Every family wants to have fun while not breaking the bank. I want to start off by reminding you that it is so important for couples to have a date night, whether it is once/week or once/month but it is necessary for couples no matter how long they have been together to keep the romance alive.
I know what some of you are thinking, "Who is going to watch the kids? I can't afford a babysitter!" Well, I have a simple solution for you.
Instead of shelling out $8/hour (or whatever babysitters are charging these days) and worrying about the reliability of a babysitter why not swap babysitting duties with a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative? Let's say you and your spouse want to have a date night every other Friday night. You could make an arrangement with another couple to have them watch the kids on your date nights and you will watch their kids on two occasions, it doesn't necessarily have to be for a date night if they don't have date nights but it should be for about the same amount of time so that it's fair. This idea can also but used when grocery shopping so that you don't overspend because the kids are putting extra items in the shopping cart when you're not looking.
Does you family like to watch movies? Why rent them when you can borrow them for free from your local library? They usually have a great selection of movies to choose from and you can teach your kids all the benefits of the library while you're there.
If you prefer to see a movie at the theater once in a while see if there is a discount movie theater nearby. In my hometown there is a movie theater called Movies 10 where the regular price is $2/person and on Mondays it is only 50 cents/person so I can wait a couple weeks to see a movie for a significant discount.
Don't have a discount theater nearby? You can still do some things to help bring down the cost of a night out. Eat before going to the theater so you don't have to load up on expensive, unhealthy snacks. If your kids insist on having candy, sneak it in. It's really not that big of a deal because their candy is way overpriced for the same brands and amount of candy.
I used to work at a Rite Aid right next to a movie theater and everyone came in to buy snacks and candy and always joked about sneaking it into the theater. I mean if you are paying $10/adult and $8/child (I thought it was less, goes to show how long it's been since I payed full price for a movie ticket) to see a film I think you should be able to bring in something to munch on as long as it doesn't bother the people around you but that's just my opinion.
There is also the option of buying your tickets in bulk at a wholesale club such as Cosco, BJs, or Sam's Club if you are already a member there. These tickets don't expire so you don't have to worry about wasting your money if you don't use them in time.
On cold, wet days have some fun in your own home. Have a scavenger hunt at home. I would have loved to do this as a child since I loved Easter egg hunts so much. There are two ways that you can plan this, you can either hide small things throughout the house with a clue in each spot and have a bigger prize at the end or you can just have the clues scattered throughout the house with a big prize at the end and the kids can work as a team to figure it out. If you have more than more child make sure there is a prize for each one so there is no fighting and/or crying.
Just as it is important for couples to have a date night consistently I firmly believe it is important to have a game night either weekly or monthly so the family can have fun together. Try to incorporate some bonding games and games that help develop good communication skills. You can pick up new games when they go on sale and watch the online sales. You can write to or email companies and tell them how much you love their game and they might just send you a coupon!
I also think it is a great idea to have a weekly or monthly Craft Day to encourage your child's creativity. You can even re-use things around the house such as toilet paper and paper towel rolls, plastic milk jugs, popsicle sticks, old broken crayons, old towels, shirts, pants, or socks, and magazines. Use Google and Pinterest to get some ideas on crafts you can do with your children.
Finally on those sunny Spring and Summer days why not have a bake sale and/or lemonade stand? They are low cost, super fun, and you can use this to teach your kids the value of money. Kids love to help by pouring in the ingredients, stirring everything together and licking the bowl and spoon at the end.
I hope that you can take some of these suggestions and apply them to your life. Are there any fun, low cost activities that you do as a family that I didn't mention? If so, please share them in the comment section.
Hello Going Crazy Wanna Go? readers! I want to thank Janet for letting me write this post for you guys. I have a blog called Adventures of Sasha where I write about pretty much anything and everything but I am passionate about personal finance and I love doing reviews and giveaways.