Happy frugal holidays

Summer is here and that means plenty of produce in the garden - but it also means holidays! Living off the smell of an oily rag is fun anyway, but more so when you go on a little or no cost holiday.  Here are some tips.

  • Go take a hike! Take the family on bush walks. Encourage them to appreciate nature. Most cities have a number of bush walks. Make an adventure by climbing local landmarks (like the town clock tower, if you have one... just kidding!). Why not add some fun by having a historical mystery tour of your city or town.
  • Take a tour of local businesses. Some of the larger businesses and arty-crafty places have free tours either as an information service tours or in the hope that you will buy stuff while you are there. Other places to visit may include: vineyards, a dairy farm, horse stables, a chicken farm, the local dog pound, the waste water treatment station(!), a local council meeting (and you may even get a free cup of tea and stale biscuit!), the airport.
  • Hiring a video is much cheaper than taking the family to the movies. A recent release hire costs half the price of a single admission ticket to the movies, and what's more you can usually have it for a number of days. This gives you the chance to swap videos with your friends and invite a group around for a BYO in-house movie theater evening - cook up some popcorn, make some chocolate coated ice creams, dim the lights, and action!
  • Try back-yard camping. Pitch a tent on the lawn, have a campfire, open up a can of baked beans and sausages, and toast bread over an open fire. And what's even better when nature calls you will have the convenience of using your own loo and if the weather turns bad you can shelter in the house! Now that's camping without inconvenience. One oily rag family recalls they loaded up their camper van and set off on a grand adventure. They drove around the block, only to park back in their own driveway and camp the night. The kids still recall it as one of the most memorable holidays they ever went on!
  • Have a games evening. Board games are great family fun and they are so cheap to buy at garage sales - or better still, they cost nothing when borrowed from friends. There are lots of games that are educational and fun, so it's a win-win. Why not set aside a suitable time for a family games evening and make it a regular event?
  • If you do want to have a meal out with voracious teenagers (who happen to eat more than adults) take them to an "all-you-can-eat" buffet. And don't forget to tell them that this is the only meal they are going to get all week! Imagine the look on the proprietor's face if you turned up with a bus-load of hungry teenagers!
  • If you have a spare day or two this summer, how about giving some time to volunteer work. There's no end of charities doing good work in the community that would welcome some assistance for the day. Help out at the local bird rescue or SPCA, a farm park or community garden, the museum or local arts centre, or what about the hospice or groups that support the elderly. Those who say "there's nothing to do" have simply not put their mind into gear!
  • Spend an afternoon in court! As unusual as it may seem the courthouse is actually a very enlightening place to visit. Listening to the proceedings is an eye opener - it is real life drama.
  • Do you have a favourite summer tip that you would like to share with others? If so, please send it to us at www.oilyrag.co.nz or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.

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