One more week of school and I will have all 4 kids home for the summer. My two oldest have hit the age where the cost of fun is not fun anymore because we are paying full kid prices. Things like amusement parks, flying, eating out and resort stays have become a lot more expensive, so we’ve had to come up with ways to save money and have fun at the same time. Here are some ideas we’ve come up with;
1. Ice Cream Party
My oldest is turning 7 next month and we were debating whether or not to go all out for her birthday. Going all out for us is inviting more people than just family. To be totally honest we don’t have it like that right now and often have to remind our daughter that we will do something for her birthday but not the type of parties she has attended with her friends. Last year was a big hit when we had a BBQ outside with family and instead of doing cake, we did ice cream with every topping you could think of. It actually worked out cheaper this way. For one we had it in our backyard, so it was easy clean up and no cost for venue. Also, we kept it simple with the food — hotdogs, chips, veggie dish, grilled corn, water, lemonade and — everyone’s favorite — ice cream. Guests had fun making their own cones (or cups) and adding different toppings. Can we say ‘success’!
2. Day Trips
We are a family of six so hopping on and off a plane does not always work for us. But we find that going to places that are no more than 2 or 3 hours away is an adventure for us! We live in Portland, and have done trips to Seattle — which is only two hours away. We stay in a hotel for the night and tour the city the next day. Another big hit with our family is spending a night in a hotel that is no more than 5 or 10 miles away from us. You ask how is that fun? Well if the the hotel is a 3 star or better, has an indoor pool for winter months or an outdoor pool for the summer months, has a nearby store for snacks and comes with a free full buffet breakfast, this family is there!!!! I did a post about it on my blog here. Check it out here.
3. Keep a Cooler in the Car for Snacks
Going to fast food restaurants are a treat for my kiddies when on the road. But we try our best not to depend on fast food entirely when we are traveling. So we keep a cooler in the car. This has been a life saver and will be even moreso this summer. It’s good for water and juice, lunch meat to make quick sandwiches and even fruit. No quick drive by to McDonalds this summer!
4. Grow a Garden
Not only will this be a money saver, but a fun filled project for me and my family. I mean have you seen the price of produce lately? We eat a lot of fruit and veggies, especially in the summer months. When we saw how much our neighbors, a family of four, were growing right in their back yard, we knew that, as a family of six, this was something we definitely needed to attempt. There is nothing like eating produce grown right in your own yard.
5. Free Local Events
In my family, ‘free’ is our middle name. Lol, just kidding. But seriously there is no shame in seeking out free events — especially if they’d normally cost $12 or $15 a person! This summer we will be attending “Movies in the Park.” This event is really big out here in the Portland area and I’m sure if you check your area there may be a few around too. They play popular recent releases that would cost quite a bit for our family to go see in a theater. Sometimes these events give out free popcorn and do raffle prizes for extra fun. We also like to attend “Concerts in the Park” where local bands or dance crews come out and do performances in the park for FREE! Oh and don’t forget about your local library. There are always free events going on — especially during the summer months.
So in other words..TAKE ADVANTAGE of ANYTHING FREE! I believe we will have a great summer this year and will save a lot of money doing so. Your kiddies will just appreciate the fact that an effort was made to create fun and new adventures for them. It does not take money to have fun.