After over a year of cancelled vacations and staying home, many people are anxious to get back to going places and doing things. Those activity costs can add up, especially if you have a large family. Don’t worry about having to drain your savings or 401K (BTW, we don’t recommend doing that!), there are plenty of ways to get out and enjoy doing things together that are budget friendly.
Affordable does not mean boring. It often means being a little more creative and flexible with your plans. Here are a few exciting and out-of-the box ideas for you and the family to enjoy:
- Browse retail stores. This can be a great idea if you have a remodel planned or want to get ideas for ways to spruce up your home or even get inspiration for outfits or new books to read. You can then take your inspiration and find ways to make them at home, find items in a thrift store or tag sale, etc.
- Go vintage. Most of us have old records, tapes, CDs, or movies kicking around the house. Plan a throwback night and listen or watch some of your old favorites with each other.
- Go on a road trip to watch the sunrise or sunset. Who doesn’t love a road trip? Add in a beautiful sunrise or sunset and it can be a great start or end to your day. You can enjoy the scenery as you drive.
- Cheer on local sports team. We aren’t talking big league games, but local school teams, park and rec teams, or travel teams. They love having fans in the crowd, and even if your child doesn’t play, you’re bound to know someone’s child who does.
- Volunteer together. Local non-profits had a rough year. For many, donations were down and finding volunteers was hard. Find a local charity who needs a hand with an event, cleaning or organizing their facility, or distributing goods. Not only will you have fun but you’ll feel great too.
Each season brings a new opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature. Here are some ideas you can outside, year-round.
- Go for a hike. Connecticut has amazing trails including the famed Appalachian Trail, no matter what part of the state you live in or what your experience level is. There’s nothing like getting some exercise while enjoying the fresh air.
- Go camping. This has been a very popular vacation idea the past year, and the trend is likely to continue. State parks are typically very budget friendly, but you’ll forgo the fancier amenities like a pool, arcade, etc. Many have ponds where you can swim or fish and still have other activities like biking trails, hiking trails, basketball hoops, and firepits to enjoy.
- Go berry picking. Summer is a great time to pick seasonal berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. You can eat them raw, cook or bake with them, or make some jellies and jams!
- Visit a public garden or park. Many town or state parks have very pretty flowers blooming this time of year. You can enjoy the scenery while taking a stroll or sitting on a bench enjoying a snack.
- Visit a farm. Do you love watching farm animals in their natural environment. Visit a farm and enjoy their resident cows, goats, llamas, and sheep. Bonus, you can usually get some delicious baked good and treats to support local while you are there.
Food Related Activities
Going out to eat is one of the most common activities people do to get out of the house. But it can be expensive and the costs can add up really quickly if you splurge on appetizers, drinks, and dessert too. Plus, the bigger your family, the bigger the bill. Here are some cost-effective ideas to still enjoy eating out, but without the big check.
- Get breakfast instead. Breakfast is an important meal and often the cheapest one to splurge on by going out to eat. Many places have incorporated outdoor patios too, so you can enjoy your coffee and Belgian waffle while enjoying the fresh morning air and early rays of sun.
- Go out for dessert. Who says you have to get a 4-course meal when you dine out. Eat a delicious meal at home and then pack the family up and head out for dessert at your favorite eatery. You still get the fun of eating out, but on a much more budget friendly scale.
- Sign up for a meal delivery service. Enjoy cooking together using a meal delivery service that allows you to try some new things. Everything you need comes shipped in a box and you can enjoy your time together making dinner together. Bonus – many have coupon codes to save money on your first order!
- Have a picnic. Whether you do it in your yard, a public park, or on a beach – having a picnic is a fun way to get out of the house without the expense of dining out. You get a fantastic view and no one will care if you kick your shoes off to but your toes in the sand.
- Enjoy a brewery or vineyard. Doing a beer or wine sampler or enjoying a few local beverages is an affordable way to spend some time together. Many places let you bring your own food/snacks. Places that have outdoor space often have horseshoes, firepits, or other activities too.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun. It may require a little creativity and brainstorming, but you can certainly spend many hours enjoying budget friendly activities.
Branch Manager – Torrington