Our Friday night routine used to consist of play dates (we’re parents) at various, local venues such as the roller skating rink, the bounce house, or Chuck E. Cheese (oh, the horror). Along with that went, a trip to Pizza Hut, Isaac’s, or dare I say it, McDonald’s. This seemed necessary to us only a few short months ago. Silly us. These days, we have our frugal antennas up. Way up. We are now opting for house play dates and frozen pizza!
Since starting down the road less traveled to early retirement, we have started to scrutinize every single purchase we make and every single action we take. Friday nights were no exception. We didn’t want to change our routine or make ourselves, or Mini Monster feel deprived, so…we improvised. We decided to switch play dates from an evening at an over-priced, kid-focused, money factory to someone’s house. We either host, or we are hosted every Friday night for our new, frugal shindig. Along with the play date, we gotta eat, right? Instead of an expensive trip to The Hut (you know what I’m talking about), we now cook up a couple frozen pizzas to satiate our tummies during this time of hunger need. The BEST part…Mini Monster actually prefers it! She says it takes too much of their play time to eat out. Her and her friends definitely prefer just running around the house and grabbing a bite on the go, as opposed to wasting an hour in an uncomfortable restaurant eating crappy food.
We Have Options, You Have Options, We All Have Options!
It’s no shocker that eating at home is significantly cheaper than dropping a 20 spot (or more) on fast food. Since we decided budgets are for the birds and cut ours out of our lives entirely, we traded it for scrutinizing Every. Single. Purchase.
NOTE: Since going ultra frugal, we have dramatically enhanced our lives by figuring out low to no-cost alternatives to past, expensive activities. The switch has been amazing and Mini Monster hasn’t even noticed. Success!
Okay, back to the post! In order to not break the bank with our make-it-at-home-pizza, we always look for the frozen pizza sale of the week! This week? Red Baron 2 for $7! I was actually planning on the generic store brand (which I love), but Red Baron was on sale for $2 LESS than the store brand. This was a no-brainer. We also use this strategy for ice cream. We NEVER buy generic ice cream. When companies compete, the consumer (us) wins! Last week we scored Friendly’s ice cream for less money than the generic brand. Delicious!
Let’s not forget, the play date can also be tweaked. There could be a theme. There could be different kids. There could be a trip to the park. The kids could surprise you with a puppet show! We were lucky enough to enjoy a free puppet show last Friday. Front row seating! The possibilities are ENDLESS 🙂
This week will be no exception. I’ll start by sending out a text message to check availability and set up the date. If the date is at our house, we provide the frozen pizzas. If not, they provide the frozen pizzas. It all works out. The evening usually commences around 6PM and lasts until 9 or 10PM. The kids get their exercise and get to explore their creativity. The adults get to have relaxed conversation with other adults! It does, sometimes, get late, but it’s not a school night. The kiddos get to sleep in the next day. And so do mom and dad! A true win all around.
Our Fall has consisted of free activities/entertainment:
-Flashlight Walks (Mini Monster loves this one)
-Cemetery strolls (Halloween!)
And we’re always on the hunt for new ideas. If you have some, send them our way!
What kind of activities or traditions have you tweaked to fit your frugal lifestyle?
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