Creating Family Traditions
I love making new family traditions, but doing this while trying to cut your budget can be tricky. When we started our debt-free journey we had to introduce new family traditions that were budget-friendly. Before when we didn’t have kids, we naturally did this by going out to eat only during Happy Hour. Our legendary Walk & Talks in our community and at the beach were our weekly go-to for relaxation and great conversations. But once we had kids, it seemed like the “traditional” family traditions needed to be implemented. This is when we had to get creative, especially since we still had to pay off debt. So, we focused on turning budget cuts into family traditions that we actually love and could do all year long.
How we Cutting the Budget
For us, it all started with Valentine’s Day. We realized that instead of us going out to a fancy dinner costing $200+, we could do something with our loved ones on this lovely day. One thing we realized during Valentine’s Day is that seafood is usually on sale at almost every grocery store we went to. We then decided to experiment and do a family-style seafood boil at home just like a local restaurant in San Diego called Crab Hut. It was a huge success and one of the simplest meals I’ve ever made. Ever since then we started this small tradition that made everyone feel included and loved. That’s the whole point of family traditions and celebrations, right? And now that my daughter’s birthday falls on the day after Valentine’s Day, we continue this family tradition with a Happy Birthday cake.
The Budget Cuts
The new family traditions that you create should help you stay on budget and get those little goosebumps of happiness. I want to share a few ways that my family has cut our budget down, while still creating fun family traditions. The best place to start cutting your budget is in the lifestyle section. These are going to be restaurants, entertainment, play money, and clothes. These are all the things that make our lives feel fun but can be lowered to save some money. But they can also open the door to a new opportunity to start some family traditions.
Here are some tips for creating budget-friendly family traditions:
- Make Dinner an Experience
- Create Some Family Hobbies
- Add Weekly Walk & Talks
Make Dinner an Experience
On Instagram, you will catch my Friday appetizer nights in full swing with amazing dishes that we put together to enjoy as a family. Why do we do this? Because it’s fun and it’s cheaper than going to a restaurant. This isn’t us being cheap, it’s more of us creating a new family tradition of making our dinner time a special occasion. Here is how we do it!
Theme It: Add a fun theme to your family dinners
Before I got married I use to make a brown sugar salmon, that my husband loved, every Wednesday. When we played Taboo everyone thought we were cheating because I would say “Wednesday” and my husband would respond “salmon”. Everyone would say what does Wednesday has to do with salmon? Well, we themed our dinners for each day of the week and it was filled with meals we loved. This made it easy to look forward to Salmon Wednesdays or Taco Tuesday during the workweek. We consistently stick to creating meal plans around these themes so that our kids can also look forward to eating the foods that they like every week.
Here are some of our classic meal prep themes that we enjoy as a family:
Monday – Italian Mondays
Tuesday – Taco Tuesday
Wednesday – Salmon Wednesdays
Thursday – Healthy/ Vegan Thursdays
Friday – Appetizer/Pizza Night
Weekend – BBQ/Family Style
Add Creativity: to Family Night
At my house we love pizza and honestly, when I was pregnant I would order it every Friday. After dealing with morning sickness all day, the only thing I wanted to eat was pizza. Nowadays, we have more mouths to feed and ordering pizza always led us to buy more items on the menu. We ended up spending more money than we expected every Friday on pizza and we needed a better solution. So we started a new family tradition of making our own pizza.
Yes, we make our own pizza and the kids love it! Right, when my daughter sees the pizza dough she starts pulling the chair out to help. We can literally make two pizzas for the price of one medium pizza from Pizza Hut. This is just one of our family night traditions that we enjoy with our kids. We also have added making fun appetizers like flatbread, wings, and even some healthy options like spring rolls. These are the fun nights that all the family loves coming over to enjoy together.
Up the Experience: Make it feel like a restaurant
One of the biggest tips to make your family dinners more special is to make the experience feel like a restaurant. Your home can be as fun as any Happy Hour or any themed restaurant. Make it feel that way by getting fun appetizer plates, a lazy susan (rotating tray) or serving platers and bowls. We do this with appetizer night, taco night, and many of our other DIY foodie creations. We’ve noticed that when we make the presentation of the food look good the kids are more open to trying it and clearing their plate. We’ve had so much fun with this tip that I highly recommend to do this at least once a week.
Create Some Family Hobbies
I think everyone needs their individual hobbies, but having family hobbies that everyone can do together is so special in so many ways. We personally started a family hobby of photography. My husband takes the photos and edits, while I prep the shoot and pick the clothes. We work together to take unique photos of our kids and family. This has been an ongoing hobby that we picked up once I got pregnant and still continue to this day as you can see on my blog. One thing that I didn’t expect from this family hobby was that my kids would grow up naturally loving photography and videography.
Add Weekly Walk & Talks
I always get advised to do as many date nights with my husband as possible to keep the marriage going. I honestly think date nights are fun, but won’t fix some of the biggest issues most marriages have which is communication. Instead of taking weekly date nights, my husband and I have gotten into the routine of doing Walk & Talks. This is where we go out for a walk and talk about whatever is on our mind, bothering us, or just a deep conversation in general. We did this when we dated and even now that we’re married. By having this budget-friendly tradition we’re prioritizing our communication in order to keep our marriage going on a positive route.
The Closing Challenge
I want to challenge your family to list out the foods and things that you enjoy doing together. Let’s find an economical way of doing more of what we enjoy doing together and less of the other stuff. For us, it’s taking our own photography and making fun appetizers. But, for you, it might be playing family soccer or doing family road trips. All I know is that we all can benefit from doing more with the ones we love more frequently. And cutting the budget is just an extra perk to the special moments that money can’t buy.