FAMILIES up and down the country are having to find new ways to bite back at the credit crunch and keep the kids entertained – but one Quarmby family have been having fun for free for years.
The Lloyd family have been coming up with ingenious ways of having a cheap holiday or a free family day out.
And with four children, Alison and Trevor Lloyd found that it was child’s play getting them to take part in activities which have led to a lifetime of happy memories.
From camping in their garden to house swapping with friends for a holiday – Alison, 40, Trevor, 42 and their children, Sam, 16, Bethany, 15, Anna, 13 and Abi, 11 have saved thousands of pounds over the years.
House swapping holidays have become the norm with the Lloyd family staying at friends’ homes from Lancaster to Swansea.
In fact the children are only now planning to go on their first foreign holiday soon with a trip to Florida.
Alison added: “We’re all really looking forward to it but one of our best holidays was a trip to Wales in a cottage we hired with family friends.
“We’ve also stayed at friends’ houses many times and we’ve had many great times – it’s always been an adventure which everyone loves.”
And it’s not just holidays – over the years the children have been able to come up with wild and wonderful ways to keep the whole family busy – often for free.
Alison, a youth worker, said: “I wanted to stay at home with them when they were young as money was short.
“So we had to find ways for four children to do something that was fun and creative but also cheaper than a visit to the cinema.
“I’d have a calendar and we would all take it in turns to decide what we do on a weekend and the kids would love it.
“Around Easter time they’d come up with things like chocolate parties and would make nest eggs.
“Or we’d make pizzas together and they’d spend hours making the dough, getting the ingredients and then designing their own picture pizza.
“When they were little I bought lollipops and penny sweets and opened our own sweet shop.”
Alison, who spends a lot of her working time with teens aged 11-18, added: “We do take them bowling or to the cinema, but it’s the made-up things they enjoy the most because it allows them to do something different.”
Alison added: “Over the years we have saved so much money just by being creative – and they’ve loved everything we’ve done.”
For details of how you can swap your house go to www.UKHolidaySwapShop.co.uk.
Fox and Hound – a family splits into two, the first half set out on a walk and leave clues such as a scarf tied to a tree, with the other half setting off later and having to catch them up.
Scavenger hunts – give the children a list of things to collect during a walk.
Cinema nights – save more than £30 on a cinema trip by making popcorn and burgers then watch a film at home.
Sleepovers – Make a den in a living room and have a sleep over.