Having Fun on a Budget: Ideas and a Challenge for you

Last week’s discussion around boundaries wrapped up a themed quarter in my yearly calendar where we spent April, May and June talking about Taming the Clock. Taming the Clock by keeping our word (April), Taming the Clock around town (May), and Taming the Clock at home (June). Today we begin a new quarter talking about Taming the Coin. We will talk about priorities in July, general Money Talk in August, and being a positive rebel against Societal expectations in September. I chose the months often known as “summertime” in the western world because these months typically land between the end of schooltime fiscal years and the beginning of schooltime fiscal years. In Canada, “summer holidays” tend to run from the end of June to the end of August. Colleges and Universities in Canada let out in May. In the US most schools let out in May and go back somewhere in August. But summertime, similar to Christmastime, spending gets a bit looser and priorities can end up going by the wayside in the name of fun. As single moms, we need to be strategic about our finances at all times of the year and perhaps even more-so during times when others around us are more spendthrifty than normal. Click To Tweet

Because the first week of July encompasses two different national holidays: Canada Day on July 1st, and the USA’s Independence Day on July 4th, I marked this week in my content calendar to talk about “fun stuff”. We will spend this Thursday to Wednesday week talking about ways you can have fun with your kids around festive occasions and holidays, without breaking the bank.

Purple flowersThe first step in this process is realizing that you can have fun in various ways absolutely for free! There is no cost to going for a walk around the neighborhood gathering wild flowers growing beside the path. Bring those flowers home and dry them between the pages of heavy books. If you have wax paper on hand, place the dried flowers into fanciful arrangements between two sheets and then iron them closed to seal them in. Make frames for the dried flower pictures out of cardboard and either paint them or glue construction paper or tissue paper to them. If you don’t have glue, but do have flour and salt available, you can make homemade glue to do the job.

pet rockThere is no cost to repeat that walk gathering pebbles and interesting-looking sticks and twigs to bring home. Wash the pebbles and rocks and let them dry. Paint them to look like ladybugs and other critters. Use the sticks to make log cabins, fences for your new rock pets, etc. Don’t have any paint? Do you have food colouring and corn starch in the cupboard? There are recipes where you can make your own paint to do the job.

These two craft concepts can open the door of your imagination to many more simply using what you have on hand. Sometimes holidays have rainy days and no one wants to go outside. That’s when working on indoor craft ideas on a summer day can be useful. If you want to maintain what your kids learned in school over the summer, have them look up information about each rock pet they are about to paint, or look up what each flower is they are about to press into picture art, etc. Encourage math skills by asking them to count out for you how many measuring spoons they need of an ingredient to make the glue or paint. Are they doubling the recipe? Now they can practice their multiplication skills. Did they cut the recipe in half? Now they are practicing their division skills. How many pebbles did it take to make that pen filled with sheep? How many sticks did it take to build that fence or log cabin? Encourage science by talking about how corn starch works in the paint, or the properties of salt and how it helps make glue.

2007 pic of fam and Christmas ornaments
2007 pic of fam and Christmas ornaments

The same flour, salt and water ingredients in different proportions will let you make homemade modelling dough that you can use to make hanging ornaments, necklace pendants, earings, beads for necklaces, and more. You can add food colouring to the dough to pre-stain a desired colour right into the dough. Christmas ornaments I made with my kids when they were in elementary school are still in use 7 years after they graduated High school! The trick to fast-drying (as in several hours drying time as opposed to several days) is both in the thickness of the desired end product, and whether or not you put the dough into the oven. Oven-drying was how we did the Christmas ornaments and you have to not only follow directions for doing this, but adapt those to your particular oven’s behaviour as not all ovens are created equal. The thinner the dough, the quicker your creations will dry by air or in the oven. Unstained dough can be painted and finished like any other painting project.

toilet paper phone tripod
2020 toiletpaper phone tripod

Saving your toilet paper cardboard rolls will create almost a never-ending supply of creative outlets, particularly if paired with cereal boxes, egg and milk cartons if you buy those in your home. Doll furniture, hotwheel courses, jewelry boxes, indoor mini-golf and so many other ideas go through my head when I think of these materials.

All of these crafts can be done outside when the weather is nice, and depending on your living situation and how tidy your kids tend to be or not be, encouraging many of these crafts to be done outside may make cleanup easier.

Take pictures of the kids with their creations this summer and share with me! I’d love to see some of the free ways you and your family spent rainy days this summer still having fun and doing something that you didn’t have to buy anything to do. And by the way, screens don’t count. If you have a printer, showing your kids’ creations with a printout of the info they found about the objects they were using is allowed.

Speaking of doing things free, starting July 6th, I am holding a free 6 day challenge: Become the Strategic Spending Mom! Let me invite you to spend 6 days with me to Conquer the Case of the Disappearing Dollars and use that “found money” to make life easier around your home by Becoming the Strategic Spending Single-Mom!

Over these Six days together, we will:

~Discover where the money is going,
~Discover “found money”,
~Decide how that found money can bring relief to other needs in the house, and Experience peace/relief that your obligations are once again being covered.

What you get:

~Six days of 10-20 min Facebook lives or pre-recorded sessions.
~Worksheets to help you complete your homework every day.
~a private Facebook group to share your progress, watch the videos, and interact with your coach: Marilynn Dawson.
~2 bonus weeks of accountability inside the group to help you in forming your new habits.
~Prizes!!!

Free 6 Day Challenge with prizes!
Facebook Event you can share around Facebook
Landing page where you can register to take part

I need you to register at the landing page and answer the questions on the event page afterward, so that I know who I can add to the random prize list, who I am bringing into the group, and who will get the daily emailed homework assignment. I look forward to seeing you in there next week!

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