Who can believe that you could spend a great weekend with kids without spending any money? I didn’t until I tried! I took on this challenge put out by the Scottish Friendly folk to see if we could enjoy a great weekend without breaking the bank; in fact, without spending any money. Near to the end of this post, look out for my challenge to you too! Not only are you going to love it, you will want to participate more often too. As frugal lifestyle bloggers, we knew that it was possible, but first, we had to sit down, get our thinking caps on, and get some planning done. We wanted it to be a fun weekend, different from what we would normally do, and also not at all expensive.
We also wanted the activities we do to be child-friendly as we do have children and it would be no fun planning ‘boring’ adult-friendly activities for them all weekend long.
After gathering information about local events in our community, we decided on some activities that would suit us all. So, we chose, among other things: time at the park, indoor games, swimming, and cooking together.
As a proud foster-carer, I always aim to give the children in my care some memories that they would treasure for a lifetime. So, I thought about doing something over the weekend that would be memorable for years to come. Both of my foster children are from Christian backgrounds so I decided to incorporate going to church as part of the no spend weekend.
Children’s Day as a Part of our no Spend Weekend
I knew that the nearest Seventh Day Adventist church in my community of Erdington, Birmingham, always celebrated Children’s Day on the last Saturday of each quarter. We were in for a treat. The morning program started at 9:45 am and we were right there on time. The members were friendly and inviting. The highlight of the service was seeing children from age three upwards going up and taking part in the service. My kids loved the fact that they could participate too. For me, I enjoyed the main message from the speaker Mr Huyahana who spoke about being grounded and firm in what you believe.
Would we consider going to church again as part of a no spend weekend? Most definitely. Here are the reasons:
You don’t have to spend any money unless you wanted to give an offering or contribute to the church’s building fund.
It brought back pleasant memories for the kids and helped them to connect with the past.
Lunch was served! And we got the opportunity to meet and greet with others, both members and visitors alike.
I found it spiritually uplifting.
Kahoot as part of our no spend weekend
Are you familiar with Kahoot? I was first introduced to it when I went on a school trip to Sweden. Kahoot is a fun interactive game that can be played with upwards of two persons. It’s a quiz style formatted game and you can choose any topic you want that’s already online or you could make up your own questions for your group to use.
So, after lunch, we used the tv in the kitchen to play a game of Kahoot. Each of us had a mobile phone that we used to select our answers. Even when we all had the same correct answer, the highest score was given to the person who punched in the correct answer first. It was a whole lot of fun, free to play, and brought us a lot closer to each other as a family. We played for almost 2 hours! The best part was seeing the morale boost it gave the little one when she entered the correct answer first. It was really good seeing her confidence grow in this way.
If you want to find a fun rainy-day activity to do with kids, just go to Kahoot.com and you can arrange for tons of fun. As a secondary school teacher, when I tell my students that we will do some Kahoot in a lesson, they almost squeal with excitement as they see it as so much fun. I, on the other hand, see it as a way to check their knowledge or to solidify their knowledge on a particular topic.
Saturday supper as part of our new spend weekend
We always spend Saturday nights together watching The X Factor. This week, though, instead of ordering in a greasy and expensive takeaway which sometimes cost more than £20, we decided to make one of the kids’ favourites: noodles and frankfurters. To increase the nutritional value of each person’s dish, we all had a choice of adding ingredients such as spinach, sweet corn, mushrooms or peas from the fridge. It was good to taste each person’s concoction although mine wasn’t very popular as I had added too much chilli for their liking.
As usual, watching the X Factor together gave us all a belly full of laughs at the jaded dreams of some of the contestants. I used the opportunity too, to explain to my kids, the importance of reaching for the stars and at the same time knowing your limitations. So yes, we can find suitable tv programs that can help families spend quality time together without spending any additional money
So, Saturday was a no spend day and we were determined to carry it through to Sunday.
Sunday Fun-day while still spending a big fat nothing.
Earlier in the week, I went to check out our recently refurbished Erdington swimming baths. OMG, it was as if we were in another world! I couldn’t believe that this great facility was right in our midst with free swimming sessions available at certain times of the day. Normally on a Sunday morning, we would go to Star City nearby or to Birmingham city centre where each of us would spend at least £20! Not this week! And now that I know what’s available to us, we will make swimming a regular feature in our weekend as it’s free, and wholesome too. Try checking out the local swimming bath in your community and make sure you and your family benefit from it and the free sessions made available. Swimming is a valuable life skill to learn, and if it can be done for free, that’s an added bonus.
I gathered a schedule from the swimming baths to check out when swimming was free. As you can see from the chart, the areas shaded in light blue are free to swim times! There are so many! It suited us just fine!
So, on Sunday morning after a lie in and a sumptuous breakfast, we packed a picnic bag and, armed with our free leisure cards, we went swimming. We enjoyed the warm refreshing water from just after 10 until 12:00 noon. The staff were attentive and very helpful. Needless to say, it was a couple hours of fun that cost us nothing.
I would encourage you to check in your local community for free swimming facilities. Many communities have these available and there are many which offer free swim times. Why spend when you don’t have to? Avail yourself of these free facilities. They are definitely worth it! Many have saunas and gyms which you are free to use at your leisure.
After a quick wash and shampoo, we used the free hair dryers and got ourselves ready for the picnic lunch we had prepared using food from the kitchen cupboard. We had an ample supply of fruits, drinks sandwiches crisps and biscuits. It was amazing and filling. There was the temptation to lie in the park and sleep, however, after a bit of a rest, we got up and played with bats and balls which we always keep in the car for just such an occasion. We were pretty worn out at the end of it but truly happy.
We did not get home until nearly 4 pm. By then it was time to get things sorted for school for the coming week and also to get homework done.
On the way home, we realized that the folk at the Court Lane allotments were having one of their ‘open’ events where members of the community can come in to see what happens there. We didn’t stay very long there but it was interesting to see the peculiar looking birds, as well as the vegetables and flowers that are grown right there. At least the girls got to see where some of our food come from.
As I reminisce now about this amazing weekend, I must admit I did not think it would go as well as it did. I mean I usually try to keep spending in check but to go a whole weekend without spending a dime has really been amazing. And you know what, I am going to calculate approximately how much I would normally spend on a typical weekend and then save it towards our holiday to Jamaica next year.
I’d like to challenge you to a no spend weekend and be sure to tell us how you get on. Yes, it will take some planning but it is so worth it!
You might be wondering how significant it is to have a no spend weekend sometimes. Well, it is extremely significant. When you spend less, you are able to save more and be able to achieve some of your bigger dreams including, major investments such as a house, or smaller spends such as a family holiday, or even for getting out of debt!
Why not visit Scottish Friendly’s blog to see some of the great money-saving ideas that they have compiled that could benefit your family in the long run.
If you can suggest more amazing activities that you use on a no spend weekend, please share them with us in the comments below too.
This post is a paid sponsored post by Scottish Friendly.