Winter is expensive in all kinds of ways and, whether we like it or not, the colder the temperature gets the bigger the dent in our wallets. If it’s not buying warmer clothes it’s spending more on gas or electricity to keep the house at the very least habitable. Another financial concern is keeping the kids entertained throughout the winter months. It’s ok during the warmer months – depending on location we can take the kids to the park, the beach, for a picnic, a day exploring the woods, walking in the hills, the list is endless. The beauty of these activities is that none of them cost a penny (apart from petrol perhaps). However, most of these are off limits during the cold season. If your kids are anything like mine, they’re not happy sitting inside weekend after weekend. They want to get outside and do something fun. The problem is that you don’t want the kids traipsing around in the cold, but you don’t have the money to take them anywhere. So what do you do? You have to get searching the net, that’s what you do!
Since the turn of the year, I’ve spent £40 on activities for the kids and we’ve managed to do something nearly every Saturday and Sunday since. I’ve done it by regularly checking daily deals websites. I’ve signed up to all of them and receive emails every morning telling me the best deals of the day. I have got a life though, I swear. There are, what seems like, a tonne of these websites out there at the moment and they’re all trying to beat each other for your pennies, meaning that some of the activities you find on them are priced scandalously low. The main ones we use are Wowcher, Groupon, Voucher Codes, Hot UK Deals and Voucher Cloud. I’ve picked out a few of the activities we’ve done over the past weeks to show you what kinds of things you can find. Some of the things we’ve done I would never have really considered before.
Introductory Skiing Session
I used to snowboard as a teenager and into my early twenties but, since the birth of our two rascals, I’ve not really had a chance.
Granted, this one was more for me than the kids, but they’re adventurous children and at an age now where they’re starting to love adrenalin. For 5 and 7, they’re completely fearless.
The deal was an introductory skiing session for kids at the Milton Keynes Snow Dome. It cost £5 for each of them and nothing for me because I snuck onto the slope with my own equipment. Apologies to Milton Keynes Snow Dome.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen this deal and there are a number of snow domes around the country, so it’s not particularly location dependent.
£10 for a great day out. Plus the kids have now got a new hobby and, when we can afford it, we can take them away for a week of skiing and know that they’re going to enjoy it.
A Day At Namco
I don’t remember if this existed when I was young but, if it did, I feel hugely deprived for never having been taken.
Namco is every child’s dream. There are locations in nearly all of the major towns and cities across the country housing bowling alleys, game centres, soft play areas, pool tables and in-house entertainment.
Quite simply, it’s incredible. The kids loved it when we went and it only cost £6 for each of us. I found this one of Voucher Cloud I think.
For £6 we got two games of bowling, a drink and unlimited access to the soft play area. The kids spent so long in the play area that I had to fork out on an additional lemonade while I waited (humbug), but all in all great value.
If we’re going to get a pizza (which is rare), we’ll normally order one for delivery rather than go out.
However, the kids love the ‘ice cream factory’ at Pizza Hut so we’ll occasionally take them to the restaurant instead. And by the kids loving the ice cream factory, what I really mean is that I love the ice cream factory.
So when I saw the words pizza vouchers in an email from Groupon, I did kind of wet myself a little bit in the hope that it’d be vouchers for Pizza Hut.
It wasn’t. It was vouchers for Pizza Express instead. But still, it was nice to go out to a decent restaurant and spend less than £20 in total, including meals and drinks for four people (£5 for each of the kiddies).
The cinema is ridiculously expensive these days. I remember going to the movies as a 15-year-old and paying £2.50 a ticket and then £1.99 for a popcorn and drink combo. Sometimes I’d throw in a hot dog too if I was feeling flush, but that’s beside the point.
My partner and I went to the cinema before Christmas and it cost, wait for it, £8.95 a ticket! Popcorn was £3.50, a fizzy drink was £3.50 and I’m so disgusted with the new price of hot dogs that I’m not even going to mention the cost. Anyway, you get the point.
So imagine my delight when I saw a deal on Voucher Codes for a £12 family ticket to see the movie of our choice.
We took the kids to see Life Of Pi, which they had been wanting to see ever since they saw the trailer on tele. I have to admit, it was pretty good for a kids film. £12 well spent (£3 on each of them).
Live Football Match
A few of the daily deals websites have started to offer tickets to sporting events, which is great news for a sports nut like myself.
I‘ve taken the kids to football matches before and they’ve loved it, but we just haven’t had the money to go on a regular basis.
I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw tickets going for £1 for under 16s to watch Norwich City play Luton Town in the FA Cup. Adult tickets were £8, which is still a real bargain if you’re familiar with ticket prices these days.
Unfortunately Norwich lost the match but we still had a great time despite the score line and the freezing temperatures. And for £10 all in (£1 each for the kids), it made the day out extra special.
So there you have it. It is possible to still keep the kids entertained with outdoor activities throughout the winter months, without spending a fortune.
You just have to know where to look, and now you do!