Since having Eli, I have only worked on an off, mainly because of my husband’s career and our nomadic lifestyle. Being married to an active duty Marine it can be very difficult finding a new job in whatever new city we move to. However, since moving to San Diego I am unable to work because Eli’s therapies have become a full-time unpaid job. Because of this, as you can imagine, money is tight. We don’t have the luxury of going to Disney, taking trips, eating out, or constantly going to do fun things everyday. All of my money goes to groceries and gas, so to get Eli out to enjoy his toddlerhood I sometimes have to get creative on how to have fun on a budget.
- FREE. FREE. Always be on the lookout for free events in your area. Last weekend we went to a puppy adoption event. We’re we in the market for a dog? No, but they had a bouncy house, dogs to look at, and free food. Checking the newspaper, facebook groups, and google are great ways to find what is going on in your area. Balboa park here in San Diego offers free admission to different museums each Tuesday of the month. Especially look out for street fairs, swap meets, community events, etc too.
- Discount Hunter- Being a military family, we have a lot of discounts available to us. I am always looking for discount events and activities. Here in San Diego, I have found discount prices for the Zoo, county fair, and water parks. Even if you are not military, looking online is a great way to find special or discounted admissions to many activities.
- Memberships vs daily admissions- We like to frequent indoor play places out here. I find that it is a lot cheaper to buy memberships rather than paying each day you are going (assuming you will be going more than twice in a month). After buying a membership you can visit these play places daily without having to worry about spending too much money. We are also looking into getting memberships to the San Diego Zoo. Going to the zoo (or any amusement park) can be really expensive, so buying a yearly membership the cost goes waaaay down.
- Having fun at home- I have blogged earlier about some crafts that we do at home. If you get creative enough, activities at home can be much more than watching tv or playing games. Buying new toys adds up quickly. I like to buy toys off of facebook yard sale pages, that way you can rotate your kid’s toys so they don’t get bored with the same ol’ things. Don’t have a pool or water table? I bought Squirt gun barrels at Walmart for $1 each and we fill up a bucket of water and have water fights. Don’t worry about making a mess and the fun gets better and better.
Kids are only kids once; It is so important that get to go out and enjoy life and get everything that we are able to give them. I want to give Eli the world, but unless he’s footing the bill, we need to budget.