When you have children to entertain every month, it’s natural to want to spend money on interesting activities and outings that amuse, inspire, teach, and motivate them, and provide opportunities for family connection.
However, if you’re on a tight budget and looking for ways to cut costs and save more money, the area of entertainment is one where you might be able to reduce expenses. There are numerous steps you can take to spend less but still have a fun time as a family.
Get Out into the Great Outdoors
Something that doesn’t cost you a cent is getting out into the great outdoors together. Enjoy outings to local parks, beaches, lakes, and the like, or go hiking. You never know what fascinating creatures you might see along the way, not to mention stunning vistas.
Other options including cycling excursions, setting up an outdoor scavenger hunt, practicing yoga, flying kites, or rollerblading and kayaking if you already have the necessary equipment. You could also do some gardening (especially planting and caring for fresh produce), tell stories around a campfire, make mud pies, fly paper airplanes, watch the clouds, or have a water balloon flight. You are only limited by your imagination and are sure to come up with all sorts of outdoor activities to suit the interests of your family members.
Take Advantage of Free Events and Attractions
Most cities put on a wide variety of free activities for people to enjoy throughout the year, often to coincide with holidays and other special occasions. During summer there are usually festivals on offer, too, so keep an eye out for listings in your local papers or online message boards.
You should be able to find numerous free events and attractions to check out in school holidays and on weekends, in particular. For example, see if your area puts on fun days or nights out that involve musical acts, comedians, dancers, magic shows, jugglers, fireworks, food stalls, games, etc. Also, most suburbs hold markets each month that can be fun to attend as a family. Not only can you get shopping done there, but taste test new foods and be otherwise entertained.
Investigate the main public facilities in your town or in nearby areas, too, like libraries, museums, and art galleries. Many of these venues are free to enter at any time of the year, and often put on free additional exhibits or educational events for children. Many popular, large attractions offer locals opportunities to attend for free on set days of the year, too, so find out about any opportunities you can utilize in this regard.
Set Up a Home Cinema
If like many families yours love to watch movies, you’re probably sick of paying $80 or more each time you go to the cinema as a family. By the time you pay for tickets, food and drinks, and possibly parking,
this can be a very costly exercise for just a couple of hours out. To get your movie fix without breaking the bank, why not set up a home cinema?
The latest big-screen TVs are better yet more affordable than ever and can give you quality picture and sound without having to leave home. Buy a QLED TV or one of the other latest televisions designed for enhanced viewing and then curl up in comfort to watch shows together – in your PJs, if you want!
You’ll also no doubt be interested in streaming the latest shows and films. Ditch expensive cable in exchange for affordable monthly streaming services such as Netflix. This will give you access to all the content you need at a low price.
Eat Out Less
One of the activities that can quickly “eat” into your monthly budget is dining out. With a family, meals in cafes and restaurants can be incredibly expensive, even when you’re going to family-friendly venues that have deals on. Cut costs by instead packing a picnic at home and then eating it in a beautiful outdoor environment.
Another option is to set up potluck dinner days with other families. For example, take it in turns hosting, and have everyone bring along a dish or two to share. This is an affordable way of catching up with friends and having a fun outing without having to outlay much money on food and drinks.
The above is just a small sample of some strategies for reducing entertainment expenses each year. Other options include using discount code and promotions for cheaper tickets to attractions; signing up for memberships at places you visit throughout the year (such as zoos or aquariums); and sourcing free or low-cost books, magazines, DVDs, and board games from libraries, op shops, and garage sales. Be proactive and creative about the ways you entertain your family, and you will soon find yourself saving hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars annually.