I’m very grateful to our guest poster this morning (see the byline below), because I’ve had little or no REM sleep all week and have been unable to do any real writing. I’m hoping that tonight will break the cycle–thanks Debbie for providing something in the meantime!
Everyone is trying to figure out how to save money and cut the monthly budget to get through the tough economy right now. It’s true that extras need to be cut back in order to keep the household afloat, but does that mean you need to eliminate entertainment in the name of living frugally?
Not at all! It just means you need to find ways to enjoy your recreation time without spending as much money as you might be used to spending. Here are three ideas you can try with your family to keep the fun while cutting the fat from your budget.
1. Cut the cable! Many families spend a fortune on their cable bill every month because they enjoy watching movies as a family. The problem is premium cable channels cost a fortune–and they don’t really provide as much variety as you like. Try eliminating the premium channels and go for another option.
[Mrs. Micah’s note: while we don’t get premium channels, Micah & I discovered that our local digital broadcast is better than our cable.]
Your local library is a great source of free movies. Many libraries allow you to check out several movies at a time and keep them for up to a week, all at no cost.
You can also join an online movie club for less than $10 a month and get the movies you most want to watch – including the newest releases – delivered right to your door through the mail. Some of these clubs even allow you to watch additional movies as instant downloads right on your computer. If you’re paying out for premium movie channels or spending money at the video stores, consider a program like this to save money on your family’s favorite movies.
While Hulu doesn’t offer many recent films, it’s been known to show classics and some rarely-seen films you couldn’t find at your video store and wouldn’t likely see on tv.
2. Get active! You can have a lot of fun together by organizing bike rides, football games, softball tournaments or other outdoor activities. Another fun outdoor activity that gets the whole family out having fun together (and costs virtually nothing) is geocaching. Geocaching involves searching for hidden “treasures” through the directions of a GPS. It’s incredibly popular all over the country – Google geocaching and your location and you’ll find out where to start your adventure. This is a great activity to do with the kids! In the winter, strap on the cross-country skis or snowshoes and travel across the frozen tundra as a family.
3. Is there a University near your home? University campuses are great sources of inexpensive entertainment. Most universities have bowling alleys, movie theatres, plays, as well as sporting events and other activities the public can participate in and enjoy at extremely affordable prices.
You can find a wide variety of activities to either play or watch without breaking the bank. Make sure you call ahead to find out about special hours, food vendors and other options to find the perfect outing for your family.
Just because you are saving money and trying to cut back on expenses, you don’t have to sacrifice entertainment. In fact, you just might find you are more creative in the things you try when you can’t fall back on the same old choices. You’ll get quality family time, have some fun and save money all at the same time.