking your kids on.
It might be easy to feel mom guilt over not being able to give your kids that trip – but there’s no reason to!!!
Instead, focus on the areas you CAN have fun as a family… on a budget!
If your children are young like mine, you can easily find lots of ways to have fun without going anywhere. In fact, if you are excited about the awesome year you are going to have staying home, it will rub off on your kids. If you are down and upset about not going on vacation, that attitude will rub off on them too.
Here are four ways you can have fun with your family on a budget this year:
1. Enjoy the Little Things
Please, don’t let the little things pass over you. Life is made up of way more small, mundane moments than it is big, fancy, elaborate ones. Take the time to slow down and enjoy what the day to day brings.
- Celebrate small victories with your kids: make a big deal out of the first lost tooth, learning to ride a bike, finishing a list of books, memorizing school facts or Bible verses. Don’t forget you can celebrate family victories as well. When you pay off that debt or reach that savings goal, make a cake and have a little party.
- Go on lots of evening walks and bike rides.
- Start little traditions that don’t cost much: Saturday morning pancakes, celebration plate, last day of school ice cream, make up your own holiday, birthday streamers etc.
- Let your kids work along with you as you cook and do chores.
2. Watch for Free Local Events
Find where your local community (and surrounding areas) posts upcoming events! I don’t live in a large town, but since I’m always on the lookout for free events, we are often finding really affordable things to do as a family.
Some ideas for where to check for events:
- Local community Facebook groups
- Chamber of Commerce or your city’s Facebook page
- Local business pages
- Flyers at the library
- Talk to friends that have lived there longer than you
Twice a year, a children’s museum in a neighboring town has a “get in with a canned good donation day”.
One night, our local rodeo has family night and community appreciation night – kids get in free and there is a free BBQ supper.
Recently, a small local museum was celebrating their 10-year anniversary with free admission, giveaways, and refreshments.
You get the idea! I have a feeling you will be surprised how many freebie events you can find near you!
3. Watch for National Promotions
Our town is small enough we don’t have many of the places that do these things, but if you live in a larger area watch for events like:
- Cow Appreciation Day, every July at Chick-fil-A
- Talk Like a Pirate Day celebrated at Krispy Kreme
- Free admission days to state and national parks
- Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA
- Free Fishing Day
These are a few promotions I’ve seen over the years. If you live in a well populated area, I’m sure there are many other promotions to partake in.
4. Build Community
Having friends or extended family to do life with is a great way to have fun on a budget and can make those little moments more special.
If it’s been a long week with nothing going on and your kids are going stir crazy, being able to call someone up and plan a simple get together is a great way to make a memory. My kids love spending time with their friends, grandparents, uncles, and aunts.
Here are some ideas:
- Play dates at the park
- Inviting someone over for spaghetti or soup (both affordable and easy meals)
- An evening of dessert and water balloons with friends
- Meeting up with another family at the free museum day
All easy and cheap ways to excite your kids and have fun as a family.
If you are feeling stressed about not being able to have fun with your family because of financial restraints or goals, hopefully you are able to let that pressure go.
Instead, I encourage you to embrace the season you are in and to even look forward to celebrating and having fun doing all the little things you might otherwise have overlooked.
How do you stay in the loop on free events? What are your favorite budget-friendly ways to have fun as a family?
Deanna writes about real life homemaking on less at From this Kitchen Table. She’s passionate about helping moms learn how to embrace living on less and thrive right where they are. She’s married, has 3 young children, loves dark chocolate, reading, running, & cooking, and gets excited about saving money.