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Monday, February 2, 2009

Cheap Free fun

Did anybody catch the Dow this morning? Another red -100 and who knows how it is going to close. Obama is trying to pass a 900 billion stimulus package and I wonder who will be paying for it later on? Let's face it, we are a society of debt. Man oh man, it sure is easy to wish and hope and then be upset with what you do have. Even if you feel the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, as soon as you climb that fence... there's another fence that you just KNOW is hiding the most emerald-like grass you could find. Point made, we are very difficult to satisfy.

However, it doesn't have to be that way for us hard working, unrewarded families! We can live the 'high life' without spending any money... or at the most pocket change!
A penny save is a penny earn. This is how a normal day would go in an unhappy family. The parents come home from work, eat dinner, watch tv, and go to bed. The children's day is fairly similar, chores after homework... tv... bla bla bla. It's usually 'All we can do... we can't afford to go out...'

Why don't you try some of these ideas, and see if everyone's moods don't lift?!

1.) It's ok to have a 'Pizza Friday'. A better idea is 'Foreign Food Wednseday' . Wednseday is usually right in the middle of the week. (It may change sometimes...) Being it is the longest day to get through because it the week is either 'almost over' or 'you still have half to go...' Throwing in a change can give Wednseday Dinner a Friday Feeling. Don't stick with the same food, or even the same culture. Try new foods you've never had before. Look up a few trivia facts about the culture you are tasting, and share your lessons. Maybe decorate with a theme. Make it creative, get everyone involved, and make it fun!

2.)It's okay to curl up and watch Scooby Doo together. It's not okay to watch tv from the time dinner is done until you go to bed. Not everyday. After dinner, or even after a tv show... go for a walk! The season is finally changing, and you don't have to wait for the snow to melt completely before going outside! There are endless ways to make walks fun with children, but the best thing is that a walk is fun enough as it is.

3.)If you are all in a 'movie mood', you don't have to go pay $20/person to watch they newest movie. You don't even have to drive to the rental store and pay $5 to borrow a new release on DVD. You probably own a large amount of DVD's you bought because you like and haven't watched in a while. Watch one of those together... Cut up some cheese and crackers w/ pepperoni, make bagel bites or popcorn or cake or cut up fruit... make sure everyone is equipped with snack options and beverage. Make a big deal out of watching the movie.

4.)Play games with your family! Every night doesn't have to be 'Family Fun Night', and every game doesn't have to take place on 'Family Fun Night'. Play a card game, a boardgame, or a 'home made game' (Tossing pennies into different sized objects- coffe can, soda bottle, mayo jar, etc.- at different point values for high score) I would recommend to any family to spend $40 on Cranium's Family Fun game! It may be something you have to save for, because honestly $40 can be a luxury at times. I promise it is worth the expense, because the entire family will have lots of fun playing this game... that includes that parents! This is not a game that is more fun for kids. But you don't need to spend money to play a game before bedtime!

5.) Aw yes, family fun night. That is a wonderful thing that varies in different families. If you don't already have it in your family, you need to. It can be weekly, or monthly, or whenever one is called. Regardless of how often it occurs, or wether it is planned or not... it is a luxury that is free and brings happiness to all. Why can't every night be treated mildly like 'family night' without calling it such? Instead of one person on the computer, one person in their room playing, one person lounging in front of Sportscenter all night... bring the family together more often!

6.) Outings! Take a drive together to visit family or to view scenery. Go to the closest hiking trail you know of and take the family for a walk in the woods. Pack a picnic! Even if you can'tafford to go out to the zoo and eat at McDonald's for lunch, it can often be totally free to walk through the woods and point out chipmunks, birds, and other random animals you may see. You can also comment on the flowers and plants growing around you. It can be totally free to pack up some fruit and sandwiches into a backpack (Never throw your trash on the ground!). IF you do have a little money to spend on a disposable, or you already own a digital... take pictures! It is always important to take lots of pictures of your family having fun together. Those memories are the most important things we have. Without physically preserving those outings... going for a walk with a picnic packed in comfortable bag is absolutely free!

7.) Always get the whole family involved with ideas of fun things you can do together. Keep a coffee can or jar somewhere accessible at all times for a note to be dropped in. The 'comment box' sounds corny and cliche, but that doesn't affect it's effectiveness.

When you look at your life to see what you have, look only at your life. So what if your neighbors can take vacations to Europe with their family and you can't. So what if you can't afford a fourwheeler for everyone to ride and your coworker owns 4. The less you have, the more you appreciate the things you have. They mean more. Your family will be the most important thing you will ever have.

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