As your family grows, the cost of entertainment can become unwieldy. A date night out to the movies is expensive enough but when you add the kids, a two-hour outing can cost you well over $50. After housing and food, entertainment can be one of the most draining line items on a budget. But the good news is that entertainment spending is purely discretionary so it is often the easiest expense to pare back on, especially in an emergency. The category is broad — some people would include travel while others might not — but here are a few cheap activities for kids that will help trim the costs.
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Find free or cheap alternatives.
If you have young kids, you’ve probably already realized that they are often entertained by the simplest of things, like when a new toy gets tossed by the wayside in favor of the box that it came in. Take advantage of this when figuring out how to save money for kids’ activities. Fun (expensive) things, like trips to Disney, theatre shows or even pricey classes for toddlers, can probably be replaced with cheaper alternatives. Instead, check out free classes at your local library or price out a cheaper kids’ trip to a local amusement park or carnival.
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Re-evaluate the kids’ activities.
You probably want to find activities to keep your kids busy when they’re not in school. Things like piano lessons, sports camps and extracurricular activities not only keep them occupied but also allow them to discover lifelong hobbies that they might enjoy, make new friends and maybe even help send them to college. However, these all add up and are get especially expensive when you have more than one child attending. Determine where your kids’ interests really lie and consider limiting the activities to one at a time. Or explore cheaper alternatives, like classes at the local YMCA or through your town’s recreation department. Your wallet will thank you.
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Split costs with others. If you are considering making a larger purchase for the kids — for example, buying a jungle gym or a trampoline — see if your neighbors would be interested in splitting the cost if you think their kids will be using it a lot anyway. This type of arrangement might not be for everyone but if you trust your neighbors and are covered from an insurance perspective, it could be a good way to save money. If you need a babysitter for a night out, team up with another family to hire one sitter for all the kids. Or, even better, offer to watch your friends’ children in exchange for them returning the favor in the future.
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