Have you been to the movies lately? The cost of admission is going up and up, and it seems like it will soon cost more to see a movie in the theater than to buy the movie on DVD. That trend can be seen across the board: whether you want to eat out, catch a show, or enjoy some other family activity, you can expect to pay more and more.
The larger your family is, the more expensive it can be to spend time together doing fun things in your community. Your entertainment budget might be enough to cover one or two events per month. But if you follow a few of these smart tips, you can stretch your entertainment budget and enjoy more together as a family:
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1. Watch Movies on Demand
Watch movies when you want at home instead of going to the theater and save a great deal of money. You can watch newer movies before they come out on DVD, but you don't have to pay for those expensive admission prices.
Watching movies at home is also a lot easier than going to a theater. You don't have to rush to get the kids ready to make it at a specific time, and you don't have to wrangle a lot of kids in public. You can just make a big bowl of popcorn at home instead of spending $50 on popcorn, drinks and candy for everyone. Also, you can be as loud as you want without worrying about bothering other people.
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2. Go to the Library
The library is an often overlooked resources. Many people think of it as the place to go for school projects and study. But the library actually has a variety of new books and movies that you can check out for free.
Don't get caught up buying all the latest books — just check them out for free and give your kids a never-ending supply of new stories. Ditto for television shows and movies — just check them out for free and enjoy all you want. You won't be able to watch shows and movies as soon as they air, but establishing this habit with your children will teach them how to be frugal, as well.
3. Attend Free Events
Every community hosts a fair amount of free events. For example, many community festivals are held throughout the year. Your local museums might offer one day a month where residents get in free. Local educational groups might offer free lectures or nature walks.
You can find opportunities in your community by looking at local calendars with your visitor's bureau or chamber of commerce. Also pay attention to local newsletters and bulletin boards to get ideas. You may need to pack a lunch to avoid costly food trucks, but you can enjoy a full day of fun for free.
4. Take Advantage of Discounts
Plenty of restaurants and businesses offer family discounts. These discounts might be offered only on certain nights, or they might be offered all the time. You just need to ask to find out what's available.
For example, your favorite restaurants might offer a night where kids eat free with a paying adult. Movie theaters might offer a summer movie series for kids that are either free or low cost. There are many opportunities — you just need to look for them.
There's no reason that you can't enjoy yourself just because you have a growing family and a limited budget.These tips will help you fill your free time with fun, quality time as a family, and you either won't have to spend a thing or you will spend very little.