Sum­mer is ripe for free and easy fun

Kapi-Mana News - - BACKYARD BANTER -

Did your Christ­mas bud­get go com­pletely out the win­dow?

Have you taken the kids out for too many movies and ice creams in an ef­fort to keep them busy over the hol­i­days?

Maybe it’s time to rein in the sum­mer spend­ing.

For­tu­nately, New Zealand is a great spot to be when the weather’s good.

Here are some bud­get-friendly ac­tiv­i­ties for the whole fam­ily that should keep more cash in your bank ac­count this sum­mer.

Pack a pic­nic and a cricket bat, and take your fam­ily to the beach for the day. In­vite those friends you’ve been mean­ing to catch up with along too. Set up base un­der a large tree or erect a wind pro­tec­tor to pro­vide a bit of shel­ter from the el­e­ments – leave your phone at home and open a good book. Make sure you slip, slop, slap and wrap be­fore you hit the beach, and al­ways keep an eye on the kids when they’re in the wa­ter.

Is your neigh­bour­hood home to lots of fam­i­lies with kids the same age as yours? Think about set­ting up a street event or fam­ily fun day to keep the chil­dren en­ter­tained (and the par­ents sane). Your event could be any­thing from a bike race, skate­board com­pe­ti­tion or pool party, through to a game of touch rugby fol­lowed by a potluck bar­be­cue din­ner. Or­gan­ise your event at a lo­cal park or on a gra­cious neigh­bour’s front lawn and ad­ver­tise it to your com­mu­nity via your Neigh­bourly.co.nz com­mu­nity no­tice­board. Don’t for­get to or­gan­ise a pack-down crew too so the home­owner isn’t lumped with get­ting rid of all the rub­bish af­ter­wards. Think­ing ahead, Neigh­bours Day Aotearoa com­ing up (March 19-20) is a great ex­cuse to get to­gether.

At­tend free coun­cil events. Many coun­cils and lo­cal boards around the coun­try host free sum­mer com­mu­nity events like movie nights and mu­sic per­for­mances. Ap­proach your coun­cil for in­for­ma­tion about free events or browse its web­site.

Take a hike. New Zealand is glob­ally renowned for our wide open spa­ces, so if you haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced them for your­self in a while, this sum­mer could be the per­fect time. The hike you choose will de­pend on your fit­ness lev­els, but the op­tions are end­less in most parts of the coun­try. Whether it’s as sim­ple as tak­ing a stroll or lac­ing up your hik­ing boots and re­ally get­ting se­ri­ous, we Ki­wis are very for­tu­nate to live in a place where es­cap­ing the city isn’t that hard to do.

Take a bud­get break. Sum­mer is al­ways that lit­tle bit more spe­cial when you go away on hol­i­day. Un­for­tu­nately sum­mer va­ca­tions aren’t al­ways very bud­get­con­scious. Of­fer to house-sit a friend’s place while they are away; look on­line for a cheap hol­i­day home; go camp­ing, or take leave when the busiest sum­mer pe­ri­ods qui­eten down a bit. Re­mem­ber that a hol­i­day doesn’t have to be over­seas or even in a dif­fer­ent part of New Zealand; the ‘stay­ca­tion’, or a hol­i­day close to home, is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar with bud­get-con­scious fam­i­lies too.

PHOTO: ALDEN WIL­LIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

Sum­mer leisure doesn’t have to be ex­pen­sive – es­pe­cially if you make the most of the great out­doors.

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