So you’ve decided to dump your debt.
You’ve got a budget, and a list of your debts smallest to largest. You’re excited! That’s when your best friend calls. Your invited to a girls day at the mall. Or maybe your kids want to go to the movies this weekend. The hardest thing about getting out of debt is making lifestyle changes to get you there. We have to learn to say NO. And honestly, once you practice it a few times, its freeing. It gives you the feeling that you are the one running your life! You don’t have to go to the mall with your friends if you don’t have the money to spend. Your true friends may not understand your decision to become debt free, but they should respect it.
But being on a debt free journey does not mean you will never have fun again. It just means you may have to get creative! You might even discover that you enjoy these things more because they don’t create more debt and usually create very valuable family time. If you’re like me you might find that all these things you thought were so important in your life, are really not so important at all. The real important things are sitting beside you on the couch, and this journey just might bring you closer.
So here’s a list of some things we do on a regular basis that cost very little to nothing at all!
Traditional pizza and a movie night
I know what you’re thinking, ordering pizza can add up fast! But if you do a little pre-planning, you won’t fail. Homemade pizza can be a fun way to spice it up and get the kids involved. There are plenty of fun recipes online (here is my favorite recipe) or you can just purchase pre made pizza dough. Throw on some sauce and cheese and your favorite toppings! You could even try making personal pizzas, which my kids really love. If time is an issue pre purchase some frozen pizzas and snacks when grocery shopping that week.
We tend to do pizza and a movie almost every Friday. It’s a fun way to kick start our weekend, and the kids like that they get to stay up a little later. Now for the movie. There are tons of options for streaming movies at home, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or just find a movie on TV. Redbox is also a great easy option, as long as you can remember to take it back (not talking from experience of course)!
Family game night
Oh the loyal family game night. Throw in some yummy finger foods (from you refrigerator or pantry) and some friendly trash talk and you’ve got a party. My kids love Monopoly, which can be fun (if you want family game night to last 3 days). But their newest obsession is card games. There are so many fun games you can play with a deck of cards! Beat the parents and Scrabble are fun and easy as well. Before you know it the whole family will be engaged, and what started out to be a silly game night turns out to be great bonding time. The point here isn’t that being in debt means you’re not bonding with your family, it’s that you can bond with your family without going into debt.
Take a hike
Hiking is fun way to enjoy a nice day and let the kids burn some energy. Even when the kids are little they will enjoy the freedom the outdoors brings. Visit a national forest or just the local park. Pack a picnic and snacks, and don’t set a time limit! We like to hike on our day off when we don’t have any other plans. That way
if we get lost we can take our time and not worry about checking our phones or the time.
I know this one isn’t for everyone. But the joy we find when laying under the stars together as a family, after roasting some marshmallows, is priceless. Camping is generally pretty affordable and has temporarily taken the place of fancy vacations during this part of our debt free journey. Don’t get me wrong, I will enjoy the day when I get to plan to visit a place I’ve always wanted to go (like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite!). But I know one day I’ll look back to these summers and be glad they happened. Because if we hadn’t had to make this temporary sacrifice, those memories would have never been made.
My tip for making camping as affordable as possible is to be prepared and pack plenty of food, drinks, and snacks for the kiddos. If you run out and have to run to the local store the prices will be super high. Also, if you are really brave try primitive/ or backwoods camping. It can be a challenge but you might just find a really neat site and the kids will learn a ton! We try to find a spot near water, like a creek or beach , that is visible from camp so the kids can play. We also take games like outdoor scavenger hunts or campfire trivia!
Pinterest craft night
Craft night is a fun way to get everyone’s creative juices flowing. You can make it most affordable by finding things around the house that you have, like empty toilet paper rolls or old hunks of wood to paint. If you start there, you won’t find yourself in Walmart scurrying about spending 50 dollars trying to make craft night happen. There are unlimited ideas online, search Pinterest for crafts related to the things you have on hand and you’ll be set! We have done this several times, especially around special times like Christmas and Easter.
Visit a local museum
Museums can be a great way to combine learning and family time. Visit a place you know will interest your little ones. For example, my girls really love art, so recently we visited a really cool art museum. They learned about different art styles and the museum had a really neat section for kids with a giant light bright and art centers. The girls were able to express themselves after being inspired by all the beautiful artwork we had seen.
What kind of things do you do for fun that are budget friendly? We are always looking for new ideas! Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email! Or you can post on the Facebook link, I would love to hear from you!