Thursday, June 30, 2011

Frugal Dates and Family Fun

I recently was asked to present on this subject at church, and thought you guys might like some info too! Some of it I've discussed before and some is new!

Dates on a Budget

·         Look for free activities. Going for a walk at the beach or a picnic by a lake are wonderful ideas.

·         Check daily deal sites, like Groupon or Living Social, for cheap date activities. Also, is a great place to get restaurant gift certificates cheap.

·         Start a babysitting exchange group where a group of families trade off watching each other’s kids.

·         Instead of eating at a restaurant, consider their “to-go.” You get the same food minus the tip, and then you can take it for a picnic.

·         Sign-up for emails from your favorite restaurants and places, and if you use Facebook consider “liking” them.* Companies love to offer coupons.  Some offer BOGO meals or free food on your birthday or anniversary.

·         Look for membership perks. AAA and many professional organizations often have great discounts for museums, parks, and other cultural events.

·         Consider a high school performance. Many high school music and theater programs are quite good in quality, but a lot less money. The added bonus is supporting your community.

Family Fun

·         Just like for dates, look for free activities like going to beaches and parks, or just play in the backyard with a sprinkler.  Crafts and gardening can be fun for kids. Go on a camping trip in the backyard.

·         In the summer, there are tons of great programs for kids. The library offers summer reading programs, many bowling places offer free bowling, and some movie theaters offer cheap movies especially for families. Don’t forget craft stores and home improvement stores who often offer free programs to make stuff. Bass Pro Shop is another great place for free activities!

·         Again check daily deal sites and your memberships for great deals on activities, and sign-up for emails from places you really love.

·         Do some service. It’s free and rewarding.

·         Look for kids eat free at restaurants. For every day of the week, there is some restaurant that offers a kids eat free promotion.  Chick-fil-a even offers activities at their kids eat free night. (FYI Cow appreciation Day is July 8th, which means if you dress like a cow you get a free meal! It's really simple too.)

·         Redbox and the library. The libraries around here are awesome when it comes to movies you can borrow. For newer movies, Redbox is usually easier to get them. There are tons of free codes for Redbox. Two that I know of are DVDONME and BREAKROOM. They also often send codes via email or their monthly text.

General Advice

Plan fun around promotions, coupons, and other savings. I don’t think there is anything yet that I haven’t found a coupon, discount, or promotion for. And remember keep it simple! Often the best activities are the ones that cost the least amount of money. With a little planning and creativity, you can have tons of fun for little to no money.

*I highly recommend a second accout for signing-up for things, otherwise your inbox will be full! Also, you can create a Facebook profile specifically for "liking" pages of companies.
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