NECK & NECK

February 9, 2010

How to have fun with your kids on little money

The weekends are time the whole family can spend together, but everything is so expensive and there just doesn’t seem to be any money left over after the necessities are paid.
Finding less expensive outings may take more effort, expending more creativity and planning, but in the end, those efforts will most likely pay off by providing true quality outings with less money out of your pocket.

Here you will find some NECK & NECK tips!

MAKE A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT

If you can’t afford to spend any money, don’t! There are plenty of free activities in every community, every weekend and many week days. If you do have a little money to spend, your choices are virtually unlimited. Let your kids know that you will not be buying drinks, sweets or paying for extras. Involve them in the planning! You will be surprised how frugal children can be, when their input is requested.

LIST YOUR CHILD’S INTERESTS

Make a detailed list of all the things your kids are interested in. No interest is too small! If you have a child who loves the wheels on a little car, put that down on your list. Does you child like to watch you put on make-up? These are the basis for fantastic outings.

CHOOSE FROM YOUR CHILD’S INTERESTS, ACTIVITIES YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY

Remember, you will be going with your children. Finding something you have a genuine interest in, will make it a fun day for everyone, including you, and keep you from feeling burdened.

THINK ABOUT WAYS TO COMBINE INTERESTS WITH ACTIVITIES

FIND AN ACTIVITY

Go online and check your local newspaper, for community events and no-cost recreation. You’ll be surprised at how many wonderful things there are to do!
PARKS AND BEACHES have free concerts, celebrations, plays, cook-offs (especially in warm weather), and even when they don’t, a day at the park is always a nice outing. At the beach, try kite flying and sand castle festivals, watch volleyball and surfing and see a real whale.

HIGH, MIDDLE AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS hold fund raisers, have free sporting events, concerts and plays. It’s great fun to take older kids to a holiday concert at an elementary school. High school sports are usually free or low cost, and the athletic competition is exhilarating.

COLLEGES free art exhibits, and no-charge days for student plays. Kids can watch a first class performance at a dress rehearsal, with the gratitude of the student actors.

ART MUSEUMS have free ticket days, as do science and history museums. Some zoos have special days for close up and personal contact with the animals.

CHURCHS AND RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS welcome guests to free lectures, films, low cost fund raisers and picnics.

ENVIRONMENTAL CLUBS hold park and beach cleanups, and nature walks.

VISIT LOCAL STORES AND SHOPS

Do your kids like trains? Train stores allow kids to visit and watch miniature trains run. A perfect day might be to start at a train shop, and then take a ride on the local commuter train. Think about ways you can combine your child’s interests with community activities and local businesses. Dance schools, ice skating rinks, martial arts studios and bowling alleys often allow spectators to watch the pros practice. Imagine watching a hula class and then participating in a Hawaiian Festival! Combining activities based on interests creates days to remember.

SIMPLE VISITS FOR LITTLE ONES

 If you have a preschooler who like cars, why not take him/her to a auto show room, a tire shop, a garage, or a rim shop? Rim shops are especially interesting, with shiny chrome plates cut in geometric designs by real artists. Believe it or not, you’ll enjoy it too.

DRESS FOR THE WEATHER

 Call or go online and check the weather report. This is an essential step. In warm weather take extra water, in cold weather, warm jackets. Set out clothing that will respond to the weather and your kid’s needs. Remember shoes should be comfortable if your outing involves walking distances.

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