Monday, April 1, 2013

Money Saving Monday: Family Activities

Movies, museum excursions, zoo outing, baseball games and other family activities can really eat into one's budget.  There are ways to have family fun without breaking open the bank.
We allot $30 a month for 'entertainment'.  Thirty dollars might not sound like much for a family of 3, but I assure you we get at plenty of outings out of our $30.
Here are a few ways to get the most out of your entertainment budget; whatever it may be.
  • Take advantage of discount sites such as Living Social and Groupon.  I've gotten tickets to our local Discovery Center for 50% off.
  • Use coupons or discount tickets.  Frequently the grocery stores or fast food restaurants in our area pair up with attractions.  Entertainment books, Clipper magazines and other discount magazines also have coupons for area attractions.
  • Use any type of student/military discounts.  Many attractions offer 10% off with a student or military ID.
  • Take advantage of free days.  Many museums, national parks and zoos have a free day fall and spring, for residents.  Just provide your driver's license.  The Memphis Zoo here in TN is free on Tuesdays from 2PM until close.
  • Some movie theaters run a special discount period, ours has 'twilight shows' (4-5:30) that costs just $5.50 and children under 3 are free (score!)!  We also purchased a popcorn bucket for the year for $17 during a promotion.  This will allow us to fill it up for $3!  It's a great way to splurge without spending a fortune!  You could even split the upfront cost of the bucket with a neighbor, friend or family member!
Now if you're living paycheck to paycheck or you just don't have the money to spend on family outings--don't.  There are lots of FREE options for a day of family fun.  Here are a few of my family's favorite ways to spend a day out for free.
  • Pack a picnic and go to the park!  Parks are free and the fresh air is good for everyone.  By packing a picnic lunch you've made it an affair!  If it's raining hit up your local mall's play space.
  • Find free local events.  Check with the community center, your local newspaper and follow favorite restaurants and attractions on Facebook.  For Easter Chick-fil-A had an Easter egg hunt with prizes, face painting and a bouncy house...all for free!  We did buy 2 biscuits and a cup of coffee (1 biscuit was free w/a coupon) for less than $5.
  • Take in the local beauty.  Do you have a a picturesque town nearby?  We frequently go to the town of Franklin and window shop and take in the fresh air!  
  • Go to the library!  Our library has story hours (Barnes and Noble also does this) twice a week.  It's a great way to spend an hour.
The most important thing about your family is that you get to spend time with them.  So whether you're spending time around the dinner table or at the zoo know that in the long run no one will remember that you did or didn't spend money on family together time!

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