Habits of frugal (but fun!) families

Frugal can be fun -- seriously! Use these seven tips to keep your family’s budget on track while still doing what you love and enjoying life.

1. Be entertained in new ways. Take advantage of free entertainment at events like parades and concerts, and destinations like outdoor farmers’ markets.
2. Enjoy free fun year-round. Every season offers different forms of free fun -- watch an outdoor movie under the stars in the summer, hop on a hayride at an apple orchard or pumpkin patch in the fall, skate circles at your local ice rink in the winter, and visit your local museum on a “free admission” day in the spring.
3. Swap rather than shop. Plan a neighborhood swap meet where you can trade gently-used clothing or books. Swapped items will find happy new homes!
4. Be intentional about gift-giving. Create a family spending limit on holiday gifts. Or, exchange names with your relatives so everyone only buys a gift for one other person. You’ll save money, time, and effort so you can focus on what really matters on special occasions.
5. Institute a “no spend day.” Reserve one night a week to cook at home and host a game night or watch a movie.
6. Get your family on board. Decide on financial goals as a family and track your savings as it rises. It’s easier to stay inspired and on track when everyone buys in.
7. Vacation wisely. It may be tempting to throw your frugal habits out the window on vacation, but it’s easy to mix some frugality in with your indulgences! To get the best deals, plan your vacation well in advance and check multiple sites for low airfares. Once you’ve reached your destination, enjoy free or inexpensive experiences at parks, national landmarks and beaches.