My current mental preoccupation is daydreaming about spring break, which will be here before we know it. No, we won’t be traveling to some tropical paradise - that’s not in the budget. Here are some thoughts on how to plan for your break with budget-friendly activities sure to please the whole family.

Like most Chicagoans, I thought there was something pretty amazing about last week’s “snowmaggedon.” But the novelty has already worn off, I’m ready for these frigid temperatures to warm and the snow maze we call a roadway to melt. My current mental preoccupation is daydreaming about spring break, which will be here before we know it. 


No, we won’t be traveling to some tropical paradise - that’s not in the budget. Here are some thoughts on how to plan for your break with budget-friendly activities sure to please the whole family.


Find some water


Whether you head to the local indoor pool or splurge on an overnight at an indoor water park, there’s nothing that will please the kids more. I’ve spent the winter months searching out deals at various water parks near our home. When I found a price we could live with, I booked it. It’s just one night, but we will get the experience of being far from our regular routine. If you’re earning debit card points, book your night with those for free.


Visit with friends


We’ll hopefully visit with our best pals in Iowa for an overnight this spring break as well. I’m not sure who will travel, but it doesn’t matter. Having a house full of friends or loved ones is just as special as traveling, if you ask me. Adults can catch up and relax while kids play - one of my definitions of “vacation.”


Hit the town


All my ideas involve more experience than expense, because our kids are sure to remember our times together far more than another video game or toy. Consider traveling to the big city near you, popping in for a museum free day and then hitting an inexpensive but interesting spot for lunch. For us, that might mean Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago, the restaurant made famous by John Belushi on “Saturday Night Live” years ago. 


Let’s all go to the movies


The movies are a big hit whenever we go; sometimes I wonder if the kids even care what we see. As long as we’re in the theater with popcorn and slushy drinks, all is good with the world. Find a local Tivoli-type theater that shows movies that have been out awhile. Most only charge $3 each, making those pricey snacks affordable. Find a good seat and enjoy the show together.


Molly Logan Anderson is a freelance writer who lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Mike, three kids and two labs. Join Molly on her family’s journey of living a frugal life and making financial freedom their reality in her columns and on her blog, www.butterfliesandmudpies.blogspot.com.