Cutting Family Entertainment Costs
Sticking to your budget does not mean that you can no longer have fun. If you are smart about things, you can still entertain your family while saving that hard earned money. Take a look at a few ideas that will keep your budget and the kiddos happy.
1) Start A Family Board Game Night
Yes, it might sound cheesy to the older kids, but sometimes going back to basics is the way to go. If you can manage to get them to the table, they might even have a little reluctant fun.
The benefit to board game night is obvious, it is essentially free entertainment. Even if you do not have any board games, it is inexpensive to stock up since most of the classics like Monopoly, Scrabble and Clue can be purchased for less than 10 dollars at the big box stores.
Another great thing about game night is that it can quickly become a family tradition. Thursday night game night might just be something that your kids look back fondly on when they are adults.
2) Get Into Arts & Crafts
Kids love being creative, even the older ones. A craft night can bring out this creativity and give you some cheap family entertainment.
Crafts can mean whatever you want it to be. It might be clay modeling, painting with water colors or making colleagues with leftover art scraps. Around the holidays, you can even use craft night to make home made presents and cards.
3) Watch Some Old Movies
A night at the movies can easily cost a family of four close to 100 dollars. Replace this expense by pulling out some of those classic movies. You likely have a box of old DVD’s tucked into the closet. Pull it out and show the kids some of the movies that you grew up with or take turns choosing movies.
Combine an old movie with a frozen pizza or some popcorn and you have an entertaining night for a fraction of the cost of going out.
4) Go Out For Ice Cream
Going out for a few cones is an expense, but if it replaces a more expensive activity, it is a win-win. Instead of going out to dinner, eat at home and promise the kids an ice cream cone afterwards. It is far cheaper than dining at a restaurant and will satisfy that urge to get out.
5) Take A Ride Around The Block
When was the last time you pulled those bikes down in the garage? It has likely been some time and you probably don’t realize just how much you miss it.
Getting the kids out on their bikes does a number of good things. It allows your family to bond, stimulates the mind and allows those little ones to burn some energy. Use that energy in a constructive way instead of fighting or getting in trouble.
6) Replace Cable With Free Apps
Cable and satellite television subscriptions simply do not belong in a sensible budget. You can get just as much entertainment these days with free apps like Crackle. With the average cable bill being 100 dollars a month, finally cutting the cord will save you money and end your dependence on TV.
If you find that you can not get by with the free apps, check out the low cost ones like Hulu. They provide a lot of entertainment that you can watch on your schedule.
7) Have A Picnic
What can make a boring lunch or dinner an event? Taking it to a park of course. A picnic is a great way to get out in nature and enjoy the fresh air while spending next to nothing. You can even save money on your meal by serving basic sandwiches and chips. That is a meal that you probably could not get away with at home, but in a park it just seems natural.
8) Do A Puzzle
There is something strangely addictive about doing a puzzle. It sucks you in and before you know it, you have been at it for hours. Even those who dismiss puzzles as boring can be drawn to them.
The best part about puzzles is that they are cheap. For just a few bucks you can have a form of entertainment that you can do again and again. Just don’t lose any pieces.
9) Get A Zoo Membership
One of the best deals in entertainment is the zoo membership. Nearly every zoo in the country offers an annual pass that allows for unlimited access. The prices for a family are typically less than the cost of two separate zoo visits.
An annual zoo membership is a great deal because you get unlimited cheap excursions and discounts on food and drink. Some will even come with reciprocal memberships allowing you discounted or free entry to other zoos and entertainment venues.
10) Play A Classic Video Game
You do not have to have the latest and greatest video game system to have a good time. Show the kids how it is done with some old school Mario Brothers or perhaps Donkey Kong.
These old systems can be found super cheap on the used market. Nintendo even released a Nintendo Classic loaded with 30 different games for around 50 dollars. That’s hours of entertainment with games that can please any age group.
11) Cook A Meal As A Family
Kids love to help and they will be far happier staying at home if they can help prep the family meal. Get the kids involved in the prep and the cooking and they will be all smiles. Plus, you will be teaching them a valuable skill that will stay with them for life. Knowing how to make your own meals is one of the best budget skills you can have.
12) Participate In Community Events
Nearly every community tries to organize monthly or even weekly events. This is a great way to save on entertainment, because these events are almost always free. it could be a concert in the park, movie night on the green or a simple craft fair. In any case, it is free and it will get you out of the home.
Check the online calendar of your city and nearby cities for a list of upcoming events.