Entertainment for the Whole Family
By Fisher Swanson
Here are some frugal entertainment ideas for the whole family.
Board games are a great investment. If well taken care of, they
can easily last a generation. You can often find them at garage sales for a
dollar or two, even the new board games. Every family should have some basics
like cards, dominoes, chess, and checkers.
Rent a movie, pop some popcorn and entertain the whole family
for a couple hours. Take turns picking out what movie to watch. You can order
DVDs or videos from the library for free. Sometimes there is a wait but many
libraries allow you to place holds online and receive notifications when your
items are available.
Discount Movie Theatres
Most areas have at least one movie theatre that runs older
movies for cheap prices. All you have to do is wait until the movie has been out
a for a few months and it will eventually show up at one of these theatres.
Ticket prices can be even less than a matinee and are sometimes double features.
Drive-in movie theatres can also be great bargains.
Minor League Sports
If your area has a minor league team they can be a lot of fun to
watch and much cheaper than their major league counterparts. The minor league
stars of today are often the major league stars of tomorrow.
Playgrounds, State Parks and Local Parks
Most parks are free, especially if you are not camping. Pack a
picnic lunch or bring some barbecue. Try out different parks in your area until
you find your favorites. Bring a frisbee and a dog!
Support the Arts
High school plays, talent shows and community theatre are
generally inexpensive and a lot of fun. You will be surprised at how much talent
there is in your community. Churches also have plays and programs that are open
to the community even if you don't attend that church.
Watch for Free Days and Free Events
Many museums, zoos and aquariums have free days. This is often
one day per month such as the first Tuesday or last Friday. There are a lot of
museums that are fun and have areas tailored towards kids. In art museums the
ancient cultures exhibits are often fun for kids.
Open Houses, Openings and Festivals
Sports teams often have a free open house before the season
starts. Also make note of free festivals and events in your communities. Check
your local paper and chamber of commerce for upcoming events.
If you have kids who love to go to the zoo you should consider a
family membership. It can be a great value if you plan on going often and have a
zoo nearby. Similar memberships are available at museums and aquariums as well.
Farmers' Market and Swap Meets
You don't have to spend much money to have a good time at your
local Farmer's Market. Most communities have them on Saturday or Sunday every
week during the Spring, Summer and early Fall. You can buy some great vegetables
for less than you pay at the grocery market and usually there is something fun
for the kids to do.
Library and Bookstore Events
Next time you go to the bookstore or library pick up an events
calendar. They often have live music or book readings that might interest your
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep your eyes and ears
open and you will find many more opportunities to have fun with your family
without spending a lot of money.
Fisher Swanson contributes to the Daily Thrifty Tips newsletter at
ThriftyFun.com. For more information visit: http://www.thriftyfun.com