Being a parent is one of the most rewarding things you could accomplish in life. After nine months, you and your partner get to celebrate a new life added to your family. You also have a new set of bills added to your income, as well. Financially you have to start making changes that benefit your child immediately, but you can still have fun on a budget.
Everything changes now, if you used to go out with your significant other every weekend, most likely you will now be spending those nights changing pampers and feeding the little one. A large portion of your check now goes to buying pampers, child care or formula. There are going to be times when you will not be able to go out the places you used to.
For example, hypothetically speaking, you and your partner used to go the movies every other weekend. That is about 26 weeks each year. Most theaters sell their tickets at about $15 per person. Every time you go you also spend an additional $25 at the concessions stand. At the end of the year, you have spent almost $650 on leisure. Most of that has to go toward your child now, but that does not mean you have to become basement dwellers. So, how do you have fun on a budget and still take care of your child?
Leisure: The Hidden Ninja
Leisurely spending is one of the biggest bank account killers out there. Sure, we all have our bills to pay, but those are usually one-time fees that we have to worry about once. Where leisurely spending hurts the most, is the frequency. Going to the movies every other weekend seems like a small expense since you are only doing it here and there. After a while, they add up, and you begin scratching your head trying to figure out where your money has gone.
So how do you cut back? Movies, for instance, usually have matinee specials during the week that you can go to. If you are in the military or enrolled in school you have discounts, as well. On the bright side, since you have a little person now, they will most likely be free to get in or at the very least will have a discounted ticket. But, you have a kid now you want them to find other stimulating things to do.
Next step: Finding fun in the little things
It really does not take much to make a child smile. Usually tossing a ball or playing a simple game of peek-a-boo will keep them satisfied. In fact, children prefer the simpler gifts more than the extravagant birthday bashes. Think of the times you were a kid and you received a huge playset for your birthday or a holiday. Now, think about the gigantic box it came in. Most of the time that box was just as, if not more, fun than the present inside.
A kid with a huge imagination makes having fun on a budget a breeze. Taking them to the park for a walk or playing a game is always free and it gives you quality time with your child. Go to the local community pool for a swim. If you live within walking distance to a trail or a park, go on an adventure with your little explorer. The possibilities are endless when it comes to finding fun in the little things.
There will be times when your child wants to go out
There are few things you are able to accurately predict with children. But, one that remains constant is boredom. It is sad to say, but eventually, the activities you do with them will lose their allure and luster. So, you have to find new things to stimulate your child. You can, however, still have fun on a budget by doing a little research in your area.
A quick search on the web will open an entire world of free and cheap activities you are able to do with your child. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find tons of things to do and still pay your bills on time. Museums and planetariums are great places to start looking for things to do. Most of the time they will have “free days” where children are admitted for a free or discounted price. A lot of the activities help stimulate child’s mind while promoting great social skills. Local theaters and playhouses will have productions that are free for children, as well.
As we stated before, the only thing you really need to make you kid happy is time and a big imagination. If that means you take them to a local thrift store to play dress up, that is fine. Maybe they just want to do some arts and crafts or sidewalk art. Whatever it is you will be able to do it and keep a smile on their face while on a budget.