Have Fun, Spend Less: Kickstart 2023 Creatively
The holiday season can certainly be fun and magical, but let’s be honest, December is a month that can be hard on a family’s budget. Even if you set ground rules, chances are your spending exceeded some of your best intentions.
Bottom line? All that hustle and bustle can take a toll, making January the perfect time to slow down, simplify and pinch a few pennies—especially when it comes to family fun.
All it takes is a little research and creativity! To get you started, here’s a list of simple, engaging activities right in your backyard that cost nothing but yield big fun and learning for the whole family:
- Public Library Story Time. Head to your local branch and build your child’s love for books. Enjoy stories and songs and the excitement of selecting their own books to take home and read.
- Playground Crawl. Line up three or four of the best playgrounds in your area and head out for a day of kid-sized adventures. Pack sunscreen, snacks—or a full picnic lunch—and plenty of water!
- Beach Scavenger Hunt. Even in the winter, there’s fun to be had at the water’s edge. Make a list and start hunting for all kinds of beachy treasures. You can even take photos of your finds!
- Go Geocaching. Get outside and search for caches hidden in a variety of locations including parks, neighborhoods and hiking trails. When selecting your cache, be sure to note difficulty and terrain ratings.
- Free Museums. Art, science, history—museums are awesome, and many don’t charge any admission or have free admission days. One of our favorite picks is the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. The Museum of Discovery & Science in Fort Lauderdale has some free events including their upcoming Science Under the Sun 2-day festival.
- Backyard Camp Out. Get to know your backyard in a whole new way. All you need is a tent and sleeping bags, flashlights for exploring and some tasty snacks.
- Themed Movie Night. Go for big laughs, embrace a period romance, scare yourselves silly or binge a classic trilogy. With costumes and customized snacks, of course!
- At-Home Spa Day. High school is stressful, so treat your teens to some rest and relaxation. With products you already have in the house, line up a full day of manis and pedis, facials and blowouts to help them look and feel their best.
- Stargazing. Meet up with your area’s local astronomy club—think dark beaches and state parks with little light pollution—and explore the night sky through actual telescopes. Learn about and locate planets, stars and entire constellations!
Remember, whatever activity you choose, a parent’s undivided and encouraging attention is what a child truly wants and needs. In fact, researchers are finding that quality often trumps quantity.
And with the money you’re saving, you can take a tangible step toward your child’s college education by opening a Florida Prepaid College Plan or Florida 529 Savings Plan. They’re flexible, and they can serve your student at one of Florida’s 12 public universities and 28 state colleges, or even be used at private and out-of-state schools. Open an account in only 15 minutes. Open your new plan now.