Perhaps you have noticed that my friend (and incidentally former college roommate) Gretchen, has written guest posts for me. What you may not know is that she is a Nebraska travel blogger. Since she has had lots of experience in having fun without spending lots of money, she agreed to share some advice with us. A perfect fit if your New Year’s Resolution involves saving money.
When I started writing my blog, Odyssey Through Nebraska, eighteen months ago, I really did not think through all of the implications. For instance, the fact that travel costs money. Although occasionally we have been offered free or discount admission because of the blog, for the most part, I have had to figure out economical ways of exploring. After all, you really should not recommend a restaurant where you have never dined. And you cannot share pictures of a place where you have never been. Finding fun for my family on a budget has become a fun quest. This new approach has also helped me as we explore our own area.
Dining Out …
Kids Eat Free If you happen to live in a small town, you might be out on this one – sorry. For those in larger towns/cities, many places do provide this option for families. Often, the meal is free with a purchase of an adult meal. Now that we have a 12 year old, he can easily eat an adult meal, so then our other three can still be free.
Meal Sharing One other affordable way to eat out is to order one item off the menu, then have 2-3 family members enjoy that dish. By just ordering a few dishes for your table to share, you can also turn this economical choice into a fun celebration. (Which one was your favorite?) Since kids’ meals often have limited food and nutritional choices anyway. I would much rather that my kids learn to eat a variety of well-prepared foods.
To go. Order your food in a doggie bag or box. For one thing, you can bring your own drinks. For our son’s birthday, we ate in the snack area at the local children’s museum. Being ready to play right after eating was fun for my kids. Plus our extended family has discovered that when we pick up pizza and take it to a park, the kids can run around when we are done eating. We all get to sit around and talk, while the kids get to play. A win-win situation for all!
Free Family Events Honestly, if you wanted to busy absolutely every evening, you could be. Especially if you live in a metropolitan area, there is SO much going on. Finding events that are free is easier than you think. Area universities often provide family days with their students leading the fun. Corporate groups also can join in with carnivals and other such events for little or no cost. Watch your local newspaper for these events near you.
Area Festivals Arts and crafts. Food fairs are out there featuring pecans, pumpkins and onions to name a few. Ethnic festivals promote another culture without leaving home. Across the United States, you can attend all sorts of week-end festivities. While some might charge admission for certain parts, most have a few planned events that do not cost anything at all. The best way to find out about these adventures is to search your state’s tourism state. Or even better yet …
Follow a Local Travel Blogger Once I became a travel blogger, not only did I discover a whole new world of places, but I also found a whole new world of people. So many other great moms and dads are out there discovering the best opportunities in their communities. To know what is going on in your area, find a travel blogger near you and follow along. Since I have interacted with several bloggers personally, I have compiled a list on my own blog of some of my favorite Midwest travel bloggers. Hopefully you can find one who writes about your area.
P.S. Let’s just face it. While we can try to be a frugal family, sometimes to get to enjoy more events, you simply need to make a bit more money. If this is your situation, you definitely want to check out the income possibilities through Norwex. Suzanne recently posted The Norwex purpose, a great article that tells all about how you can begin to achieve more financial freedom AND have a healthier life at the same time. That’s meeting two resolutions at once!