Save money this summer!

With Summer on the way, we are all looking at ways to make the pennies last longer and to enjoy everything outdoors before the winter returns. Here at TotsBots HQ we love finding budget friendly ideas and here are some of our favourites...

Rather than trips out, make the most of your own back garden, literally or otherwise. A paddling pool, a football, a trike or maybe some gardening if you have the space, your local park or beach is a great substitute if not.

Nothing says summer quite like a picnic and it is far cheaper than eating out.  Even a garden picnic is fun and much less messy than eating in the house!

Don't waste money on disposable nappies for every time your child gets wet – our reusable swim nappies are perfect for paddling, swimming and just exploring outdoors and they can be washed each time meaning you never run out either.

Try making your own ice lollies, freezing squash or juice into moulds. You can add your own fruit in too to make it healthier – frozen raspberries go down a treat! For a milkier alternative, try freezing the yoghurts that come in a tube – they come with their own wrapper and frozen yoghurt is hydrating for little ones.

Rather than driving, make the walk part of the fun. This week is Walk to School Week , so what better time to motivate yourself to add a walk or two into your day. You can make a colour sheet and ask older children to spot things along the way that match up and babies will love watching the world go by (our Papoozle is great for carrying baby when you need to have your hands free!). Remember to pack plenty of cold drinks to keep you all hydrated though.

If you have a summer birthday to celebrate, why not hold it in a park – less mess to clear up for you and plenty of freedom for little legs.  If you want to keep costs low and don't have a lot of spare time for making endless amounts of party food ask friends to meet you and bring a picnic.  All you need to do is feed your own and bake a big cake!

With all the gorgeous sunshine that we are definitely (hopefully!) going to have, nothing makes more sense than cloth nappies. Not only do they look cute with a coordinated t-shirt or dress, you can spend any nappy money on ice cream instead and the sun does wonders for stains, so make sure you hang them out proudly to dry.

If you have a local pick your own farm make sure you take a visit.  Not only will the berries be fresher, it is a lovely afternoon out and the children will come home with full tummies. We would suggest not dressing them in white though . . .

Whether you are a fan of messy play or not, summer is the perfect time to get them painting. The cheapest and easiest way is of course water painting, so grab a bowl of water and some paintbrushes and get them drawing masterpieces on any surfaces they can. Paving slabs are perfect for this and you don't need to worry about any extra washing!

If you are planning a big day out then check online for vouchers first. You can often save money on trains, entrance tickets and restaurants just by printing off a coupon.

Finally, check out what is going on locally. There are often free fun days, summer clubs and festivals that are perfect for entertaining the whole family. Ask at local children's centres, the council and look online to find out what is going on near you.

Do you have any top tips for keeping costs down and fun levels high this summer?