We’ve just survived a week of half term, so here’s what we got up to for fun on a budget.
As always, we took advantage of borrowing DVDs from the local library for a home movie nights, swimming at our local authority pool, going out for bike rides, inviting friends round to play, baking biscuits and letting the kids loose in local playgrounds.
But here are an extra five frugal things we did during February half term:
Went walking round Dunwich Heath
Boy was I grateful for the gorgeous weather for half term. We kicked off the first weekend by heading out to the coast at Dunwich. We’re members of the National Trust*, so parking was free, and I grabbed stuff for a super speedy picnic before we left. (Bagged up satsumas, yogurt tubes, water bottles, multi pack crisps and drinks, plus a loaf, pack of ham, bit of butter, knife and a couple of plates. Almost faster than writing it down).
There were several clearly signed routes of different lengths, so we wandered round admiring the sea, the sun on the reed beds and the gorse in full flower. My son entertained himself making marks in the mud, so he could retrace his steps if needed, right up until my daughter started adding ears and whiskers to transform them into animal faces. Sigh.
Built a den in the woods
My husband took the kids out to the local nature reserve, by the Railway Walk, and they all enjoyed building a den from fallen tree branches and leaves. My son was so proud of the den he insisted on taking me back the next day to admire it! Hours of fun, far from screens, and all for free.
Nabbed a multi pack of ice creams
While my daughter headed out for a day with the grandparents, I took my son to visit Sudbury. We did a quick trawl of the charity shops, where he picked up a 7-in-1 travel game for £3, ran off steam in Belle Vue Park, and got discounted entry to Gainsborough’s House as they were in the middle of hanging a new exhibition. My top tip for anyone hankering after ice cream is to nip into a supermarket for a multi pack, as often a box of 3 or 4 is cheaper than one individual ice cream. We forked out an entire £1.50 for four of Iceland’s version of Black Forest magnums.
Used Club Lloyds vouchers for free cinema tickets
One of my current accounts is Club Lloyds. Yes, I am a walking cliché – lured in with a student account and still with Lloyds Bank today.
I did get round to ‘upgrading’ my account to Club Lloyds though, and even though they cut the interest rate on max £5,000 to 1.5% (boo) I still get a lifestyle benefit once a year (many cheers).
You can choose between different magazine subscriptions, Gourmet Society membership or 6 free tickets for Vue or Cineworld cinemas. I reckoned the benefit we’d use the most, while spending the least extra money, was the cinema tickets.
So come half term, I took my daughter to potter round Ipswich and see ‘The Kid Who Would Be King’, while my son went for his outing with the grandparents. Endearing film, and we still have four vouchers left for a family trip to the Lego Movie 2. In total, the vouchers should save us £37.40, though if we went for six adult tickets they’d be worth as much as £53.40.
Cut the cost of eating at Prezzo
Eating out is never cheap, but there are ways to cut the cost of a treat. We headed to Prezzo after the cinema, and benefited by checking its offers online beforehand. Until 3 March (excluding Saturdays) you only pay £1 for the Kids Menu, which offers 3 courses plus a drink. There are even two Kids Menus: for under 5s and 5 to 11 year olds, so older kids get bigger helpings. Normally, it costs £3.95 for tots or £6.75 for kids.
There’s also a voucher for 40% off main courses, or if you go for the set menu, it’s £10.95 for two courses or £13.45 for three.
Now – over to you. What are your favourite frugal half term activities? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear.
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