You and your family can have plenty of fun on a tight budget. With just a little effort and planning, you can find low-cost and even free fun every week.
Creative ways to save
Check out these ideas for saving money while still having fun:
- Take advantage of free outings. Local parks, waterfronts, memorials and art galleries offer scenic spots to spend an afternoon — and all typically for free.
- Go out to lunch. Skip dinner at a restaurant and go for lunch instead, when food is generally cheaper. Splitting an entrée with your partner or a friend also can trim the bill.
- Travel off-season. Spend less and avoid crowds by traveling off-season. Just make sure your destination isn’t off-peak because it’s monsoon season or 150 degrees in the shade. Check out military lodging and consider Space-A travel.
- Travel with a group or check out a tour. Vacationing with a group of friends or family members is fun and can get you discounts on things like hotel rooms or transportation. Tours are sometimes more affordable when you travel in a group, and you’ll have instant travel companions.
- Pick kid-friendly hotels. Stick to hotels that don’t charge extra for your kids to stay in your room when you’re traveling as a family.
- Pitch a tent. Camping is a great alternative to hotels to have fun in the outdoors and explore a new area. Make your campground reservations early, especially in the summer, so you don’t wind up camping in a not-so-scenic parking lot.
- Get deals through Information, Tickets and Travel. Find out how the program can get you discounts on everything from museums to theme parks.
- Throw a potluck dinner party. Having friends over for dinner doesn’t mean you have to cook an expensive four-course meal. Go potluck style and have everyone bring a dish, and keep track of who’s bringing what, so you don’t wind up with five macaroni salads. Shop for your own potluck ingredients at the commissary for major savings.
- Use the library. Get the latest bestseller at your local library. The library has lots of books to choose from, and many libraries now offer downloads, audio books and “speed reads” that let you borrow that new bestseller for a week. Military OneSource’s digital libraries are even more convenient, letting you access loads of free content without leaving home.
- Join group-discount websites. These websites offer deep discounts on everything from flowers to concert tickets for a limited time, and will push the offers right to your inbox.
- Shop online. Online shopping and auction sites can be a great way to save on new or used DVDs, board games, toys, sports equipment and more. Use only trusted websites, and watch out for online scams.
Savvy shopping can lead you to find fun at a discount. Go plan some entertainment today.