Dec 222010
Alissa from Fun Finds For Families is joining us at the Frugal “Tuesday” Spotlight Series, and she is going to help all of us find some great family fun on a budget this holiday break. Although Alissa’s tips are especially tailored to keeping all of us entertained while the kids are on break, her frugal tips can be used all year round.

Family Fun on a Budget
 by Alissa
Fun Finds for Families
So the kids have a week off school and your holiday budget is spent. What do you do with all that time and so little money?
Get outside
Embrace the weather (whatever it is) and get outside to explore. Are you snowed in? Bundle up and get the whole family out to play. Snow angels, snowmen, snowball fights. There?s no better time for it. That’s a photo of my son’s very first snowman.
No snow where you are? Your options are that much wider. Take the kids on a holiday-themed nature scavenger hunt. Visit a favorite park or find a new one a little further away. Make a checklist of what you want to look for before you go: a chestnut (roasting), an evergreen tree, reindeer tracks, etc. Check here for a list of national parks, all of which are free.

Get cooking
Some of the best (and cheapest!) memories are made in the kitchen. Admittedly your sweet tooth might not be craving much after the holidays, but you can still find some fun in the kitchen with your kids. Why not turn your kitchen counter into a science lab? Make some homemade play dough with your kids for a fun afternoon activity.
Get moving
One of our favorite free activities here is having dance parties. We love to just crank up the music (we each get a turn choosing what music we want) and let loose in the living room. My 3-year-old has a blast and even my 9-month-old will pull herself up and bounce up and down to the music. It’s lots of fun and doesn’t cost a thing!
Tour the town
Have a day on the town where you hit all the tourist-y places in the area. Do a Google search for “free museum YOUR CITY” and see what pops up. We’ve found some fun museums this way. Or check and see if any nearby museums host a free day. Our art museum hosts a “pay-what-you-wish” day once a month, for instance. And if you’re a Bank of America cardholder, you can get free admission to select museums on the first full weekend of every month. Check here for participating museums near you.
You can also search for factory tours to get a look at companies behind the scenes — and usually free samples! We happen to live near a pretzel factory, which offers free tours and samples. Some local newspapers and TV stations also offer free scheduled tours. Give them a call or look online to find out more.
Continue the holiday fun
The days leading up to Christmas are often so hectic that we don’t get a chance to do all the things we’d like to as a family before the big day arrives. If this happens to sound anything like your life ;), then do as we do and take advantage of the week following Christmas to enjoy some of the holiday fun. My favorite holiday activity is driving around looking at Christmas lights. So much fun and virtually free (someone has to pay for gas). Bundle up, bring your blankets and even some hot cocoa in travel mugs and get ready for some real displays.
Movie marathon night
Rent 2 or 3 movies from the library, pop some popcorn, lay some blankets and pillows out in the living room and have a movie marathon. Here’s my favorite movie snack: add M&Ms to the bowl of freshly popped popcorn for the perfect sweet & salty combination. Make it into a family sleepover for extra fun!
Whatever you decide to do with the kids, have fun with it. Remember you don’t always need to “do” anything big or spectacular. Just spend time with them, get down on the floor and play with them, talk with them, make up silly stories. These are the things they’ll really remember and they’re completely free to do!
1.      How long have you been blogging? I just started blogging in August 2010.
2.      What made you start blogging?
I was a writer and editor in my life, B.C. (before children) but had put writing on the back burner when they arrived. Blogging has been a fun way to get back to my writing roots while also being able to share my ideas for family-friendly activities, book reviews and great deals for families.
3.      What are your blogging goals? Have you reached any of your goals yet?
My main blogging goals are to get back to writing daily and to actually have people read what I’m sending out there every day. I’ve definitely met the first goal and slowly but surely am meeting the second!
4.      How do you balance family life and blogging?
This is a tough one, since blogging is still so new to my daily routine. I do much of my work in the very early mornings before my family is awake. I’m still a full-time mom to two very little ones (3.5 years and 9 months), so once they’re up, my attention turns to them.
5.      Do you have a blogging tip that you would like to share with new bloggers?
Just jump in and do it. Don’t overthink it. Start writing. Whatever it is. The good news when you’re getting started? No one really  reading you yet, so it gives you a lot of freedom to experiment with your own style!
6.      What is your best frugal tip?
Don’t feel like you have to do something big or spectacular to have fun. The best way to have fun on the cheap is to simply spend quality time with the ones you love. And take full advantage of your library! It’s our go-to spot for books, movie rentals, video game (Wii) rentals, CDs, magazines, story times and crafts. We fill 75% of our entertainment needs with about 5% of the budget we’d need if we were buying or renting elsewhere. Hands-down the best money-saver around.

Fun Finds for FamiliesThank you Alissa for sharing all of these great frugal tips on how to find great frugal family fun for the entire family. My family is all about family fun on a budget, and like your family, we also take advantage of everything our local library has to offer. 

I would like to invite all of you to go visit Alissa at Fun Finds For Families, she has lots of great frugal living tips to share. At Fun Finds For Families ( you can find lots of family fun on a budget, and Alissa shows us that no matter what your entertainment budget is, it is very feasible to have a lot of fun this holiday break.

If you would like to be a guestblogger in the Frugal Tuesday Spotlight Series, you can read more at Become a Frugal Tuesday Spotlight Guestblogger. 

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