Friday, June 16, 2006

Frugal Fridays - Entertainment

Monday or Tuesday I started thinking about posting frugal entertainment ideas for today's post, then all week long I am seeing other posts about the same topic. It seems everyone is out of school and has summer entertainment and travel on the mind.

Jenn at Frugal Upstate posted Festivals~Cheap Summer Fun!
Free Summer Activities For Your Kids! can be found at Getting Out of Debt
Vacation Sans Bankruptcy can be found on Want Not

Here are some more ideas that we use year round.

This doesn't have to be a lot of work. I regularly check the event calendars on our state , state parks and library websites. These are full of free and low cost events for all ages. We also get a free paper that lists quite a few events.

If there is someplace you want to go check their website first. You can find coupons or times that are discounted. For example, by checking the website I found our local art museum is free on Tuesdays and offers free kids classes on Saturday. Another museum near us is free on Thursday nights.

Sometimes the website will have deals you can't find anywhere else. I learned of a local theater's free movie camp (kids movies in the AM) on the web site. I haven't seen this advertised anywhere else, not even at the theater itself.

Go early. Go late. Don't go on the weekends!
In other words go when it isn't busy. Not only is it more enjoyable, (in my opinion!) it is cheaper. Movies offer matinees, restaurants early bird specials, some museums and amusement parks offer after 5 specials. (and with little kids do you really want to spend the whole day at the amusement park?!)

During the week you can find great deals at restaurant. Does going out to eat count as entertainment? Well in this house it does. We love to go out to eat. During the week there are often specials where kids eat free. There is a local Italian type restaurant here that offers Two for Tuesday, buy one pasta dish and get one free. We used to have a minor league ball park near where we lived. They offered lots of family specials and discounted tickets during the week to try to fill the park.

Buy the Membership.
To the museum, to the zoo or other places your family loves. I will say right now we don't have any memberships, because we don't live close to any zoos and the art museum is already free on Tuesday. There is another museum I am considering, but it is an hour away so I am not sure how much we would go.

But before we moved, we had a zoo and science museum membership. The zoo membership for the family was $55. What a deal! For $55 we could go to our zoo anytime as often as we wanted for a year. We could also go to lots of zoos all over the country for free or discounted admission. At the time we lived close enough to five zoos we could visit for a day trip. (We never did make it to all of them though!) The science museum was slightly more expensive, but was similar in that we could use it at other science museums.

What I really loved about the memberships was we could pick up and go whenever. We didn't have to plan it for the budget or even plan for the full day. We could go to the zoo for an hour. We could go when the budget was tight and we had no cash. By the way, memberships are great family gifts to give and receive!

Pack a lunch!
If you are not taking advantage of cheap dining as mentioned above, save yourself a ton of cash and pack enough food and drinks for the day. The food at places like the zoo or amusement parks is so over priced! At the zoo we could easily spend more than our membership cost in food and drinks for the day.

So enjoy cheap entertainment this summer, and all year round! Research. Go early or late and during the week. Buy the membership and pack your lunch!


  1. One thing that's really nice about a movie matinee is that, during the week, it's never crowded. Even for first-run movies! No waiting on line, no jostling for a good seat!

  2. Good hints here!

    Thanks for your comment on my post at

    Mary, mom to many

  3. I wrote an article on my blog back in Feb about reciprocal memberships for museums. Basically, it is a joint thing where if you join one museum, you can get in free to all the other museums in then network in the whole country! The little sticker is it doesn't count for museums withing something like 90 miles from the one you are the official "member" at. So you join a museum far away from home, preferably at a cheaper rate than the one near you. There is one in Anniston AL that is $35 a year. . . .

    Anyway, you can read about the whole thing along with the link to the sites for the reciprocal art museums and science museums. Pretty cool stuff. (I dont mean this to be a self plug, but just thought it might save you and your readers some money)

  4. Jenn,
    Please do leave more hints and ideas and even link to your blog!

    The Science museum we were members of didn't have that 90 mile clause. It was good at all the museums on the list, but that is a smart idea to get around that clause!