Every family would like to save more money, but we often get so bogged down in the costs of everyday living that it gets difficult to cut expenses. It seems that everyone in the family has a specific thing that they don’t want to give up, or in some cases, can’t. Food is one of the biggest costs for families, and it gets even more so when a child has allergies and needs gluten free bread or peanut free foods. With all of the demands placed on your income, it gets increasingly difficult to stretch that family dollar as far as you want it to some months. In response, we often cut out expenses that we don’t need, but can be really important. Every family needs to let off a little steam, and entertainment is tough when you’re already stretched thin. Here are some tips to getting the most out of your entertainment budget:
Out of Home Entertainment
Going to the movies or a show can be fun but, besides food, entertaining your family can cost a fortune. Let’s say you take your family to the movies, for example. The kids are going to want candy, snacks, popcorn, and a soda right after you’ve just paid a small fortune just buying the movie tickets. If you’re going to do this, stay away from the concession stand. The markup is incredible but, if you can, stay away from the movie theater all together. If you insist on going, bring something along or have your kids commit, beforehand, to only getting one item.
At Home Entertainment
At-home entertainment may sound boring, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to make it as simple as going to a movie rental store and picking out a movie only to sit on the couch for the evening. Instead, make it all about the experience. That’s why we go to the movies, after all. If you’re with the family and you want to all spend some quality time together, make an evening of it. Pick out a few snacks, something like popcorn, but then choose something that has to be made, cooked, or put together. Get the family together and make your snacks. This can be a really fun run up to the movie, and gets everyone into the spirit of the moment. Then pick out a couple movies and watch them while munching down on the food that your family just had a great time making together.
Many families have forgone going on vacation for years now due to the downturn in the economy, but after a while, saving isn’t worth it. A family has to get out and break up the routine of life. If you’re going to go on vacation and are on a budget, instead of going far away, stick close to home. Take a tour of historical sites in your area or go camping or fishing. There are lots of options for families that don’t cost a small fortune to do – just takes a little planning.
You may want to save instead of doing any of these things, but you have to realize that a family needs to spend time together. It’s important for morale and bonding. Look at some of these choices, as well as others, to get out and do something together. Just keep your budget in mind when planning, and let your family let off some stress, kick back, and just have fun.