FORMER high-flyer Kel Galavan quit her job – but still managed to save an astonishing £24k that year.
The mum-of-two, from Kildare, 30 miles west of Dublin, lives with husband Dave, 45, an IT worker, and their kids, aged 12 and nine.
Exhausted by the rat race and keen to spend more time with her family she decided to walk away from a job she loved – and now she works as a money-saving expert.
She said: "My mission was to slash our outgoings so that I could afford to stay at home.
"In just 12 months, we saved more than £4,000 on beauty plus another £20,000 on clothes, takeaway coffees, meals out, childcare, and holidays.
"It was the best thing I ever did.”
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Now Kel has told how to have an amazing half-term without breaking the bank.
Make the most of Halloween
This half-term coincides with Halloween – so plan a party.
When it comes to Halloween parties, sometimes simple is best. After all, who wants to spend hours planning and preparing complicated games?
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Instead, stick with something fun and familiar, like bobbing for apples, pinning the tail on the spider, a spooky pinata, or apples on a string.
Your guests will have a great time – and you'll save yourself a lot of hassle and money.
Have a movie night
A movie night is an excellent activity for kids of all ages.
You can also make it even more fun by making homemade snacks and drinks to enjoy during the movie.
Whether you're looking to create a work of art or want to have fun with the kids, pumpkin carving is an excellent activity for the whole family.
But where do you start? Well, first, you'll need to choose your pumpkin. Will it be big or small? Scary or funny?
Once you've made your decision, it's time to get carving! If you're not feeling too creative, there are plenty of online templates you can use for inspiration.
Just remember to take your time and enjoy the process. After all, there's nothing like the satisfaction of seeing your finished product light up the night!
Sticky toffee apples
Keep the little ones entertained with homemade toffee apples! They're easy to make and are a hit with all ages.
Skewer some apples on sticks, and prepare bowls of sprinkles and small jellies/sweets.
You will need melted toffee (shop-bought/make your own using butter, sugar, and salt), and ensure it is not too hot when kids make their toffee apples.
Let each kid dip their apple into the melted toffee, then roll in the sprinkles/jellies. Voila – one delicious (and adorable) treat!
Prep the garden for spring
This task is often overlooked is planting bulbs, which can provide a welcome splash of colour in the spring when everything else is still looking rather drab.
Bulbs are easy to plant and care for and make for great memories working together. You'll be glad you did when spring rolls around.
Hiking is one of my personal favourites. It gets them outdoors, away from screens and teaches kids about nature.
But, before you lace up your hiking boots, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Choose an easy trail with low mileage. You don't want to overwhelm the little ones (or yourself).
- Familiarize yourself with the hiking area. Nothing can ruin a hike quite like getting lost.
- Don't forget to bring a box or backpack to collect little treasures along the way. Pine cones, acorns, and leaves are all great finds that will help you remember your hike long after you've returned home.
The beach is great for getting some fresh air, even in the winter.
Make sure to wrap up warm before taking the kids along the shore. They'll love looking for shells and building sandcastles. And you'll appreciate the peace.
Just be sure to pack a thermos of hot chocolate to keep everyone warm.
What could be more magical than lying on a blanket, looking up at the stars?
See if you can recognize any of the well-known constellations. Or make up your own! Then, the sky's the limit.
Just be sure to wrap up warm, as it can get cold lying on the ground.
What could be more fun than a picnic in the Autumn? The kids can run around and explore while you relax and enjoy the scenery.
Pack simply with some soup and hot chocolate to keep everyone warm.
And if you're feeling adventurous, you can try an outdoor activity like hiking or camping.
Family game night
Looking for a fun activity with the kids that doesn't involve staring at a screen? Family game night is the perfect solution!
Not only will everyone have a blast, but it's also a great opportunity to bond as a family. Also, don't forget to make some delicious fall treats to fuel the fun!
There's something about toasting marshmallows over a fire that feels nostalgic. Maybe it's the gooey texture, the sticky sweet flavour, or the fact that it's just a fun activity to do with friends or family.
Whatever the reason, toasted marshmallows always equal a good time.
All you need is a fire (a kitchen stove or back garden for the more adventurous), some marshmallows, and some skewers. Enjoy!
There is no need to break the bank this half term. The whole family can enjoy plenty of fun and affordable activities.
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From carving pumpkins to hiking, toasting marshmallows, and watching scary movies, there is something for everyone.
So get outside and enjoy all that Autumn offers without worrying about the budget.
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