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Thanks for visiting our very first ever Making Do Monday blog carnival! (Who knew that talking about being thrifty could be so exciting that we could label it a carnival?) This is an extension of the Savvy Spending Challenge, going on all month at Keeper of the Home!

I’m so eager to read about all of your ideas and tips on being frugal, saving money and just making the most out of what you’ve got! Feel free to add your link at the bottom of this post, along with your name or site name and a short description of what your post is about. For example, Kara @ HappyMommy (frugal meal planning tips). Just remember to keep it family friendly and to link to the specific blog post, rather than the homepage of your blog. Thanks for joining in!

And now, for my Making Do Monday post:

I want to share some ideas for how we can stay entertained while sticking to the Savvy Spending Challenge, with lots of free family fun and date night ideas!

Since we have demolished our usual recreation and miscellaneous budgets for the purpose of the challenge, I know that there will come times this month when we feel sorely tempted to go grab a Booster juice smoothie to share, or rent just one DVD for a family movie or date night. So, I thought I’d list some great ways to bust boredom and keep it free!

  1. Visit the library. Not only can you borrow books, magazines, etc., but it’s also fun just browsing around or if you’re lucky, sitting in an easy chair or in the kids section.
  2. While you’re at the library, rent a DVD or CD. My husband loves to rent CD’s when he’s craving new music to listen to (he’s a musician and to him, there is no such thing as owning enough music) and the money’s just not there. Also, a friend recently enlightened me about the fact you can rent DVD’s from the library, and not just documentaries (although we personally enjoy those as well). But if you do a DVD search online or at the computer terminals, they often also have a selection of regular movies, although they are not as up-to-date as the video store. But hey, $5.49 at Blockbuster or slightly older and free at the library? I know which one I’ll take.
  3. Have a themed dinner. Recently, we ate dinner off of my almost 3 year old’s plastic plates from her little kitchen set, on top of plastic kid placemats, using plastic kids cutlery and took pictures of how silly we looked. It was a bit silly, but it made our dinner feel a bit different and fun. How about a Hawaiian dinner, with leis and hula music, or a Middle Eastern dinner where you sit on pillows and blankets on the floor, or a Japanese dinner where you make your own sushi and eat with chopsticks and afterwards try making origami or doing karaoke.
  4. Pack up a picnic and go to the park. Bring a frisbee, croquet or bocci ball.
  5. Host a games night. Invite a family or two to join you, make popcorn and other goodies, and play some of your favorite games. Our personal favorites are Settlers of Catan and Taboo, but you can play whatever you like. :)
  6. Read together. Make some coffee or hot cocoa (or carob), and read a novel together. This is a fun excuse to read a good book that you wouldn’t normally take the time to read.
  7. Find out about local festivals or special days. Recently a small town nearby hosted a Cranberry Festival, so we packed up the kids in the rain and went with my parents to check it out. There were lots of goodies to taste, booths to look at, music to listen to, etc. Check the internet to see if our city has a site with local events, or if your newspaper has an events column.
  8. Go through old photos or personal videos. My husband and I recently spent a Friday night organizing all of our digital photos on the computer, and I thought it would feel tedious. But, it was actually a really great, nostalgic night, as we remembered so many sweet moments in our marriage, our travels and with our kids.
  9. Be a tourist in your own town. Have you ever actually visited the museum or art gallery or a historical center where you live? I know that there are lots of places nearby that we haven’t explored yet.
  10. Check the internet and see if there is a family activities site for your area. In Vancouver, there is a site that I’ve used before called Find Family Fun in Vancouver. It is full of different places to explore, all within a couple of hours of where we live, and many of them right nearby us. Some cost money and some are free, but a good site will tell you what to expect. For instance, I just googled “Chicago family fun” and came up with a site that lists events and activities in the Chicago area.
  11. Rather than go out for dinner with your spouse, after the kids go to bed (put them down a little early, they’ll never know!) set the table with a nice tablecloth and candles, put some music on and eat a special meal together. Make a yummy desert to eat while you snuggle in front of the fire.
  12. Trade babysitting with another family, and go somewhere like Chapters or Borders (make sure you bring your own hot drinks in mugs so you’re not tempted by the Starbucks!) and wander around, looking at books you’re interested. Or just walk around the mall and window shop (I’d suggest a walk outdoors, but at least where I live it’s fall and rainy and wet outside), enjoying each other’s company. Just don’t bring your wallets or any cash! The point is being together, not spending money.

That’s it for me- now I’d love to hear from you! Just click below to enter you name, topic and link, and then please leave a comment. Thanks for joining us!

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