Raising Richmond: Tiny weekends and tiny budgets

Weekends used to be about living it up and sleeping late. As a parent of a young child, you might find you’re in a totally different rut–the same parks, the same kid places. Hayley’s budget suggestions save you money and revitalize your weekend.

Photo by: garrettc

Lately, my weekends have been fairly short, consisting of just Sundays. This could be a bit of a big summer bummer since it means only having one day a week when my husband and I are together with our daughter, so I’ve been trying to plan them strategically to make the most of the little time we have, and the equally little budget. If your weekends are slim, I highly recommend approaching them with a plan in mind to maximize the day.

Going out to brunch is expensive, going anywhere in Short Pump is a special level of Dante-esque hell, and maybe you’re just plain tired of toodling around in Carytown. Not a problem, because I’m not going to suggest any of those to you, frugal and jaded reader! Here are five suggestions that have helped us make the most of our micro-weekends together:

Lawn Blanket Lounge at the VMFA

Picnics are work, what with the food prep, the lugging of the basket, and the clean-up of the food crumbs after, oh my. Lawn blanket lounging is way easier.1 You bring a blanket, and maybe some bubbles or something to entertain the kiddo and bask away on that perfect grass. Yes, Maymont is lovely for basking too, but don’t underestimate the lawn of the VMFA sculpture garden…and its oh-so-convenient bathrooms…and art!

Explore your neighborhood

Going someplace specific to hike can be, well, a hike. All that packing-the-diaper-bag and strapping-the-kid-into-the-carseat and then getting-in-the-car and then doing it all again when you get there and then have to go back home…that’s nonsense that can be thrown out the window with this alternative approach. I find a long walk around the neighborhood to be the ideal leisurely activity that costs nothing and is way less of a hassle. Bonus points if you live within walking distance of someplace that sells popsicles or choco-tacos or those Girl Scout Thin Mint ice-cream sandwiches.2 Pick a side-street you haven’t wandered down yet, and see where you end up. Last week I found someone’s tiny little guinea pig grave in the alley. It was the saddest, cutest little-kid gravestone, I’m telling you. Another time I found the tiniest pocket park. You don’t find that stuff by going to Designated Hiking Places. Explore your neighborhood!

Bake bread

There is nothing quite like baking your own bread. I know, I sound like a breezy Earth Mama, but seriously, it fills the house with that perfect aroma, and it’s pretty easy and yet can produce a serious sense of accomplishment. You’ll feel like some Power-Working Amazing Amish Person when you’re all through! That’s the quintessential weekend goal: accomplish something delicious with a moderate level of work, right? Plus, it’s a good activity to do while talking with your partner if you’re in need of some talking-time but maybe aren’t into board games.

Devote one hour (and one hour only) to household chores

Adulthood sucks sometimes and that’s why this is on a weekend fun-maximizing list. Hear me out: It’s easy to get overwhelmed with a lot of weekend chores that have piled up. Sometimes there’s no way around it: things need to get done. But you also don’t want to end up spending your whole single glorious day off together doing dumb chores. Try setting aside one single hour for them, and do the most important stuff (here: laundry, dishes, sweeping up of the endless dog hair, lawn maintenance) then spread the other stuff around during the week.

Go to bed early

This may seem counterintuitive. After all, with only the one day off, don’t you want to spend it being conscious and fully living every second of the day? Nope! You don’t! Go to bed early. It will feel positively luxurious.

  1. Read: lazier! 
  2. Protip: Strawberry St. Market provides all these and more! 
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Hayley DeRoche

Hayley DeRoche is a librarian with a penchant for cardigans and corduroys. Luckily, her professional life revolves more around technology & information than fashion.

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