Need to find more money to pay off debt, save for college or spend on family travel? Consider spending less on family entertainment expenses each month.
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How to save on family entertainment
When you think about ways to impact your budget, are you tackling the obvious–family entertainment expenses?
Yes, it can cost a lot to have kids, but you do have control over how many extracurricular and other activities you do.
There are two major ways to save on family entertainment each month: spend zero or plan ahead.
Challenge yourself and your family to spend zero. Get creative about how to spend your time together!
- Go for a hike
- Visit a museum with free admission
- Do a family movie night at home
- Use the resources at your public library like books, DVDs, and classes/programs for both kids and adults.
- Take a free online class together. We're trying the Watercolors one.
- Head out to stores near you that offer free workshops and classes.
- Visit a National Park for free for history, nature, and other programs.
Budget and Plan Ahead
Another way to approach entertainment in the monthly budget is to plan for it. We budget a small amount every month for entertainment. Then we stretch that out by planning ahead. Keep an eye out for:
- Deal sites like Groupon and Certifikid offer great prices on museum memberships for families, half-price tickets for tours and theaters, and more! These are especially helpful to large families, as long as you read up on the fine print and actually use the certificates you purchase.
- Places around town that offer low-cost activities like bowling. This “summer” program actually runs year-round, but it does cost a little for shoe rental.
- Find the best times to do what your family likes. We like to see big movies (like Marvel) at the movie theater. So we found a theater that has $6 tickets if you go before noon on the weekends. So that's what we do!
- Make some sacrifices. For other movies, it costs a lot less to rent on a streaming service (like $3.99 on Amazon) than for all five of us to go out to a theater.
- Try out some frugal hobbies. We love playing board games, and we have figured out how to spend less buying them.
Over all the years we were paying off debt and living so frugally, we still planned on having family fun every single month. Don't cut it out completely! Take the time to identify activities you can do for less–or zero–and add those in to your schedule.