For the week between Christmas and New Years our hometown of Madison, Wisconsin found itself in the swath of frigid arctic air; daily highs were in the single digits (F), lows at night were well below zero. What is a family with kids to do when they live frugally but plans for lots of outdoor time evaporated with the warmth?
Coupons and Discounts! One night we used a Bucky Book coupon for buy one-hour get one-hour of bowling for free at Schwoegler's Entertainment Center. Combined with a $22 rebate we had on a rarely used credit card we paid $7 to bowl and rent shoes. Memories were made without spending much money!
Water fun! Our annual gym membership with Supreme Health & Fitness allows us to take the kids to the salt water pool. The kids and I shared a lane. While I swam laps they played with a water ring toss game our youngest received as a holiday gift. One hour of healthy fun for all; cost was nothing beyond the yearly fee we pay to the gym!
Hit the Library. Free movies and books line the shelves. Two films the kids had requested waited on the hold shelf, waiting to be watched tonight and tomorrow. Several books, both fiction and non-fiction, were taken home to be read in the coming weeks. Price, nothing as long as we return them on time.
Embrace the frozen tundra. Long ago we heard a saying at a preschool, "there is no such thing as bad weather, there is only bad clothing!" With that in our minds we piled on the layers and piled into our trusty Honda for a drive to Governor Nelson State Park. On the last day of the year our 2017 admission sticker gave us 45 minutes of fun in the sun. The kids skidded and skated on the very spot they swam in 6 months ago. Fresh air, the empowering rays of the sun and vitamin D, and the awesome feeling of walking on water -- a lovely way to say good-bye to 2017. Again, no cost to us other than our annual sticker fee paid long ago.
Winter break can be long, leaving large amounts of time to be filled. There are so many costly activities -- indoor trampoline parks, movie theaters, restaurants, shopping centers. When you live on a frugal path you need to resist the mainstream and think outside the box. The result can nourish the body, be kind to the earth, and not strain your budget.
Thanks for following along. Best wishes as you say good-bye to 2017 and toast the arrival of 2018. Follow along in the new year as we carve out a frugal life here in Madison, Wisconsin.