Now that it's Summer, and the kids are off school, your budget can easily be stretched trying to keep them entertained.
However, entertaining the whole family doesn't have to break the bank. Below are ten tips for keeping the kids happy on a shoestring.
For more money-saving advice for all the family, have a look on this website. You might find the 'Money guides' particularly useful.
1. Why not go on a family camping trip?
If you haven't already got a tent, you could borrow one from friends or family, and there's no need to spend a huge amount on petrol either – you could even camp out in your back garden!
2. You could go 'exploring'…
Rather than spending money on expensive tickets for things like theme parks, consider taking the kids out to the countryside to explore nature. It's healthy, and, what's more, will hardly cost you a thing – just a bit of energy and imagination.
3. A cheaper alternative to buying expensive ice creams and treats when taking your kids on days out?
Think about taking a freezer bag with you full of ice lollies and drinks – so your kids can still have a treat at a fraction of the cost.
4. Consider having 'baking days'
By combining the two things most kids love most – getting messy and eating cake (!) – you could save a fair bit of money on buying ready-made cakes, and spend some valuable time together.
5. Think about getting membership for your local attractions
You could save a substantial amount of money at your local museum or zoo by getting a year-long family membership. It's educational, and if you regularly take your kids, the membership fee could pay for itself in just a few months.
6. Organise 'playdates' for your kids and their friends
You could make a 'jungle' in the living room out of chairs and duvets, or let them raid the dressing-up box. And, what's more, you could get a free afternoon yourself when it's the other parents' turn.
7. On rainy afternoons, why not have a board game tournament? It's mentally stimulating and good fun, and could keep your kids occupied for hours.
8. Perhaps you could take your kids to the local library
Many kids love delving into the exciting new worlds opened up to them through reading, so let them satisfy their curiosity and search out new interests.
9. You could arrange a toy/clothes swap…
Arrange a big clothes and toy exchange with neighbours and other kids and parents, which could save you a substantial amount on buying items brand new.
10. Why not rent a film and have a movie night?
A big bag of popcorn, plus a children's classic = happy kids!
What are your ideas for inexpensive Summer fun?