When the kids were little, we had to wait until somebody gave us money at birthdays and Christmases before we could afford to do anything "big." I also saved our change so we could go to restaurants – usually fast food – just to escape our usual routine.
I use the word "routine" loosely – we really had no routine, other than their father picking them up every other weekend. The older the kids got, the less time we spent together, because the second they ran in the house after spending most of the weekend at their dad's, they dropped their overnight and book bags, then ran outside to spend time with their friends.
So I worked very hard to make the times we had together special. From picnics on the floor to made-up games, quality time became memorable time.
The "Say Something Nice About Your Sister/Brother" game was my way of getting the kids to recognize that they really did care about each other. I didn't expect though that the game would be so difficult for my only son. It was nearly torturous waiting for him to come up with SOMETHING. In exasperation, after running through his repertoire of memories concerning one of his sisters, he finally came up with, "I like the birthmark on Brittney's butt." Well done! At least he came up with something.
One game in particular brought waves of laughter when our imitation of each other surprised everybody. I dubbed the game the "Be Me" game, because in essence that is exactly what we did. When my son became me, he raised his eyebrows, tilted his head back, and pretended to apply mascara, then scolded everybody in the room for not being nice. When the kids became each other, they exaggerated movements and voice inflections to act out their sibling's character.
Every defense from, "I don't act that way!" to "I don't talk like that" to everybody nodding that yes, they did, was so much fun, we were all nearly doubled over in laughter.
Finding fun with no money can sometimes be a challenge, but it can be done. One word of warning: If you play the "Be Me" game, be prepared for unexpected surprises.