About the Money Mondays Segments:
Welcome to Money Mondays! In this weekly segment, I will be providing short financial tips and tricks on how to improve your overall financial situation. Learning to be good with your money starts with little bits of knowledge accumulated over time. I’m seeking to help people who are in search of financial independence so that they may achieve their goals. Thank you for reading!
Frugal Family Entertainment
Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive even though there are a lot of spendy things to do out in the world. This is especially true with kids – what was once just two tickets can now be 3, 4 or 5. We are always in search of entertainment that is either free or at least very reasonable.
The kids’ favorite source of entertainment is playgrounds at public parks (which falls into our favorite category – free). Not only is the cost perfect, but the kids love it. We are always searching for new parks to explore when we are in new places. It’s also a great chance for the kids to socialize with other kids while we are traveling around the country.
We also spend a lot of time exploring nature through National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges as well as state parks. We have the annual pass which allows free access to all the National Parks and recreation areas for only $80 a year. We go to enough of these to make the money go quite a long ways. On top of that, a lot of the national parks are actually free. It’s usually the more popular attractions that cost money.
The national options are not always close by, but state parks usually are, and they tend to be very reasonable in price. Most states also offer an annual pass for a very reasonable price as well, so you can explore different parks in your state all year around. We love being able to get outside and explore nature with the kids!
Another great option is looking on Groupon. It can be hit or miss, but there are a lot of attractions and entertainment options which will put together good deals on Groupon. This is certainly worth looking into when whether you are exploring a new area, or looking for something to do right in your home city.
We found a great deal as a two for one at the Shenandoah Caverns in Virginia, and the kids were free. There was a tour guide leading the expedition in the caverns, and they were amazing. The kids had a blast. There were also a couple of other cool attractions there for the kids besides the caverns – all included in the price.
We have found a number of good Groupon deals even prior to hitting the road. It tends to be a great option for smaller and more local attractions which get you off the more beaten path. Just be careful to shop around as Groupon is not always the best deal, but it’s certainly worth looking into.
There are also a number of non-profit organizations that either reasonable prices or free days (or both). With a little planning, you can save quite a bit of money.
We have found that children’s museums frequently have free days every month or on certain holidays. These children’s museums are very interactive and a great option for keeping the kiddos entertained. Discovery centers also tend to be fairly inexpensive and also frequently have free days. These fall into a similar category to the children’s museums but are usually more nature/outdoor oriented.
We have also found other museums and even zoos that have free days. They are not always the most convenient, but that is where the planning comes in. We are currently outside of Houston, and there are a plethora of museums that offer free days. We recently explored the Houston Museum of Natural Science. They are free on Thursday after 2:00 pm. The kids can only make it through a few exhibits before they were too tired, so it’s awesome that we got in free. And, we can go on another Thursday to explore more of what it has to offer. Museums can also fall into the category of Groupon if you keep your eyes out for a deal.
Sure, doing things like Disney World are awesome, but who can fit that into the budget (it’s become a little crazy expensive). There is so much to see and explore at a reasonable cost, even right out your back door. I hope this helps you think outside the box some in order to find great inexpensive options to help keep your family (especially the kids) entertained. We’d love to hear what other frugal entertainment options you have found. Let us know in the comments below!!