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5 Ways to Have Fun With Baby on a Budget

Everyone is talking about the bad economy. Prices are rising and there simply aren't enough jobs to go around. But your baby is only going to be this age once, and making precious memories together is the greatest joy a parent has. Don't let tight finances rob you of this time. Use a little creativity and enjoy baby's early years like royalty.

1. Picnics are underrated. For a baby or small child, a picnic is far more fun than a four star restaurant. Pack a few finger foods that you and baby enjoy and head to a nearby park. She will enjoy seeing the grass, flowers, birds, wind, puppy dogs, squirrels and other natural things more than a dimly lit restaurant with fussy waiters. Take her around in the stroller after lunch to get a better view of it all.

2. Have a concert in your living room. Get out your old CDs and jam! If baby is old enough to stand, he will have a blast rocking out with mom or dad. If not, he will get a big kick out of sitting in his stroller and watching you do it. This is a great rainy day activity, and doesn't cost a dime. It is also a great way to expose your child to the music you enjoyed when you were younger.

3. Hold a photo session at home. Friends and family beg for new pictures of baby, so give them a gaggle of them! Old sheets and quilts make perfect backdrops. Find props around the house to use for creating fun and exciting photos. Don't forget outdoor shots. The flower beds, front steps and the tree in the backyard all make good settings for photos.

4. Are tickets to the zoo a little pricey these days? Get out the stroller and visit your local pet shop. Puppies, kitties, bunnies, guinea pigs and other little critters are as fun to see in the store as at the zoo. Also, when the animals are up close it is easier for baby to see and pay attention to them. Most pet stores also allow petting, which usually isn't allowed at the zoo. Go when the store isn't busy and bored employees might give you and baby a grand tour.

5. Get out your old home videos and watch them with baby. She will be thrilled to see faces she recognizes on television, and it's a good trip down memory lane with you. Watching old home videos also inspires you to get out the video camera and make some new memories with your growing family.

A tight budget doesn't have to stop you from enjoying those wonderful early months and years with your baby. These activities entertain the child and teach them things about the world around them. A day at the park in the sun and some dancing in the den is good exercise. Music is educational, as is seeing and spending time with animals. Quit crunching numbers in your checkbook and enjoy the things in life that are free!