Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Frugal Ways To Have Fun

Hubby helping R make a wooden sword at an free festival

When we first began to stick to a strict budget, I immediately wondered what would we do for fun, knowing that our income would be slashed and that there would be very little money left over for entertainment. Previously when I was working and not counting every dollar, I justified my spending habits, as most of us do, because I missed out on quality time with my kids. The time I did spend with them I wanted to be fun, making up for the times I wasn't around. On the weekend, when I was home we would often go out for a meal, ice skating, to the movies or on other equally expensive outings. Easily spending more than a hundred dollars each time! Sometimes we would browse game stores, never once leaving empty handed. My kids loved doing all of these things, of course, what kid is not going to love Mum offering to buy them random material objects? 

It then became my mission (okay, I may have been slightly obsessed) to find free outings to keep my family amused. After all, there's only a certain amount of time that can be spent playing boardgames at home! I vaguely remembered bookmarking a page called Weekend Notes which looked interesting, so I checked it out. It is a great website where you can find out what's on in your state. We have been to heaps of free family events that have been listed on here, and I continue to check it regularly. Here are some of the other free events or outings I found out about.

Learning to make soy wax candles out the Library
The humble Library is also a wonderful wealth of entertainment options, most of which I was previously unaware of. Yes, you can borrow books- but also magazines, DVD's, graphic novels, audio and E-books as well as you can get free access to the internet. My library also run regular free craft workshops, historical talks, kids programs and classes. 

 I also discovered that local councils often run free activities so I looked into these. This year my boys have been attending a free Hip Hop dance class once a week, at a local community centre run by my council. These classes would normally cost around $150 each child, per term. I have also attended the gym at the rec centre the last 2 months, thanks to some free passes. My council also held regular free festivals and Summer outdoor open air movies that we have attended. Back in February a neighbouring council held a carnival, with free rides and a concert performance from Australian band Sneaky Sound System. My teenagers acted like complete fan girls at this event, it was hilarious!

We were spitting distance from the amazing Sneaky Sound System!

 Of course, there are also plenty of free events advertised in the local paper like Fete's and Open Days and as much as I detest shopping centres, they will quite often have free activities during school holidays. Last year we went to LEGO exhibition which the kids loved! The Art gallery and Museum are the source of a free day out, as are a picnic in a park, visit to the beach or bush walk.

Meeting a giant LEGO man was a hit!
Bunnings Warehouse stores also run free kids workshops on the weekends and family nights on occasions like Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day. We regularly attend these and in particular the family nights are amazing! Masters Home Improvement held a fabulous Christmas party last year, but of course these would vary from store to store. I'd recommend giving them a call to find out.

Having access to so many free events is great, and quite often we are spoilt for choice. It's a rare occasion these days that we do something that actually costs money! And now as a reformed spender, knowing that there are so many things we can do for free, having to pay for an event is done almost begrudgingly!

Do you go to any free classes or events run by your local council?


  1. Lovely post and thank you for taking the time to share have a blessed evening

  2. Great link, thanks for sharing it. With 3 boys we are always looking for free activities in our area, we do have a decent council that seems to always be running a fair bit.

  3. You are very welcome Sue!