Entertaining a family doesn't mean you have to be like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in an old movie where the whole town gets together to “put on a show." Even if you're not that talented, you can still create first-rate family fun on a budget. Here's how:1.
Buy Discount Movie Passes. Do you love the thrill of seeing first-run movies in front of the big screen? Then buy a pass to your local movie theatre! Many theatres, both chains and independents, offer passes for their frequent customers at discounts of 15-20%. If that's not an option and you belong to a wholesale warehouse club like Sam's Club or Costco, you can buy movie passes for chains like AMC at a discount. Some restrictions may apply on both these types of passes, so read the fine print before you show up at the theatre and discover your pass isn't good there.
Become a Season Pass Holder. If you absolutely love the local minor-league baseball team, or the nearest beach, national park, water park or amusement park, get a season pass. It can be well worth your while to shell out a few more bucks up front so you can come back whenever you desire. And you may find you use it a lot more when you can drop in for a few hours now and then and it's already paid for. Passes are often available at different membership levels, allowing you to bring a friend, offering special parking, discounting purchases at the gift shop, and more.
Movie Night at Home. These days, movies make it to On Demand and DVD faster than you can see them all. Skip the expensive theatre and hold a movie marathon instead.
Don't forget you can borrow some great movies from the public library instead of renting them. This event makes a great family night, especially when you pair it with sleeping bags on the floor and homemade popcorn.
Rent or Swap Video Games. Kids lose interest in video games as soon as they "master"
them. And with the proliferation of online sites devoted to tips, tricks, and "cheats," that game you thought would challenge your kids for weeks is suddenly boring after just a few days, Fight back by swapping video games with friends, or renting them from the movie rental store. Your kids won't have time to be bored! Don't forget your local library may be a source of gently-used games to borrow, as well.
Check Out an Adventure. Libraries are a wealth of knowledge – and entertainment!
Many libraries invest in museum and activity passes that members can borrow for free. Our local library offers passes to the local minor league baseball team, the Children's Museum, the contemporary art museum, and almost a dozen other attractions. Book in advance so you can be sure to get the pass on the day you desire.
Entertaining your family on a tight budget doesn't have to mean sending the kids out to the backyard to have potato sack races or to play kick the can. If you plan ahead, you can provide some top notch entertainment and adventures for a lot less money than you might think.