Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Frugal Files: Frugal & Fun Family Reunions!!

Hey frugal folks!!

Welcome back to the Frugal Files!! Since, it’s July, you know that it’s time for Family Reunions!! It’s all about food, folks and fun during these times, but they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg!! Here’s a few suggestions on how to have great fun with the fam without spending too much!!

1) Prepare early – Have periodic meetings to discuss the reunions and what you want. Do you want to have it at a local park? The beach? Out of town? Is this a significant year you want to celebrate with more than just a picnic? Maybe a banquet or fashion show? What about a family cruise? All of these things would need to be both decided and paid for up front. Establish a tradition. Regardless, get your family there and enjoy the fun.

2) Potluck – This is my answer to EVERY large family or friends’ function. It is so simple and easy on everyone’s pockets. If you’re fortunate enough to have reunion meetings, where family members pay dues, then the fund can pay for the most expensive items like the meat. Then everyone else’s individual families can split up the side dishes and desserts.

If there’s no fund, then make a list of food needed and all family members, then split the costs equally. Every family can bring a meat, side and dessert. Make sure to bring enough for EVERYONE, not just an individual family. Also, if you know your favorite Aunt makes the best peach cobbler or your Dad has pefected the most perfect BBQ, make sure that’s the food they bring and plan according. It’s imperative that everyone bring their “A” game to this family function.

3) Bring your own games – Having a family day at the park or on the family’s property? Then be sure to bring your own entertainment. In my family, my Dad and uncle were the King of Games and everyone fell in line yearly, making it a tradition. Break out several decks of cards and have a Spades or Bid Whist tournament. Even without a tournament, grab yourself a partner and lay your cards on the table.

For the kids (and the adults that are big kids), fill up small balloons with water for a water toss. That’s when you and your partners line up across from each other and toss the water balloon to each other. Once the line is done, everyone moves further apart. If you burst your balloon you’re out. Whoever is left standing with their balloon in tact is the winner. The fun thing about this is by the time the end of the game comes around water will be splashing all over the place. Once you’ve played a few games, take the rest of the balloons and have a water balloon fight!! Fun times!!

In addition to the water toss, our family always had an egg toss too. The eggs combined with the heat…gross, but it was still fun to see the eggs burst on people!! Messy, but hilarious!! Then of course, there’s other games to be played like checkers, freeze tag, tic, tac, toe and one of my favorites: BINGO!! So addition to bringing your own games, have everyone donate a prize for the Bingo games. You don’t even have to buy one, find something around your home you never use and donate it to your family. They make great BINGO prizes.

4) Share Transportation – This year is our 60th family reunion and it’s in another state. So, I’m suggesting the same thing my parents suggested, to charter a bus so more people can go and spend less. No need to drive or carpool or even worry about directions. Everyone split the cost of the bus, bring your own snacks and enjoy the ride and the festivities when you get there. Usually your portion of the bus will be less than if you drove your own car there and back.

A word about the snacks, use coupons to get yours. My daughter and aunts love Sunflowers seeds. I like them too, so when I realized I had four coupons for them, making them free, I was set. We’re ready to board the bus. So find some discounts and coupons on items like water, juice and snacks and take along on the ride.

5) Change the Date – My last suggestion may be a bit unorthodox, but who says family reunions have to be in the summer? Perhaps you can have one in the fall where amusement parks and other places won’t be as crowded. Consider having a holiday banquet as a family reunion, or a Ski trip in the winter. Regardless of where or when it is, if can be both enjoyable and frugal for your family. Choose what works for you, while you make and cherish the memories.

What ways do you celebrate family? What are your tips in having a safe, fun and frugal reunion? Tell me in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter!!

Frugalicious Diva
Follow me on Twitter at @FrugaliciousDva

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