Fun Ways to Live Frugally as a Family

It’s not often that you see the words ‘fun’ and ‘frugal’ in a single sentence. Perhaps this is because frugality connotes unexciting concepts like compromise, penny-pinching and settling for second-best. It means cheap knock-off, shoddy craftsmanship, bland flavors, or boring colors. It inspires pejorative terms like Scrooge, miser or cheapskate.

Most parents have bought into the misconception that fun activities are directly proportional to having a sky’s-the-limit budget: the more money burned, the more fun to be had!

This doesn’t always have to be the case. Not everyone can afford to go on a Caribbean cruise or a Disney World tour without giving up something valuable, like your mortgage or the kid’s college fund. But with a bit of imagination, a touch of resourcefulness, and some careful planning, you don’t have to dip into your retirement fund to get everyone in the family to have a fun day together.

Here are five and frugal ways to spend a great day with the whole family.

1) Play a team sport. Throw a frisbee around. Or use a ball instead. Ride the bikes that have been gathering dust at the garage. Bring out your running shoes. Whatever sport you choose to play together, there’s bound to be one that will have everyone moving around and enjoying each other’s company. Instead of whiling away your time at the mall, playing a family sport engages everyone and promotes some wholesome, competitive and enjoyable family interaction. It also prevents obesity, which is always a welcome plus to an already fun-filled activity.

2) Create Homemade Treats. Even if you can’t boil an egg to save your life, there are many sweet recipes out there that are so easy to make, even a child can safely whip them up on their own. So why not enlist your five year old’s help to mold the cookie dough or mix the dry ingredients while leaving the older ones to do the trickier job of pre-heating the oven? It is so much cheaper and a lot more rewarding to create your own treats than to just go out to the store and buy them. You foster a sense of ownership, collaboration, and team work while your at it, too.

3) Have a Picnic. What’s a picnic without a park? Spending the day away from the traffic and congestion of the Metro is a treat in itself. There are many nearby open spaces where the whole family could lay their blanket and enjoy the fresh air. Resist the temptation to turn this into just another family outing with unpalatable food and plastic utensils. Turn it into an event worth looking forward to by bringing beautiful cutlery, nice china, real cloth napkins, and homemade gourmet-worthy food. Burn off all that yummy food by playing a team sport (see no. 1)

4) Commune with Nature. Living in a concrete jungle can take a toll on the family’s well being. There’s nothing like seeing an unusual looking plant or wild creature or domesticated animal to ignite the child-like wonder adults seem to lose in the process of growing up. Children will be pleased to see real live flora and fauna instead of just reading about it or watching their cartoon versions on TV. There’s no need to spend an arm and a leg to see a mere representation of the real thing in Disney’s Animal Kingdom anymore. Visit the local zoo. Go to a nearby farm. Spend a day at the park.

5) Swim at the Local Public Pool. Everybody’s headed to the beach to escape summer’s sweltering heat. Everybody wants to take a dip in the water to cool off. But there’s no need to take a trip out of town for the whole family to enjoy some time in the water. If you live in a condo with a pool, why not take advantage of that free amenity? If you don’t have a pool at home, go to your local YMCA, or use any of the public pools nearby. For a small fee, you get to use the pool the whole day and stay there until your fingers and toes turn into prunes.

With a little creativity, there’s no need to break the bank to have a fun-filled day with the family. Before you know it, you’d be pleasantly surprised to find more than enough cash stashed away to finally buy the <insert big-ticket item of choice HERE> you’ve been forever eyeing at the mall.


Growing Up Madison said...

Those really are fun and frugal ways. Not much money spent at all. Even a trip to the local playground can be fun and frugal as well. :)

angie brooks said...

Well written and well said... I swear we have more fun on our 'budget adventures' than the big trips. Super cute blog - thanks for visiting!

Mira Delos Reyes said...

Thank you for dropping by, Angie!

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