What do you include in your entertainment budget? We include any money we spend on things that are solely for fun. Video games, movies, tickets to a concert or show, and baby sitter fees. Don’t forget the sitter!
Here is why getting a sitter can save you money. Going to the movies. Adult ticket $9, child ticket $7. If you have more than 1 kid, it makes more sense to pay a sitter $20 than to take them with you. An even better option: trade sitting with neighbors or friends that have similar aged kids. If you have to watch 4 extra kids one Friday a month, but get a date night with your spouse alone the other 3 Fridays its a win-win situation.
Other budget friendly fun will include things like the local park. There is a park less than a mile away from my house with a frisbee golf course. Pretty much, its like playing Frisbee with a goal you throw at. Some of the people playing will be hard core with fancy discs specially weighted to fly farther, but mostly its younger people taking some time outside.
That same park also has a great hill for kite flying. For a couple of dollars (or free if you make your own out of things around the house) you can have countless hours of fun. As long as there is a breeze.
Keep an eye out for free things in the community. In the Kansas City metro all of the art galleries are open the first Friday of the month. Many of the pieces are for sale, but just browsing is fun. The local university does ‘movies on the hill’ where they show a movie on the side of a building and everyone watches from the side of a hill. Its totally free, a great way to meet friends and have movie and a picnic, and the movies are all newer.
Many towns have special summer programs aimed towards children and families. In the small midwest town I grew up in they always had brown-bag concerts and activities at the local library or a nearby park. They also would show children’s movies occasionally in the summer, this was in addition to story time. I have not run across a public library that didn’t offer a story time. Usually the summer will have older story time groups, or reading programs, but they always have ways for the kids to gain a love of reading, or maybe a new skill if they get the right books.
Museums can also be a low cost form of entertainment. Most towns have at least a tiny museum, and give tours for only a few dollars. Even the larger museums will have special days when entrance fees are waived or reduced. Try getting a small group and explore the different continents or eras of art.
One of my favorite ways to have fun is to play in the garden. You can water, pick flowers, and occasionally pulling weeds can even be fun. Besides what kid doesn’t want an excuse to play in the dirt? If you live in an apartment or rental and can’t have a garden, look into community gardens. My mother found one in her town where they provide seeds, shovels, and compost. The only thing they don’t provide is the labor. Gardening is a great way to meet neighbors either in the garden, or by dropping off a basket of whatever crop is most bountiful at the moment.
So you can see there are many things you can do that are both fun, as well as educaitonal for little or no cost. In the words of LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow: But you don’t have to take my word for it.