If you’re working harder and harder to make ends meet, and the ends seem to be moving further and further apart, you probably don’t get a lot of a reprieve from your work commitments in the form of entertainment. However, we all need to have ways to let off steam and spend quality time with our family and friends, so the following are ideas for family entertainment that are free or cheap without scrimping on the fun.
Frugal Ideas For Family Entertainment
1 – Free Family Entertainment
There is no better way to save on entertainment than to take part in activities which don’t cost you a thing. Therefore, look around your local community for some of the following free entertainment ideas:
Free concerts. Most communities will host free concerts in public parks or halls. To find free concert entertainment near you, check your local papers or online.
The library. The library is a plethora of free entertainment ideas as you can borrow books, DVDs,games and puzzles for free, and keep your family entertained for hours. You can also go in to read magazines or use the internet for free, and many libraries also have story time, book clubs, film screenings and lectures organized year round, which are free to participate in.
The museum. Check out the museum in your city or town, as many museums will have one day a week where they offer free admission, or certain times during the day when admission is discounted. At other museums admission is simply a donation, so you can contribute an amount you choose.
Poetry or literary reading. Poetry readings are often held at pubs, clubs and cafes in most cities, so find out about your local poetry scene and head off for a free night out to get to know other creative people in your area, and all you would have to pay for is your drinks if you have any. If you check out your local book stores you may find visiting authors booked in to read from their latest books, which you can also usually get them to sign for you too.
Book club. You may be able to find a local book club to join while you’re at the library or book store, but you can also start your own club with your friends. You can share books and share your experiences of reading the books, expanding your reading without buying all of the books yourself.
Gallery opening. Again, check out your local papers and do some searching online to find out where and when art gallery openings are on in your area. Openings are free to attend, and there is usually free champagne and hors d’oeuvres.
Team babysitting. One significant cost of entertainment is often the baby sitter, because while family entertainment is one thing, there are times you want to get away too. however, you don’t have to miss out on nights away from the kids when money is tight, if you form a baby sitting team with your friends or neighbors. You can take turns looking after each others children when one couple wants to go out, and you’ll not only save money but also get to know your friends and their kids better, so you can plan other free family activities such as group picnics or movie nights.
2 – The Cheaper Entertainment Alternative
Before you fork out for your regular entertainment, or automatically forgo a night out because you think you can’t afford it, look at where you can substitute, and still enjoy your favorite activities. Therefore, try making the following substitutions in your family entertainment budget:
DVDs for the movies. If you hire DVDs, borrow them from the library or share them with friends, you can have a cheaper movie night at home, make your own popcorn – and healthier snacks – and still enjoy the movie entertainment experience. In summer you could set up a projector outside for a moonlight cinema experience, or invite over friends to make it really fell like a cinema.
College shows for the theater. College campuses often offer cheap admission to their plays so you can take in a show without paying the high theatre ticket prices.
Matinee for the evening show. If there is something on at the theater you want to see, catch a matinee show rather than going at night when the tickets are more expensive. Plus, where you may usually go out to dinner before a theater show, if you go to a matinee you can go out to lunch first, where most restaurants have a cheaper lunch menu.
Free festivals. Check your local paper for free festivals for fairs in town. You will probably have to spend money on some of the attractions or games but you might still be able to go a more frugal route for your family entertainment.
3 – Family Entertainment Discounts
If you do have your heart set on certain entertainment activities and no substitute will do, there are ways find these activities at a discount:
Look for discount days. Many entertainment venues will discount their activities when they aren’t as busy, to make sure they still have people coming through the door. Therefore, look for theaters, museums, art galleries, the zoo and amusement parks which have special discount days. The case of the theater for example, you may even be able to secure drastically discounted tickets to watch a dress rehearsal.
Group Discounts. When you can buy tickets to exhibitions, events, movies and the theatre in a group, you often qualify for a discount, which can be around 10% or more. You don’t necessarily have to go to the event together, simply buy your tickets at the same time with your friends, family or co-workers.
Just ask. A discount may also come down to who you know who can get you into your chosen entertainment event a little cheaper. Therefore, ask around your friends and colleague to see who they know and where they are connected. It can also be beneficial to become a member of entertainment venues which have loyalty programs. Membership is usually free, but when you present your card you can qualify for a discount, or your visits can count towards a free ticket or offer after a certain amount of visits. Plus, if you have a pension card, a student card or any other association you may qualify for discounts at a number of venues.
4 – Outdoor Entertainment
When you take the time to get outdoors you will find a myriad of free and affordable family entertainment options, such as:
The park. Most parks will have a play ground, a creek or just a wide expanse of grass where you can take a picnic, let the kids run around and enjoy the sunshine and the fresh air. You can even go for bush walks, or collect interesting rocks and leaves for craft projects back home.
Play a sport. If you join your local sporting club you will be getting a regular dose of exercise and entertainment each week for a minimal cost. You can also check out your local areas for sporting grounds where you can set up a game of football, soccer or cricket on a school oval on the weekend, or find a park with a basketball ring.
Star gazing. It will cost you nothing to head out away from the city and watch the stars one night. You can even use the internet to learn more about the constellations, and print out maps of the sky and try to match up what you see. You can also research when the next meteor shower or astronomical event such as an eclipse is due, and plan an event with your family.
The beach. You can go for a walk on the beach when you get home from work as a way to relax and unwind with your family – and the dog. Or you can plan a family day out of swimming, sun (and sunscreen), a picnic lunch and an ice cream treat. The beach is great entertainment at any time of
the day too, whether you want to go for an early morning or late night walk, or watch the sunset.
Treasure hunt. A treasure hunt doesn’t just have to be an activity for the kids, as anyone of any age can form a group, leave clues and hide certain objects in the garden, the neighborhood or the park.
5 – Indoor Entertainment
While it’s not always possible to head outdoors for money saving entertainment ideas, there are plenty of affordable activities available inside to keep you and your family entertained:
Board games and puzzles. You probably have a cupboard full of games, plus you can get out a pack of cards, and ask your friends to bring their favorite games for a group games night. You can take turns to host the night (or the afternoon) with a group of friends or family and put together some snacks and drinks and unique fun each time. Or set aside a table in your home and start a puzzle, you can come together as a family to work on it on weekends or spend time together after dinner or whenever there is free time in your home.
Craft projects. There are endless ways to get creative with craft projects at home, and you can search the internet for projects to suit you and your kids, and find activities and projects especially suited to their age group and interests. You can also usually make your craft projects out of items you already have in your home.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks to save money on family entertainment! Which ones are your favorite ideas for entertainment?