How do you fit fun family activities into a tight budget? Cass Bailey, blogger and mum-of-two at FrugalFamily.co.uk, has some clever money-saving ideas…
Cass Bailey is a blogger at The Diary of a Frugal Family – a happy mish-mash of family fun, money-saving tips and foodie ideas. Cass is a working mum with two children aged 14 and 11 and loves to share what the family gets up to.
We love a family board game night and try to have one at least once a month, although it's usually more often as we have so much fun every time. We bring all the board games in from the garage and take it in turns to choose what to play.
It's a great alternative to something like bowling, which costs around £20 - and that's without any of the drinks and snacks the kids will inevitably want!
A takeaway for us, as a family of four, used to cost at least £20, so we never used to bother all that often. Then we discovered we enjoyed homemade ‘fakeaways’ even more than takeaways.
We've tried all sorts, but homemade pizza is our favourite fakeaway, because we can each make our own just how we like it. What makes it even better for me is the fact it costs under a fiver for all of us!
Our two used to love going to the BMX circuit in Middlesbrough, where you can get two hours of fun on the ramps for £6 each. The only problem was that it was quite crowded and often the older kids monopolised the ramps.
Now we put the bikes on the back of the car and go to the nearby woods to ride as a family, where we have all the ramps Mother Nature provided to play on instead.
Places like the park and the beach can be so much more fun if you wrap up and explore in the winter. The beach especially is almost deserted when the sun's not shining, so we get wrapped up warm and go for a walk in all weathers.
Taking a big flask of hot chocolate keeps us snuggly and stops us spending £10 on hot chocolates at the beach café. The other seasons of the year are great, too, but there are always more crowds.
We're very lucky to have some great museums near to where we live, so we often pop along and explore them for free. Not only is it fun but you're helping the kids learn at the same time, which is always a good thing.
We take along snacks to help us resist the temptation of buying treats from the pretty little museum cafés, where you can easily spend £20 and more on a slice of cake and a cuppa for everyone.
If you have a tent, dust it off and have a cheap weekend somewhere for very little money. I'm not a huge camping fan but I go because the kids have so much fun. And with a pitch for the tent costing from just £10 a night, it’s an inexpensive break. Even the cheapest hotels usually cost five times that price (at the least) and camping is so much more fun when you're a child (so mine tell me).
You can't beat a baking day for fun with the kids - I still look back on the days I spent baking with my Mam and Nana as some of my happiest childhood memories. Add to that the fact you don't need to spend much at all to end up with a fridge full of goodies and you know you're on to a winner.
My two love trampolining but our local trampolining space costs £13 each for just one hour. We do have a trampoline of our own but apparently it's not as much fun as the trampoline park - or at least it wasn't until I covered it with water balloons last summer! The kids had so much fun and I saved £26 - even if it did take me half the day to fill all the water balloons.
Have you heard of a ‘bored jar’? It's filled with ideas for activities on separate pieces of paper and when the kids are bored, they go and pull one out to do. We have a family version which is filled with ideas for cheap things to do because half the time the challenge is finding something that doesn’t cost loads of money.
Have a back-up of thrifty ideas like the ones above in your family jar and you'll always have something to do!
The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to the subject matter but does not constitute expert financial advice specific to your own situation. All facts and figures were correct at time of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.