Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Finding Inexpensive Family Fun

In the current economy, finding ways to still have fun as a family without spending too much money is not an easy task. While there are many wonderful activities to do around the house, especially now that the weather is starting to warm up and the days are longer, family day trips can provide time for bonding and building memories (and keep the kids from making a mess of your house for a little while).

No Cost (or almost no cost) activities:
A Picnic in the Park: If you make your own lunch (the old stand by of PB&J always tastes better outside) and go to a public park you will spend no more than what you usually would for your daily lunch and have so much more fun! Bring along your camera and capture the smiles.

A Day Hike: Check with your local parks and recreation departments for day hikes in your area. Some may require an entry fee but there should be many that have free access. Make sure you bring along plenty of water, a first aid kit and wear sturdy shoes.

Low Cost activities:

State Parks: Explore what your state has to offer. You can learn about the history of your state or town by exploring your local state parks. Many state parks charge a per car admission, but check your State Parks and Recreation website for details on fees and hours.

County Fairs: Summer time is Fair season! County fairs are usually much less expensive than the larger, more crowded State Fairs. Your children will enjoy wandering the animal exhibits, watching performances by local musicians and dance groups, and looking at the art displays in the competition halls. Watch out for the food, though. Not only will you consume a days worth of calories in one meal, but you could easily spend a week’s food budget in one visit, if you are not careful. To cut back on your food costs you can try a few things: check to see if outside food is allowed; plan your trip between meal times and eat before and after your visit outside of the fair; if you plan to eat one meal in the park, choose lunch as you usually eat less at lunch.

Fishing: Most states allow you to purchase a single day fishing license, and children under 16 usually don’t require a license. If you already have poles and basic hooks and weights a carton of worms is all you will need (and if you don’t have the basics you could probably pick some up at a garage sale or borrow from a friend).

Check the newspaper for local events: You will be surprised what you can find. Many local theater companies offer inexpensive productions. You may also find free concerts or movies in the park, safety or family focused fairs, or other unique local offerings.

Another option for money savings is to purchase family memberships to local museums, zoos or amusement parks. While these do require an initial investment, you usually make up the cost in two to three visits. We have memberships to both our local zoo and a wonderful children’s museum which will provide us with wonderful family fun all summer long!

Get out there and have some wholesome family fun. You don’t need to break the bank to get out and play together.

- Christine

Posted by Christine of Random Thoughts With Chris

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