Broke and Bored? Save Money on Your Family’s Entertainment

Cutting back doesn’t mean cutting out the fun. Here are some fun ideas for inexpensive entertainment

When you decide to cut your budget, many times the first extra to go is entertainment. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are multitudes of things your family can do and enjoy. Check out these ideas and see which ones you like best.

Be timely

Whether you want to take your family to a water park, theme park, zoo, or even the movies, it pays to call ahead and see if they have family nights. Just like movie theaters have matinee shows that are cheaper, most other businesses have discount days.

Call and ask about family or discount days. Also, check to see if they have discounts for entire families or days when younger children get in free. Some places offer one or two days per month that have free admission. You have to deal with large crowds, but you still get some fun quality family time.

Check with stadiums, baseball and football games, and amusement parks for twilight discounts. Twilight discounts get you 30% to 50% off admission price if you arrive the last few hours before closing. The bonus is the cheaper price and smaller crowds. At many ballgames, if you show up after half time or the 4th inning, you get in free.

Used can be a beautiful thing

What’s life without a good book to read, CD to listen to, or a new DVD to watch? If your budget is tight, you can still enjoy these small pleasures in life without breaking the bank. All you have to do is think, ‘used.’

Visit Amazon or eBay and you’ll see plenty of used items for sale. You can usually find anything you’re looking for. Buy several items at once and cut your shipping costs.

Become a close-knit community

Check out your local Parks and Recreation Center. Chances are they offer loads of classes. Not your ‘nose to the grindstone’ type of classes, but the fun type like learning photography, how to play guitar, how to paint, etc.

These classes are offered for minimal fees and are a chance for you to learn something new and meet others in your community.

Become one with nature

You know, not all fun things in life have to cost you big time. Many times the free things are the ones you remember most fondly. Gather your family together and go on a picnic or the park. Take a hike. Go for a bike ride. Play outdoor games like dodge ball, volleyball, Frisbee, catch or go to outdoor events.

You’ll not only have a good time bonding with your kids, it’s good fun and healthy for the entire family.

Are you free?

Free Movies, Games, and Music; you can’t beat that. If your kids are nickel and diming you to death with $1.00 music and games for their iPods and iPod Touch, it’s time to stop. Spending $1.00 on entertainment doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when it happens several times a week, it adds up.

To beat this, go online for free video game at sites like FreeArcade.com or PopCap.com. Listen to all the free music you want as it streams to you live at Pandora.com or Slacker.com. Free movies and shows? Try Hulu.com for free movies and TV shows your family will enjoy.

You see? You can still have good, clean, family fun while saving money. Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive. Use these ideas and get creative with them. Who knows? You may discover your family’s new favorite form of entertainment.