When did going to the movies get so expensive? Between buying tickets for your family, paying for parking, and purchasing popcorn, candy, and drinks, you feel like you just put a down payment on a house. You swear you saw a sign informing you that next time, you’ll be required to sign over your first-born male child in exchange for entrance to the theater. And it’s not just films. It seems like all of your favorite forms of entertainment have gotten more pricey.
From zoos to museums to amusement parks, you practically have to cash in the kids’ college funds just to have a fun day out. And that family trip to Hawaii went out the window right along with your cost of living increase. So what can you do for fun when your pocketbook is practically empty?
For starters, stay home. What I mean by this is that there are all kinds of fun activities you can do that don’t require you to leave the house. Spending too much on movies? Try Netflix.
For less than $20 per month (what you might spend on two tickets to the theater) you can enjoy three DVDs of your choice at a time. That means one for the kids, one for the adults, and one for the whole family. So pop up some Orville Redenbacher and catch your favorite flicks in the comfort of your own home (plus, PJs in public tend to send the message that you’ve given up…at home, perfectly acceptable.
Or here’s a wild idea: try playing a board game. Many families have forgotten how much fun it can be to bust out a round of Monopoly or Life. And with newer games like Cranium, there’s something for everyone (trivia, charades, etc.). Don’t underestimate how much fun you can have by pulling out a board game and really connecting with your family.
If you’re starting to get cabin fever and you’ve got your heart set on going out, try taking advantage of discounts. Many museums and theme parks offer family discount days throughout the year, so keep your eye out for these special dates. And if you feel like you just need to get away from it all, forget about flying to a major city to go on a shopping spree for the weekend. Instead, keep it close to home with a camping trip. You may spend some money initially to outfit your family with tents and sleeping bags, but a weekend in the wilderness will be well worth the investment.
Time spent reading, fishing, or even playing Frisbee will leave you more relaxed than a harrowing trip through airline terminals and taxi stands anyway. And camping equipment can be used over and over again.
So instead of spending a bunch of money you don’t have, consider sticking closer to home for your entertainment. You’ll get more time to connect with your kids without worrying about the credit card bill to come.