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 gasbuddy.com 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.