Things have been a bit miserable lately, bad weather (combined with a drought!), a whole bucket-full of bad news about the economy and to top it all off Britain’s Got Talent is no longer on TV.
Despite all this there have been three signs lately that things might be changing for the better in 2012.
Sign 1: An English team beat a German team on penalties in the final of a major football competition just ahead of Euro 2012.
Sign 2: There is a double bank holiday coming up.
Sign 3: It’s currently 23C in Leeds city centre and the weather across the country is set to be scorching for the whole of the weekend.
With this in mind, it’s a cheerful Frugal Friday feeling in the MoneyAware office and we’ve come up with smashing list of five things you can do for free on a wonderful weekend of sun worshipping.
1. Get the shrimps on the barbie!
I know what you are thinking: BBQs aren’t free! You have to buy meat and food. Well, not if you’ve been invited to someone else’s! OK, it’s good manners to take something along to show good willing.
Perhaps make some homemade ice lollies that the kids will love by using dilute juice and your freezer? You can make all sorts of flavours on the cheap and adults and kids alike will love them!
Even better, if you’re doing your own BBQ invite some guests around to provide the food. Tell them to bring some burgers and sausages while you provide the cheaper ingredients and the venue!
2. Budget and burn!
Most people never look at their budget or go through their bills and statements; there is always something else to do.
If you’re planning on sunbathing in the garden or park this weekend why not take a pad and a pen and start putting together an accurate up-to date budget and looking for arrears that you can make savings or get a better deal.
If you have budget, spending a day in the sun going over it to make sure it’s up to date is good advice. After all it’s better and more productive than lying there and doing nothing.
3. Beach blanket boot sale
I suspect that there will be a fair few car boot sales popping up over this weekend. Most take place early in the morning while it’s still cool. If you’re anything like me you’ll be up early anyway on a hot weekend so why not spend an hour or so clearing out the garage or loft looking for things that you could sell.
It’s a good way to make a few quid, have some fun and you’ll be home in time to be ready for those prime sunbathing hours.
4. Park’s the place to be
If you don’t have a garden to sunbathe we’re lucky enough in Britain to have lots of local parks and places of interest where you can find a warm spot to chill out.
If you’re travelling a little way for your R&R remember to take your drinks and snacks with you. A cool bag or a frozen bottle from home will pay dividends in the long run. One reason why a lot of places such as stately homes have free grounds is that they bank on you paying over the odds for an ice cream or cold drink. Get packed up and take your own supplies.
5. Kids will love this
If you’ve got young children (or even teenagers) and you’re low on funds and worried how you’re going to entertain them in the heat I have a quick tip.
Buy some balloons.
Kids love playing with water when it’s hot and as long as it doesn’t get too out of hand letting them play ‘water bombs’ will entertain them for hours. As will the use of any water pistols or old well washed out squeezy bottles. As long as they’re supervised its a great cheap way to keep children entertained whether they are a toddler, or, quiet often a first year student.
In all seriousness, the weather is great this weekend for everyone whether you have debt problems or not. This goes to show that really the best things in life are free.