Monday, 5 November 2012
The family budget around here is always pretty tight, and never more so than at this time of year when we have birthdays, Christmas, and an MOT to pay for! That doesn't mean, though, that we don't have any fun as a family, it just means that we need to cultivate a taste for frugal pleasures.
My almost teenage daughter always complains when I suggest a games night, but only because she feels like she should. We have a few board games that we really enjoy, like scrabble, UNO extreme and backgammon. Playing those games is a lovely way to pass an evening, but the real bonus is the time it gives us to spend together as a family.
Watching a movie (preferably a Christmas movie!) is something we can do together that costs us nothing. We have collected a number of DVDs over the years, and sometimes we borrow films from a friend. We have used Lovefilm before now, and found this to be a fairly frugal way of seeing lots of different films. You can get some good deals, especially if you are a brand new customer. We cancelled our subscription after a few months, because we found that in the summer we didn't watch as many films. When the weather is good and the evenings are sunny, we are more likely to be out and about. Movie nights seem much more tempting in the winter, I find.
As a family, we are pretty sociable, and love spending time with friends, but too many meals out, or even trips to the coffee shop, are not possible in our budget. Inviting people to our home is much less expensive, even with the cost of feeding extra mouths! I enjoy cooking, but I don't go in for fancy, dinner party style meals. A nice, tasty, family meal is always well received, especially if the dessert is good! Of course, a pleasant side effect of having people over for meals is that they often invite us to their homes, too!
We have two dogs, so obviously walking them is a feature of everyday, whatever the weather. But on bright, cold days there is nothing better than bundling up in coats and scarves and going off for a walk together as a family. This costs nothing, and it is good for us!
Making Christmas cards, decorations, and wrapping gifts is something that my daughter and I enjoy doing together. We are not particularly gifted artistically, but we enjoy the effort at least!
None of the suggestions above are particularly original, but sometimes simple things like that can be forgotten about. There are plenty of people trying to convince us that the only way a family can have fun together is by visiting a theme park or event, or by buying an expensive games system, or by dining out...but those people are mostly out to make money!