Budget Friendly School Holidays Ideas

Today was the last day of school for 2016 in NSW. After a long year we are all ready for a little bit of a break but it doesn’t take long for boredom to set in. Here are 5 fun ideas for the school holidays that won’t break your budget.

  1. Check out your local library for fun holiday activities. I’ve mentioned before that a visit to your local library is great for cheap family entertainment but the library in our area also offers school holidays activities. My son and I have made sparkly jewellery, cute badges, sand art, we’ve been to Lego afternoons, we have even enjoyed a pizza party! Check out what is on offer in your area. Keep in mind some activities do require you to book and don’t forget to stock up on books and movies while you’re there.
  2. Have a movie night. Put on your comfiest jammies, pop some popcorn, build a pillow fort and throw on one of the movies you picked up at the library. A great (cheap) way to spend an evening with your family.
  3. Sometimes a trip away just isn’t feasible, whether due to financial or time constraints so why not have a holiday at home? My son loves to help set a tent up in the back yard and playing in it with his toys. Finish the day off with a BBQ for dinner and eat outside. The best part is your still get to sleep in your own bed! Of course if you’re feeling really adventurous you could always sleep in the tent.
  4. Do some baking. Cooking is a great activity for kids. Older kids can read the directions, younger kids can help with measuring ingredients and everyone has a turn at stirring. Once you’re done, sit down for an afternoon tea party to enjoy your spoils.
  5. Pack a picnic and head to the beach. Take your own lunch, maybe some of the treats you baked or just a few simple sandwiches. Enjoy the sun, fresh air, salt and build some sandcastles. Just remember to take lots of water, hats and sunscreen!

What type of things do you like to do during the school holidays?

Meal Plan Monday #2

This week is the last week of school in NSW before the Christmas holidays.  My family has quite a bit going on  this week so like I’ve talked about before in this post it’s important for me to have a plan. To have a look at my other posts about meal planning click here.

Monday – Spaghetti Bolognese
Tuesday – Chicken burgers
Wednesday – Curried Sausages
Thursday – Stir-fry
Friday – Pizza Party Friday Night!
Saturday – We are heading up to the Gold Coast for White Christmas at Movie World. Dinner will need to be something light before we head up so I’m thinking Chicken Caesar Salad.
Sunday – We are having early Christmas lunch with my Mum and siblings so we will be quite stuffed when we get home. We will have something simple for dinner like eggs or cheese on toast.

Have a great week! I’d love to read you meal plan for the week in the comments below.

5 Ways to Save This Summer

This week has been a scorching start to summer so I thought I would share some ways to save money this season. To read my other posts on how to save money click here.

  1. Make home-made ice blocks. These are much cheaper than store-bought ones and can be healthier because you know exactly what is in them. You can buy moulds from Kmart or Big W quite cheaply. Try blending different fruits or even just freezing fruit juice for a simple cool treat.
  2. Some days turning the air conditioner on is inevitable (if you are lucky enough to have one). To stop your power bill from skyrocketing set it to 24 degrees and make sure to turn it off before you leave the house. Paying to cool an empty house won’t do your budget any favours. This also alludes to tip number 3…
  3. Turn off any fans you aren’t using.  The number of times I’ve gone into an empty room to find someone has left a fan on is enough to drive me insane! Again, paying to cool areas you aren’t using quickly adds up. Try to get your family into the habit of only having the fan on in the room they are currently in, and if you have any ideas on ways to do this, please let me know!
  4. Consider buying a pool pass now. Trips to the pool are a wonderful day out in summer but the cost of them can quickly add up. Check out your local pool to see what kind of deals they offer on seasonal or monthly passes and purchase now to get the most use out of them before the weather cools down again.
  5. Check the seal on your fridge. Your fridge is the most used appliance in the house, running all day every day. When the door seal is damaged cold air escapes making the appliance work harder which in turn costs you more in electricity.

So there you have my 5 ways to save money this Summer. What are your best tips for saving money when the weather gets hot? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below 🙂

Meal Plan Monday #1

After Friday’s post about meal planning I thought I would start sharing my meal plan each week. So welcome to the first Meal Plan Monday! Every Monday I will be sharing my meal plan for the week. This week on my Meal Plan we have:

Monday – Tuna Pasta Bake
Tuesday – Honey Mustard Chicken
Wednesday – Tacos
Thursday – It’s my son’s Christmas Concert so we’ll be having dinner at his school. I think we will have a choice between sushi or a sausage sandwich.
Friday – Pizza Party Friday Night!
Saturday – My husband is having a boy’s night so it will just be me and my little man. I think I will do something simple like oven baked fish and sweet potato fries.
Sunday -Honey Soy Chicken

What’s on your menu this week?

Meal Planning

I’ve mentioned before that meal planning makes cooking dinner each night easier for me and helps me save money so I thought I should share  how it helps me do these things and how I plan our menu each week.

Grocery shopping happens every Sunday or Monday in my house, just depending on what we have going on that week. This means our “week” starts on Monday and so my meal plan goes from Monday to Sunday.

I start by filling in Pizza Party Friday Night. This was a tradition we began when my son first started kindergarten.  He was not at all happy with the idea of having to spend 5 days a week at school, so to make it a little easier on him, we started having pizza (his favourite food) every Friday night. We also usually watch a movie together as a way to celebrate making it through another week. Then I write in anything we have going on that week that will affect dinner. If we’re eating out, having friends over, or going somewhere special.

Next I ask my husband if there’s anything in particular he would like to eat this week and also what he is thinking for Saturday. I mentioned in my 5 Ways to Make Cooking Dinner Each Night Easier  post that my husband usually cooks on Saturday nights. If he has an unusually stressful/busy week ahead I will plan something else, usually  just something simple I can throw together or take-away, just to give myself a break. Then I ask my son what he thinks he might like to eat this week. I make no promises but I do consider the suggestions they both give me.

After that I take a  look at what we already have in the cupboard and fridge for ideas. If there’s something that needs using and I make a mental note to add it to the weeks meal plan.

Finally I look at what’s on special for the week. If something I know my family loves to eat is on special I will usually stock up, or if something I have been wanting to try is on special I will try and incorporate it into our menu for the week.

When I’ve done all of this I sit down and write out our meal plan for the next week, making a grocery list of anything I’ll need to purchase as I go. This sounds like a lot of work but really it only takes a few moments and saves me time through-out the week.

So that’s how I meal plan, let me know in the comments below how your family plans their menu for the week 🙂