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How to have free family fun over the holidays


Vanessa Lahey

Vanessa Lahey

( 3 min read )

How did your budget hold up at Christmas? For most us, it’s a withered, depleted mess waiting for a New Year’s resolution of better savings.

According to the ASIC MoneySmart website, nationally we each spent an average of $955 over the Christmas period.

And 75 per cent of us dipped into our savings to pay for the gift-giving splurge. For those of us who used a credit card, we averaged $1,666 of new debt.

Without much spending money in your pocket, your challenge now is how to have free family fun over the holidays.

On the bright side, a financial blowout doesn’t mean the festive fun has to stop. There’s a bounty of fun to be had (wherever you live), without having to spend money.

Remember the old saying – the best things in life are free. It’s true, and if you put your mind to the challenge of having fun on a zero budget, you would be pleasantly surprised at what you can do.

Holidays represent an opportunity for the family to spend quality time together, without the pressure of daily life. When time and money aren’t an issue, the world is your oyster.

Here’s a list of ideas how to have free family fun over the holidays (whether you live in the city or country):

  • Visit a national park
  • Go for a picnic
  • Follow a tourist attraction sign
  • Check out your local art gallery or museum (big or small)
  • Walk around your neighbourhood
  • Take a swim somewhere to cool off
  • Visit an old friend

Get out and about without spending money

National parks are a treasure trove of wonder and a place to see native wildlife. You and your family could go camping and explore nature via the many safe walking tracks at no cost.

A picnic – if not at a national park – can be as simple as Vegemite sandwiches and a blanket on the ground. Which gives you no excuse to not grab some green space somewhere under the shade.

There’s an assortment of roadside tourist attraction signs (often referred to as brown signs) which could take you and your family to destinations you wouldn’t normally visit.

From conservation parks and botanic gardens to historic buildings and towns, scenic lookouts, monuments and other objects of unique interest. Your only cost is the fuel to get there.

When was the last time you visited your local art gallery or museum? If there’s no brown sign to lead you, a call to your local tourist information centre should be able to point you in the right direction.

If you’re not up for driving, a more relaxing option is to take in the sights and sounds of your own neighbourhood on foot. Take a tour of your local streets to catch-up on what’s been happening.   

Your meanderings might also lead you to the house of an old friend you’ve been meaning to visit but haven’t had the time. The next generation always benefits from strong ties with family friends.

One final tip – wherever you go, take bottles of water and packed lunches, so you don’t have to waste money on takeaway meals.

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