Skint Dad’s tips for a cracking Bonfire Night

posted by in Budgeting

One person who knows how to have fun on the cheap is Ricky Willis aka Skint Dad – Recently we invited him to share his tips for a thrifty and fun Bonfire Night…take it away, Ricky!

Don’t let your money go up in flames!

Don’t let your money go up in flames!

With Bonfire Night only a few weeks away my kids are already talking about Catherine wheels, sparklers and Guy Fawkes himself.

I must admit there’s something magical about seeing thousands of different coloured sparks rain down from the pitch black sky, and hearing the far-off booms and shrieks of distant rockets. What better excuse to get wrapped up in your winter woollies and snuggle up tight with your loved ones?

Guy Fawkes Night can be a pretty pricey affair, however. Fireworks aren’t always cheap. You then need to factor in stuff like where you want to enjoy the spectacle – your back garden? What if you want to have friends and family over who’ll need feeding and watering? If a big firework display’s more your thing, you’ll need to think of food and transport for you and your brood. Keep going and soon enough, your money is bound to go up in smoke.

That said, I don’t want to be a complete spoilsport and make the kids miss out on a night of fun (even if I do feel sorry for all the scared animals). Instead I’ve come up with a handful of nifty ways we can do Bonfire Night on the cheap.

Take it outside 

It’s easy to stay indoors and watch other people’s fireworks but then you miss out on the smells and the noises that Guy Fawkes Night has to offer. Instead, wrap up warm with hats, scarf and gloves and head out to an open area like a park or field when the sun goes down.

In previous years we’ve taken our kids to one of the large firework displays near where we live but it works out so expensive and, to be honest, although it was good fun, the displays are over really quickly only to head back, covered in mud with very tired children. Looking back to a few years ago we must have spent a good £100 on everything involved in Fireworks Night and that money can definitely be spent better elsewhere.

Go take a walk around your neighbourhood and see if you can find a decent vantage point from which you can see a fair bit of your town or city skyline. We have quite a number of open spaces near us and can look up in the sky and watch fireworks for free. We also pack some hot drinks so we can keep warm while we’re out and (if the weather allows) take a picnic blanket so we can sit down to watch too. It’s the stuff memories are made of!

Throw a family firework party

Rather than trying to buy a big box of fireworks for just your family to watch, consider having a get together for a bigger group. You can often get ‘firework family packs’ which won’t seem remotely as expensive if you all pitch in a couple of quid. As for food, make it a potluck and ask everyone to bring some snacks and refreshments along.

Any leftover cash can go towards buying some jacket potatoes for supper and you could even put on a late night BBQ to have some bangers (or sausages) too!

Guy Fawkes Night grub 

While we’re on the subject of food, it got me thinking, “surely there are more exciting foodstuffs to offer up than just boring ol’ jacket spuds?”. My curiosity led me to Pinterest, that treasure trove of pretty pictures and procrastination. Turns out there’s lots of smashing snack ideas that’ll make your Guy Fawkes party go with a bang. Here are my pick of the crop:

Have a crafty Bonfire Night 

If you have young children, why not make some faux-fireworks yourself using the middle of toilet rolls, paint, glitter and ribbon? You can create some great looking rockets, then can hang them around the house or attach them to string and let the kids run around like they have mini kites. Or how about making underwater fireworks, using a jar and food colouring? Have a look here for more ideas to keep the kids entertained with some easy homemade projects.

Search for free events 

Grab your local newspaper and see if there are any free (or cheaper) charity events going on nearby. I know a number of schools near us put on events with the proceeds going towards the PTA (Parent Teacher Association for school fundraising). Not only could you get to watch a display but you’ll be able to put a bit of money back into the community.

A number of councils also hold public displays. Have a look on your local council site to see whether they have any free events planned that you could get involved with.

So there you have it: some nice and easy ideas to keep you and your family entertained over Guy Fawkes that won’t explode your budget.

Enjoy the fireworks and keep safe!

Ricky aka 'Skint Dad' has been sharing thrifty tips since September 2013. His mantra is all about spending less, cutting back, living frugally but not living without. He won the ‘UK’s Smartest Shopper’ out of thousands of entries. Ricky is father to 3 daughters and fiancée to Naomi, aka Skint Mum.

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