While the summer holidays give you a great chance to spend quality time together as a family, they can also put a strain on your budget as you strive to keep the kids entertained and Santa’s wish list to come true. Having fun doesn't have to be expensive; there are plenty of cheap, or even free, activities you can engage in to keep everyone happy.
Perhaps the best thing about living in New Zealand is the chance to enjoy the Christmas holidays in the sun. Those who live near a beach have a free source of unlimited outings, while other locations like swimming rivers, national parks and sports fields also give you options for a cheap family day out. By including friends in your trips out, you can increase the fun without footing a huge bill.
Even your backyard can be turned into a playground with the small addition of a croquet course, plastic cricket set or goals and a football, or even using items from around the garden and turning them into an obstacle course! All without breaking the bank.
Arts and crafts may not be for everyone, but they're an easy way to keep younger children entertained. With Christmas as a theme, there are plenty of opportunities to get crafty, whether that's using cotton wool to create Santa beards or starting a tradition of family-built ornaments and decorations for your home. You can also encourage your children to create presents for friends and extended family, saving you a bit extra on your gift bill.
While going to the cinema can be an expensive trip for the whole family, with the advent of movie streaming services and a few video stores still hanging on, you can have the cinema experience at home. Microwave popcorn and big bottles of soft drinks can be bought for just a few dollars from the supermarket, making the whole night – film rental included – cheaper than a single ticket for the cinema, and a lot more comfortable too.
Another big aspect of Christmas time is the food, and it always tastes better when it's homemade. Involve your children in the kitchen and whip up a batch of biscuits, a traditional cake or whatever treats are most loved in your home. Trying to get them involved in the clean-up can be trickier, but bribing them with the freshly baked goodies can work wonders.
Explore your city
There are plenty of free or cheap things to do in most cities. Whether it's a trip to a museum, art gallery or library, or you've found a great coupon on a discount site, taking your kids out to see what your city has to offer needn't be expensive.
The key to keeping children happy is to keep them busy. When they're occupied, they won't notice that you're not spending big bucks on them, and they're more likely to have a great holiday because of all the time you're spending together.
If you're feeling strapped for cash, a personal loan can help you through a tough patch. The majority of loans are funded within 24 hours after appearing on the Harmoney marketplace, making a huge difference to your family's holidays and experiences.