Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Big Adventures on a Little Shoestring

Things to do before I'm... 10?

Pink piggy bank
The pink piggy
It is never too young to start your 'to do' list and learn how to budget so that you can afford to live a good life... is it? Frugal Gran at your service!
This is the first of a series of blog posts that I'll be including here, as this huge adventure unfolds. You can follow them by following the blog or by clicking on the link called 'Frugal Gran' that will appear in the index at the bottom of the blog. It's going to be fun, fun, fun! :)
It was eldest grand daughter's 9th birthday recently. Like all junior misses, birthday girls just wanna have fun... so she partied at the weekend with other junior friends.
But I wanted to do something a little bit different for this birthday, something that could grow and develop with her as she journeys through her final year of being a single digit age and then decide for herself if she wants to continue along the frugal path when she reaches the ripe old age of 10.
I devised a plan, a secret plan, one that involved a 'to do' list. Then, instead of giving her a wrapped-up, tied with bows gift, I issued dear grand daughter with her personalised 'official invite' to join the adventure... and awaited her reaction!
She absolutely loved it , is extremely excited and desperate to get started!
What so enthrals a 9 year-old, you might ask? Fun and frugal learning, that's what!
Here's how it works (so far) and I hope that you will all find this as entertaining as I did, should you choose to pursue a similar path. First of all, the secret paperwork needs to be assembled into a notebook format. Simply put, I printed out a homemade card on paper and inserted it inside several other sheets of paper, marked off headers saying 'NOTES' and added a 'Happy Birthday' graphic to the front. This is what it said inside:

Dear xxxx,

This is your very special birthday invitation to come to Thrift Cottage for holiday adventures. You can arrange to stay any time you want and we will have an adventure, no matter what the weather.
To prepare for these adventures, I have bought us some adventure kit, including the things in these photos.
I have been putting all the spare coins into the pink piggy bank, so we will count them all out when you come to stay. Then, we will go into town in search of our first big adventure before planning the next one.
Keep this special adventure booklet safe so you can keep a note and photos of things you do before your next birthday. Being 9 is going to be great fun!

Just to make sure we get plenty of time for extra special outdoor adventures, I have made sure we are all prepared for overnight stays. 
The big 'xxxx' storage space at Thrift Cottage will also include crafting stuff and sleepover items, just in case we manage to get out to do some camping. Even indoor camping can be fun!
I couldn't find us any pink sleeping bags and pillows, so blue and purple will need to do, but these will go with the tent.
Let's hope we get some nice sunny weather for the next school holidays so we can get started with our adventures as soon as possible.

School is already back, here in Scotland, so the next holiday that's long enough for a big adventure is mid-October. However, there is time to fit in a couple of mini adventures between now and then, even if it means indoor camping and planning future expeditions. Believe it or not, Frugal Gran is every bit as excited by all of this! I hope you will all enjoy following us over the next twelve months, as we go off in search of new knowledge that will, one day, become fantastic future memories. Everything will be done on a shoestring budget in an effort to discover just how much fun can be had while following a frugal lifestyle.
I'll let you know how much is in the pink piggy as soon as it has been officially counted.
Frugal Gran!

Edited in: We counted out the pennies from the piggy and managed to just squeak in at £40. :)


  1. How exciting was this birthday for Frugal Granddaughter.What a fantastic birthday an a year full of adventure very much like the famous five or Secret seven(I adored those books growing up and longed for adventures) I for one will be looking forward to your adventures:-)

    1. Once we count out the piggy money, I'll help her work out which town is most economical to visit to get best value for her money. Really looking forward to it, just a shame she doesn't live within easy travelling distance.

  2. What a fab idea! You and she are going to have a ball!

    1. I hope so! I'd have loved to have been able to do similar with my own kids but back then it was all mortgage payments, loan payments, credit card payments and not enough left over for 'real' holidays, but they don't seem to have missed out and always seemed to enjoy the little holiday trips we did make, albeit without their dad.

  3. what a great idea and who doesn't like spending time with their grandparents. Can't wait to see what you get up too.

    1. Fingers crossed she can come visit soon, she has such an extended family that an all-in-one-place get together is out of the question.

  4. Adventures and experiences are worth far more than any 'stuff' you could buy her. And you are teaching her this too.

    Every girl should have a frugal gran like you!

    Sft x

    1. Thank you, that means a great deal to me as I always worry that others see it as meanness because I choose a frugal lifestyle rather than have debts or be tied to the 9 to 5. If I can pass that on to my own family then I will be happy knowing that I did my best. And being such a very young gran, of course, helps loads! LOL

  5. What a great Gran she has! Hope you have a fabulous time.

    1. Bit of a delayed response here, sorry. :) Getting excited now, as the trip begins this coming Saturday and we have loads planned. £40 in saved change and sleeping bags at the ready - our first stop is Stranraer and then on to Glasgow. :)

  6. Thanks, Carol. I'm so pleased that people can see this as a good thing because I seldom see my grand children, let alone have the chance to spend proper time with them, mainly because of the house renovation situation and lack of transport. Littlest is still too small to go on big adventures but I think 9 is old enough to start. And I already know she loves adventures after our little cycling/hillwalking/picnic expedition, with time spent exploring some nearby ruins.

  7. Oh my! This is such a great idea. I would have loved to have done it when I was her age. It would have been right up my ally :-)


    1. My kids loved adventures. Holidays were out of the question but we've always lived within easy reach of the countryside, being on a smallholding part of the time. LOL My own son loved his first trip up Tinto hill when he was 9 and still remembers it vividly, but none of the kids seem to remember anything like that prior to around 6 or 7, hence the reason I felt gran daughter needed to be of an age she would remember... and preferably before I reach an age that I forget! LOL


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