Summer is ripe for free and easy fun
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.
Summer leisure doesn’t have to be expensive – especially if you make the most of the great outdoors.