It’s easy to get into the habit and the thought pattern that having fun requires spending money, and that having lots of fun requires spending more money. It’s fun to take the family to Disney World and while it’s not cheap, it’s a lot of fun. But we can’t go to Disney World every day, or even every year.
I write that thinking about raising my children. Take a child to a store and they want something. Saying no isn’t fun, saying yes isn’t practical or fiscally smart, and either way someone isn’t happy. That’s life, and there are some good lessons in there for parent and child, but sometimes the trick is to find ways to have fun with less money. I’ve seen my children have more fun with a cardboard box than with an expensive toy, a lesson easy to forget.
So I look for ways to have cheap fun, to let them have the thrill of spending a quarter or a dollar, to enjoy both the spending and the result of the spending. It teaches limits and responsibility (or at least it will at some point), but it’s also just fun. Fun for me, fun for them. As an example, our local Michaels (a craft store) has a couple “dollar” aisles, a great place to turn kids loose with a dollar. One of our more interesting finds was wooden puzzles from Creatology. All the pieces are pre-cut, just punch out of the thin plywood and glue together. Here’s an Amazon link to the biplane, but go to Michaels – cheaper there!
We colored the pieces with crayons and markers, trying to be patient yet in a hurry to get to the good part of putting it all together. Glue and scraps everywhere, minor chaos, yet a good 45 minutes of fun, all for a dollar.
So, have you found a way to have cheap fun? A treat at the coffee place, a checkout magazine, the treasured bit of candy? Tell me things you do that you really enjoy, for say less than $5, and maybe we’ll all learn a new way or two to have fun – cheaply.