Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Frugal Recreation and Gas Use

Dana asks....

Where we have the most trouble is of course our fuel costs for our work commute now and entertainment. There isn't much to do about fuel other than try to scout out your best prices but do you have ideas that work well with your family for entertainment that is frugal and fun?

Gasoline costs are a huge concern for us too. We use to find the cheapest gas prices in town for fueling up. We don't commute since we work and school at home, and we try and run all errands in one trip as often as possible. Our gas budget is $20 in our economic Volvo and $20 in our gas guzzling family Suburban per week. Unless we're all together or both need a car at the same time, we try and drive the Volvo as often as possible. And there have been several times where we had to say no to something because gas was low and had to be saved for something more important.

Gas costs are also figured in when we are looking for something to do as a family. And with a family of our size we have to make sure that our recreational activities don't cost an arm and a leg.

  • We live close enough to the ocean that a day trip to the beach is a fun thing to do. We pack a picnic lunch and then our only cost is gas and all the sandy laundry we bring back.

  • We also make use of our local YMCA. For a family day pass we can swim, workout, play basketball, or hit the racquetball courts.

  • Local playgrounds are places we visit for free. It's amazing how much fun different playground equipment can be.

  • A few times a year we go to a movie as a family. This is a spendier event so to keep costs low we smuggle in our own snacks and hit the matinee to save a few extra dollars.

  • We find local hiking trails and head out into the woods with a picnic.

  • We rent movies for free from the library and have movie nights with homemade snacks. (We're watching The Waltons right now.) We also have a netflix subscription and sometimes use the free codes at redbox.

  • We also hit local aquatic parks on their bargain family pass days. The parks around here have huge slides and pools with waves and sprayers. Lots of fun!

  • We keep our eye out for free community events and celebrations. We've attended Native American pow-wows, Scottish festivals, Earth Day events, county fairs, holiday parades, free outdoor concerts, kids fishing events at the beginning of fishing season, local sporting events and all sorts of other fun things. We don't pass up FREE very often.

  • We also enjoy zoos, aquariums, and museums. This is also a spendier event so we get in on bargain days with a family pass when we can.

Fun can be had for cheap if you just look in the right places.


gail said...

we also look for cheap and free entertainment. this year hubby bought a zoo pass. we live within walking distance of our zoo and have used it many times over the summer. we even got in free to the woodland park zoo (seattle) when we were over there visiting family. there are several other zoos we could get into if we wanted to travel! sometimes it pays to get a pass for the year knowing that you'll use it alot.

Anonymous said...

We save money on gas by riding bikes when possible and my husband commutes to work on his bike. We can make a fun family event out of running errands on bike too.

momofEAP said...

We are planning to go to the drive-in. They are having $10 carload so the whole family is in for the cost of one at the regular movie and we still bring our own snacks! :)

Shirley said...

For our anniversary we buy a season pass to Wildlife Safari in Winston, Or. It is located about 15 miles from where we live. After 2 visits......the pass has paid for itself and all the rest of the visits are free. It is amazing what you can find to do in your own local area without having to spend a fortune on traveling. I love reading all your posts about saving money on groceries, etc.