We are currently on Day 5 of our spending freeze.
I was nervous about going into the weekend, because it’s REALLY easy to spend money on the weekend. Fries from Chick-Fil-A for the boys, Starbucks for mommy and daddy, a pretzel at the mall, a stop here, a stop there. It all adds up. However, spending is not in the budget his week.
But fun can STILL be had on the weekend without spending a penny. And I have the proof.
I wanted to do something that was outside of our normal Saturday routine and the thought popped into my head – why not the library? Our local library has an amazing children’s section and is very toddler-friendly. We went over the summer sometimes for the library reading time
which we abandoned because it became toddler chaos time. I knew that Micah would do better with this trip because he can stay quiet and is pretty relaxed. Josiah is quite the opposite so my husband and I decided to do our own things with each boy for the time being. Off to the library I went with Micah. WE HAD A BLAST! Micah loved exploring the library, reading books with me, and was amazing even when I took super long browsing in the adults section. He plopped himself down next to me and just hung out. When he was bored, he started to race up and down the aisle. I let him! He was quiet, having fun, and wasn’t bothering anyone. On top of that, it was “Bring Your Child to the Library Day” so we ended up with a free book to keep! After over an hour, we left the library and headed home in time for naptime. It was an awesome morning!
Josiah woke up from his nap first and since he didn’t come up with us (he went upstairs to the place we keep our instruments and was able to jam out!) I read him the books we picked out for him and Micah!
When Micah woke up, we decided to take the boys to the park! It’s not far from our house and despite the fact that it was cold today, we thought it would be good to get them out of the house. We had such a good time, even if it was cold.
So while I am, in fact, quite the opposite of an expert in anything, these are the things we like to do when we don’t want to spend money and it’s cold.
1. We visit the local library.
Just going to the library today reminded me of how much of a treasure it is and it’s FREE. You can rent movies, take out books, go to the library and read books without taking them out at all (if you just don’t want to), sign your toddlers up for reading programs or activities, and even put them on computers. Each library is different, so find out what your local library offers. Our library offers online renewal, so this means if I want to keep the books we borrowed longer I can do it easily.
2. We go to our local park.
I know for the majority of us it’s pretty cold! Yet, most toddlers need that outside time every day or at least a few times a week. I know my boys are absolutely no exception to that. They love it and they are able to release their energy. In addition, it’s an excellent sensory experience as well. We only stayed out for thirty to forty minutes, but we felt as refreshed as our boys did. Don’t be afraid of messiness either. Once the boys discovered the mud and puddles, they jumped in them and came home a wreck. We just threw them in the bath and called it a day.
3. We paint or do arts and crafts.
My little guys love arts and crafts. They love to finger paint the most. We strip them down to their skivvies, lay out a tarp or an old sheet, and let them have at it. They love it so much and it’s soooo messy. We block off the living room with the gate and literally let them go for it. By the end, they have paint everywhere. We put them in the bath and again, call it a day.
4. We arrange a play date with someone close by.
My aunt’s house is every child’s heaven. She’s a proud grandmother and has transformed her home into a very child-friendly environment. You know when you go to someone’s house whose home is completely child-friendly and you feel relief? You feel comforted in the chaos that surrounds you, thinking, ‘Well, my children can’t make it any worse…’ if you are that person – I love you. These are the kinds of homes I like to be in when I’m with my boys. There are Saturdays we head over and join the happy chaos. For free.
5. We take a field trip. To somewhere that’s restricted in the house.
There are some spots in the house that the boys don’t get to go to very often. That being said, when I have absolutely nothing else to do with them and we are all about to go bonkers, I break down the gates and let them go for it. A going upstairs to our music area and playing with all of the instruments or just running around.
6. We go on a mall walk.
We go to the mall without strollers, hold their hands, and walk them around the mall. We point out things, talk to them, create conversation about what’s going on around us, and so forth. They actually love this one. We let them climb on the mall rides or ride them. Most malls have toddler play areas. My advice is if you’re going to do this one, don’t go at a busy time. Our favorite time is right when the mall opens, or during a night of the week that’s completely dead.
These are the
lame simple things we do when we are being cheapskates frugal. They’re not profound in the least. But they put a smile on the faces of my two favorite people in the universe.
And they’re free.
What do you do with your little ones when you’re on a budget but want to have some fun? Particularly when it’s cold outside?