Friday, May 2, 2014

The Cheaper the Better!

I’ve learned, over five years of parenting, that the cheapest forms of entertainment are often the best. Not just at home, where craft with household bits and pieces are a bigger hit than huge expensive toys, but on holidays too.

Bozo has a grandmother who insists on taking him to all the big, expensive things. Movies, Agricultural Shows, Luna Park, the circus and more. If there’s a cost of admission she’ll do it. It seems like she’s trying to buy his love. Husbeast gets frustrated at this, because he feels like it leaves us with very few things to do when we have him, but I disagree. I know that with kids, even older ones, the novelty value is key. Yes, Luna Park is pretty awesome fun, and the Show is full of rides, but so what? Let her spend all her money on things he won’t remember and hardly appreciates! 

Kids get joy out of new experiences, they don’t care how much adults spend on them! Last year, we took Boo and Bozo to Melbourne for a family event. The day after the event we had a whole day ahead of us with nothing to do, so we created a game plan. We packed lunch in backpacks, caught the train into the city from where we were staying in Ringwood, and gave the kids my Polaroid camera to play with. Each child had $10 pocket money to last them the day. Total cost so far? $28 (including the train fare off our Myki accounts).
When is a treat more than a treat? When it includes a train ride!

From Flinders St station, we hopped a train to Spotswood and walked to Scienceworks, where we spent at least 2 hours exploring, learning and playing. We ate our lunches outside in their amphitheatre and hit the playground, then spent more time in the section for smaller kids, giving Boo her fun. Total cost so far? $38 – Scienceworks cost next to nothing.
Unlocking the secrets of the universe.

Another train back into the city and we walked through the Royal Arcade off Bourke St to visit Suga. Suga is a traditional hard candy store that actually makes their candy out on display for people to see. The kids were allowed a sample each and used their pocket money to buy a sample bag to share. No cost there, they already had their money!
When you're 4, a playground is all the excitement you need.

We wandered around the city, taking in the atmosphere – the kids and I are mad for finding alleys with graffiti, and this time we even found graffiti artists at work! The kids had a blast in Federation Square taking photos of birds, passers-by and trams on Flinders St. Tired now, especially with me being 5 months pregnant, and knowing we had to drive home after reaching Ringwood, we jumped back on the train. By the time we reached Ringwood Station, the kids had only spent $2 each of their pocket money and had spare to save and the whole day all-up cost Husbeast and I around $50 total. 

I'm a sucker for this kind of thing - Photographer's paradise!
We do trips like that anytime we’re in Melbourne, finding cheap or free things to do either just as a family or with friends. My kids always take a film camera of some sort, and I take my digital one. They always remember these excursions and talk about them for months – the trip I’ve talked about was a year ago and Bozo still talks about it everytime we see him!

Why bother spending money on showbags full of junk? It’s fun to spoil the kids occasionally, but so often it’s true what they say – ‘The Best Things in Life Are Free’!

I’m linking up with Ann at Help!! I’m Stuck for Things I Know, and Flogging my Blog at With Some Grace today. Happy Friday!


  1. Happy Friday! I agree with you the cheaper the better. We are in Sydney and sometimes just going to Darling Harbour and walking around is enough.

  2. It's so true that kids don't like something because we spend tons of money on it. Mr 4's favourite thing is to go to the beach, which is 20 minutes away so costs us next to nothing. Often we catch a bus down and do the whole tourist drive and he loves watching the scenery.

  3. Yes yes yes, we spent the morning feeding ducks, watching a pelican, a swan protect her eggs at our nearby lake, they had fun with nature and it cost me $1 for a loaf of bread (which I know I should not give ducks but they kids were begging) Have you changed your site? Looks different - love it!

  4. I have a whole post planned on this very topic. Kids and their attitude towards life these days is a pet hate of mine. The Ï want"generation drives me mental.

    Looks like you had a great day!! Thanks for linking up!!