Inexpensive pleasures

Donna Willan Money cents

In my first blog post I was lamenting how much money we spend over holidays. I promised to try to do it differently and to let you know how this panned out over the Easter holidays. A four-day weekend and school holidays is a lethal combination that can certainly break the budget that I was reflecting on a few weeks back. It’s so tempting, with beautiful autumn days at the coast and free time just calling for some fun, which for some reason usually means spending more money than we have!

So this is what my kids and I did: we talked about our plan a few days before and all got to choose one fun thing to do. The challenge was that it had to be cheap or free, and there were bonus points if you could think of something free! Then my ‘reward’ to us after we had agreed on three affordable pleasures was to announce that we could also have one ‘expensive’ treat. We chose pizza at our favourite beachfront restaurant – we are human after all and can’t always be living on a shoestring….

So what did we do: an evening of pizza and wine at home with loads of friends; we made it ourselves instead of ordering in, which was cheap and such fun, from making our own toppings to letting the kids run wild in the garden all night, no trying to get them to sit still!! We invited friends over for an Easter egg hunt (yes, even adults can enjoy that), with loads of cheap Easter eggs (the trick is quantity not quality, and divide them equally at the end to avoid tears), some hot cross buns, coffee and juice, and we all had an awesome morning. Then we went to uShaka Water World (OK that is a cheat as we have an annual membership that we buy in December on our Christmas bonus – but it’s a good plan to have something like this, as it supports marine research and provides “free” fun during the year).

By Tuesday we’d all had a wonderful, busy holiday break and my son actually asked that we do nothing and simply ‘chill for a few days’! And the best part is that we hardly spent any money – success – this time anyway!

Next column I’m going to think about my financial goals for the year; we are a third of the way through the year, what are my goals for the year and am I on track?


Money Cents blog

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