Consider changing the beneficiary of your prepaid tuition plan if it better fits a different child than for whom it was originally intended.

5 Simple Ways to Save on Entertainment Costs

Creative methods can reduce how much you spend on family fun. 

Consider changing the beneficiary of your prepaid tuition plan if it better fits a different child than for whom it was originally intended.

Local sporting events are often discounted or even free.

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With the economy stuck in the doldrums for the past few years, it can be a challenge to have money left over in your budget at the end each month. This is especially the case if you have a growing family.

When it comes to enjoying entertainment on a tight budget, the key is finding ways to stretch your dollar. If you think outside the box you can still enjoy many of the things you’ve done in the past, albeit a little more frugally. If you’re looking for ways to save on entertainment costs, here are some simple ways to get started.

1. Save at the movies.

With the average ticket price coming in at over $8, it can be difficult to find room in the budget to go to the movies. If you have a family of four, the trip can easily add up to $40 or $50, even if you don’t include getting pricey snacks at the theater. If that cost is not an option for you, you can consider a frugal alternative, including going to the local “dollar” theater to see a late-release film, watching a move through Netflix or an online service or renting a movie at the library.

Using one of these options to scratch your movie-watching itch will instantly slash the cost of this form of entertainment and still be fun. You can also make it more fun by preparing snacks for the show.

2. Pay less at the museum.

Museums can be a great form of entertainment and an easy way to kill a few hours. Museums are always looking for ways to get more people in their doors. Many offer free days each week or month where you can enjoy the museum without an admittance fee.

Another option to consider is that many museums take donations as opposed to a posted admission fee. This doesn’t mean you should go in without paying anything, but you can still be frugal by giving a donation that fits within your budget.

3. Skip meals out.

Many families consider going out for dinner as a form of entertainment. The problem is that it can cost a handsome sum. Instead of going out for a costly meal, why not make dinner at home together? Not only can this generally slash the overall cost but you can also prepare a healthier meal and portion size. Not only will this provide a great time of togetherness, but it’ll be a smart source of frugal fun. You can turn it into a full evening by renting a movie and popping some popcorn or making homemade ice cream – which will be a fraction of the cost you’d spend at a restaurant or theater.

4. Give local sports a try.

If you love going to live sporting events, it can be difficult to balance that with being frugal. However, there are options to consider that will still allow you to enjoy a live sporting event. If you live near a local high school or smaller college, you can attend many of their sporting events for several dollars.

Minor league clubs are also a great option to consider as their ticket prices are generally much cheaper than a professional event. With the minor league option, be on the lookout for family or discount nights as many add fun, free activities and discounted ballpark food on special days to encourage families to attend.

5. Use daily deals.

Daily deal sites infuse frugality into your entertainment choices, as long as you watch the deals and only buy ones as your budget allows. Deal sites are especially fond of offering two-for-one arrangements or a cheaper admittance to a venue. Don’t overlook your local newspaper as many larger local papers have their own form of daily deals. If you choose this option, just make sure you don’t allow it to get the best of you and spend more than you otherwise would.

Spending money on entertainment can take a toll on your budget. With a little creativity and frugality, it doesn’t have to.