1. Get Outside
Getting out into the fresh air almost automatically puts a smile on everyone’s face. And guess what - nature is free. Walk to the park and play a game of Frisbee, football, or cricket. Head to the beach or pool and splash around. Take a nature hike or explore a new outdoor area in your community. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it.
2. Make a List
Make a list of the things that you want to do and can do on the weekends. This way, when you’re stumped for ideas you can simply turn to your list and make a choice.
3. Put It on the Calendar
Many museums, zoos, and other community facilities offer discount days, free days, and special events. Make a list of these and put them on your calendar. Then when you’re trying to decide what to do this weekend you can see all of the possibilities and take advantage of local events.
4. Fairs, Fetes and Festivals
Most fairs, fetes and festivals are free to attend and they can be a lot of fun. Add them to your calendar and choose one or two to attend. Set a budget in advance and pack your lunch so you stay on budget. It’s easy to spend a fortune on food and snacks. Find the best of the fairs, fetes and festivals by asking the people you know. They will be able to recommend the best school fete and the best retirement village or church fair and the very best music and historic festivals for you to enjoy.
5. Take Advantage of Short-Term Travel Packages
One of the best ways to see the world on a budget is to have an open schedule and open-minded approach to where you go. If you want to get away for a long weekend, visit the discount travel broker websites and review the last-minute packages or tune in to the TV travel shows. You can often save more than 50% on a trip and the spontaneity is fun. You don't even have to leave town. Be a tourist in your own town and see the sights like a visitor, going to the tourist information office and finding out all the free sights and places to visit, then go and enjoy them.
6. Imaginative Projects
What do your children love to do? Do they enjoy building things? Do they like putting on shows? Let their imaginations run free and spend a weekend with a creative project. Put on a play in the back yard and film it. Build a playhouse and paint it. If your children love volcanoes then have a science fair. If they love to cook then stage your very own Cupcake Wars in your kitchen.
7. Try Something New
Have each family member make a list of something they want to learn or do this summer. Give them a few examples so they don’t write down things like “Go to Paris” or “Ride a camel.” Children can get carried away. Take a look at their list and then create a plan to address one item on each person’s list. You may find that you’re rock climbing one weekend and shopping for vintage clothing the next. Check your local paper.
Cheapskater Lee found a "help wanted" ad in her local paper that was fun, educational and helping the local wildlife. She took her partner and children and they put together and painted little houses for an endangered possum native to their area. Then they went to the park and helped put them into the trees.
All work and no play makes weekends dull and the work week even harder. Teach your children to take time away from the television and computer, and the shopping centre, to have relax and just have fun. And enjoy your family time together – it’s precious.
From Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing