Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Enjoy a frugal day out!!!

Do you think that spending the day out with the kids is going to cost a lot of money?  I wanted to have a good afternoon with my son but wanted to see how I could do it with not spending that much money.  I gathered all my coupons and gift cards because I didn't know exactly where the day was going to take us.  I picked my little guy up from school and started on our adventure.  Remember to think outside the box and like a kid...not an adult!!!

First stop was the credit union.  There are toys which he was fully interested in playing with and would have loved to stay and play for hours but first, he took his $5 to the counter and deposited the money in his account.  Our credit union has a child encouragement program called Johnny Appleseed to help the kids find fun in saving.  They send out a post card to tell you that you need to deposit $5 and you will get a fun gift.  My son picked out a bendy pumpkin man and ghost.  Then, he also got to pick out a lollipop.

Then we stopped at Panera.  I got a toasted bagel and used a gift card that I got last Christmas.  I had to pay $0.27 since I was out of money on the gift card.  I had my little guys lunch in my bag including a special fruit snack that he got at school.  He was super excited to eat in a restaurant and all I had to buy was a bagel.  He likes to have a cup of water with a splash of something which today was Fruit Punch so he had his special drink with his lunch.

After that, he wanted a special treat.  We headed towards Starbucks to use another gift card that Daddy got at work.  In the parking lot was a Walgreens so I headed in there first to grab a free Diet Coke with my coupon from My Coke Rewards.  My son handed the cashier the bottle and then the coupon and was highly entertained to be paying for everything.  I did have to dig out some change because it cost $0.04 in tax. 

We walked across the parking lot to Starbucks.  My son picked out the last chocolate chip cookie and I got a pumpkin scone which was paid for with a gift card.  We ate our snacks at a table made for 6 people since most of the other people were by themselves so I got to spread out.  He played with his toys from the credit union after eating his cookie and drinking his special juice.  Then, he decided that he should color on the bag from the cookie so we had an impromptu coloring session before packing up to leave.  We had a great and frugal afternoon only spending $0.31.

I was just trying to entertain my little guy enough so that he would be exhausted and take a nap before trick or treat so we only had two hours to have our fun "day" but we have a lot of other things that we do to have frugal fun on other days.  We are working on our new winter plans since we won't be spending hours at the park anymore and here are a few ideas:

- Go to the library to read, check out books and DVDs
- Go to local bookstores which often have books to read and toys to play
- Check out toy stores that have things to play with like big train sets
- Go to storytime (at the library and check out local bookstore or Pottery Barn)
- Go to free classes at indoor gyms (check out Gymboree Classes and try the free class)
- Go to free programs at local malls:  puppet shows, concerts, and more
- Go to the airport and watch the planes

The best thing is to google free activities for kids in your area.  In the Northern VA area, there are so many resources that sometimes it is overwhelming.  Often there are mommy/parent groups that you can join that might help you learn some new ways to find resources in your local area.  It is also the easiest way to make sure that get out and entertain your little ones while socializing with other adults and kids!

Locally, Super NOVA Mommy is a website that actually shows you a calendar of every day and a bunch of different things that are going on in the Northern Virginia area.  There are tons of other blogs that give you details of what they are doing and they are wonderful resources to check out daily or weekly.  For the whole country, check local malls, bookstores, coffee shops, Disney stores, and Pottery Barn for activities and websites to bookmark to check for later!!  Some activities are only available once in awhile but others are regular like storytimes or concerts.

What frugal fun do you suggest to entertain yourself and your little ones out of the house??  I would love to hear some new ideas because it is always more entertaining to do new and different things!!  Always remember that there are things to entertain the kids at home too so that will be coming up soon!!

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