Entertaining the whole family doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. If you find yourself in a bit of a money crunch, you can still take your family out for the weekend while not spending tons of cash. Here are some of the ways that you can entertain your family on the cheap:
Food on the fly Instead of dinner, have a late lunch. Many establishments offer a lunch menu even on weekends. Typically cheaper than the dinner menus, lunch menus can offer deals and a kids-eat-free option that can really shave some of your cost down.
Have a scavenger hunt A scavenger hunt is a time-honored tradition with families that has sadly been lost somewhere along the way. Having a monthly scavenger hunt, with cheap or free gifts to the winner, can bring the family together for one great afternoon out of the house and in fresh air. Get really creative and have items found in parks or other free-admission sites, so your family has a tour of the town.
Be at one with the community Check out your city's community calendar to see what is on the agenda. They may have several options during any given weekend to take the family out for free. Also, today's libraries have a great DVD collection where you can get movies for free. Some have children's story hour for kids while you browse the selection of movies.
Invest in a family pass Whether it is a zoo, museum or other venue, pick one that your family really loves and get a family pass. While the initial outlay may be costly, after four or five trips you're taking free weekends. Keep in mind that you need to go often to maximize these passes for the best savings value. Don't get something they'll tire of after three trips.
Go to the movies Instead of everyone packing in for that late night feature film, go in the afternoons or early parts of the day. Many theatres offer special events before a certain time, or free snacks. Check out your local theatres to see what they typically offer for family events; our local theatre gives free admission to the kids and adult tickets (with popcorn and beverage) for cheaper than regular nightly tickets.
These are just a few of the ways that you can create a fun evening with the family without sacrificing the car payment. Your imagination can lead you to many more ideas. Never equate the amount of money spent to the amount of fun your family had.
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on the value of a dollar and frugal living.