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How do you save money & still have fun?

Posted by on Mar. 24, 2014 at 11:12 AM
  • 22 Replies

5 Ways to Save Money Without Spoiling the Fun

by Jacqueline Burt

marblesEverybody's on a budget these days, but that doesn't mean we have to give up having family fun! In fact, you might just find that spending less money turns out to be more fun. Really!

Just think about the stories your grandparents used to tell ... how awesome did their childhoods sound? My grandfather's early years were apparently a bigger barrel of laughs than an episode of The Little Rascals, and that was during the Great Depression. Back then, a bag of marbles was the closest thing a kid was gonna get to a Wii.

And maybe that was a good thing!

So, keeping that in mind, check out these 5 Ways to Save Money Without Spoiling the Fun:

  1. Start a collection. Kids are naturals at collecting interesting found objects (ahem, free objects). Either as a family or individually, pick items that are easy to find -- but not too easy -- and small enough to display, then go on weekly expeditions to find interesting specimens. A few ideas: Cool rocks, seashells, marbles, coins. If you want to spend just a few bucks, you can hit the tag sale circuit and look for stamps, bottle caps, and the like.
  2. Go back in time. No need for a big vacation! You might think you know everything there is to know about your town, but a trip to the local Historical Society will prove you wrong. Find out interesting factoids about your city, then visit the locations. (So that's what that grocery store used to be!)
  3. Have a movie night! Between tickets, popcorn, and candy, I spent more than I would on a nice grown-up dinner the last time I took my kids to the movies. Good thing watching movies at home is fun, too, especially if you make it into an event. Little kids can make tickets, big kids can make popcorn. Be sure to turn off all the lights! To make it even more authentic, consider including some treats you wouldn't ordinarily offer (Twizzlers bought at the store sure are cheaper than the ones you get at the movie theater!).
  4. Visit the pet store. Provided you've got some willpower behind you (don't take the cute bunny home! Just admire him in his cage!), a trip to the pet store can be a surprisingly eventful excursion, especially for younger kids. Like the zoo, kind of, except there's no fee for admission (and no pricey souvenirs beckoning).
  5. Make your own art museum. Got paper? Like, a big, giant roll of paper? Pick a theme, like "Safari" or "Circus," and sit the whole family down with a variety of markers, crayons, and paints to make a super-long mural. When everybody's done, sit back and invent stories to go along with the pictures. (Snack on leftover popcorn from Movie Night if you like.)

What does your family do to save money while still having fun?

by on Mar. 24, 2014 at 11:12 AM
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by Bronze Member on Mar. 24, 2014 at 11:50 AM

I look on a local website, as well as the library's website, for free or inexpensive things to do around here.  Often times when the weather is nice, I'll pack a lunch for me and the kids and head to the park.  We also head to the library to check out books, especially when there is an event going on.  At home, we often have movie nights on Fridays since I have a Netflix subscription with streaming and dvd.  Once in a while, I get a code for a free Redbox rental, so I use that sometimes.

I remember one day there was a magic show for kids at one of the branches.  I took the kids to the park to play and have a picnic lunch, then we went to the library for the show.  Afterwards, we went to Jamba Juice for a treat since they offered free smoothies for the little ones.  I had to pay for my son's smoothie since he was over the age limit, but it was only a couple bucks.  For that, plus a little gas, it was a very inexpensive outing, and the kids really enjoyed that day.

by on Mar. 24, 2014 at 11:52 AM
We have movie nights and game nights! I usually make a pizza and we have popcorn and gummies
by Silver Member on Mar. 24, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I look for coupons for free or b1g1 activities. I save up gift-cards from certain sites and save them for fun things to do. there are a ton of kids eat free places and if I combine that with a coupon for myself we can really eat well on a few bucks. we have movie night where we stream something and make popcorn using our air popper.

by on Mar. 24, 2014 at 12:04 PM

On Friday, me and the kids (2 boys, 2 and 6 months) went to the mall.  We got chinese food ($5 meal that we split because the serving sizes are HUGE).  Then we walked around the mall and on the way home stopped at the playground.  We had fun.

by Silver Member on Mar. 24, 2014 at 12:14 PM

We have a lot of family movie nights.  

by on Mar. 24, 2014 at 2:14 PM

I look for coupons 

by on Mar. 24, 2014 at 2:15 PM

I look for places that offer special deals like B1G1 or when you get a % off 

by on Mar. 24, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Look for things that are off peak season.  

by on Mar. 24, 2014 at 8:03 PM
This post gave me a great idea! we don't have air conditioning so the summers in our apartment are unbearably hot. Since our landlord also cut down the tree in our backyard which provided shading it's probably going to be even hotter this summer. I think I will be on the hunt for a cheap kids tent and we will have nights where we camp out in the living room where it'll be much cooler this summer!
by Beachy on Mar. 24, 2014 at 10:07 PM
I always check out our local website for free events.
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