How to Save Money and Still have Fun With Your Family

Low-cost fun for the entire family can sometimes feel like it is hard to achieve.

Consider the cost of seeing a family movie, even a matinee can be $7/person. For our family that would be $28. That does not even include the cost of gas to drive there (or public transportation if you live in a big city with no car) or any snacks!

If you went to the movies only 2 times a month and purchased no food or drinks your monthly cost would be $56. Using the same 2/month spend, the annualized cost would be $672!!!

That said there are plenty of ways to have low-cost fun with your family! 

How do you have low-cost fun on a low budget?

When you’re looking for things to do on a budget, consider what kinds of activities each member of your family is interested in. Some people love to spend hours at a museum, while others love movies, the outdoors, sports, or reading.

Try to come to a consensus so that everyone is happy with the chosen activity. Agreeing on what to do is important.

If you can’t agree, make a list of the things that each person wants to do. Ensure all of the suggestions are free or inexpensive, based on an established cost limit, then put all the suggestions into a jar and draw one out.

That way, it’s fair to everyone. The next time, draw another one. Each person will eventually get what he or she suggests.


How Can I Entertain My Kids Without Spending Money?

The reality is in this fast-paced super busy world. Kids just want to spend time with their parents. Whether they will admit it or not! Spending time with them does not have to break the bank either! Just take a look at these 7 ideas for low-cost fun with the family. 

Make a memory book.

Have everyone in the family get together and make a memory book or scrapbook. Collect photos from your fall, winter, spring, and summer or other scraps and artwork that would fit into a book of memories. This will give you a lasting memento of the good times you had over the last year. Everyone can complete a page. It can become an annual project that will make a very special memento for when your kids are adults. 

Get some outdoor time.

Take the kids to a local park for a Play Day and picnic. Sometimes your kids just need some fresh air and movement. This is a simple low-cost fun way to get both! Just pack a lunch and eat while you are there. That means they get more time to play and you save money by not eating out. 

A great modification of this in the summer can be to go to a local splash pad, water fountain, or other water feature designed to cool you off. Just make sure you pack the sunblock!

Make new or favorite recipes.

Pick out your favorite recipes and make food and drinks with your family. If you are feeling adventurous, you can look for a new recipe to make! Start with drinks like iced tea and lemonade, or pick another family favorite. 


Throw a party.

Get together with your family and throw a bash for all of your friends. Your family can plan the party together, assign a dish or item for each person to bring, and make decorations. Take lots of photos of your party so you can remember the good time you had. 

Go to the zoo or museum.

Check your local area and you may find that your zoo offers free admission. If you are not near one of the 25 – 30 free zoos nationwide, then check to see if they have a low-cost day that you can attend. It’s also a great way to learn about many different kinds of animals.

The other option would be to look into a free admission museum nearby. These tend to be more plentiful. Check for hands-on museums, science museums, or history museums. They 

Finally, if you are a family that may go more than once a year, check out a family membership. While this is a large cost upfront, at certain times of year you may get a discount on the membership and other goodies. Our family has a zoo membership which costs us less than visiting twice. It offers free parking, which saves us $20 for each visit and allows for the addition of a grandparent. For our family, it is worth the expense as we have already visited 3 times this year. 

The same can be said for science museums, they also often offer deals and have reciprocation for other museums across the country that could save you a ton of dough when traveling. Plus, it give you a rainy-day activity if one of your vacation days is a wash. 

Play video games.

Video games can be fun for the whole family. Some game consoles even have games that’ll get the whole family active. Choose a sports game, a family board game, or a racing game and compete against your family for an exciting time together. 

In our house, we love to dance, so we play a lot of Just Dance. Maybe you like playing tennis or soccer? There are games that offer those as well! Check your local library and rent your favorite for free. 

Relax at home.

Enjoying some quiet time at home can be a nice change of pace. Make an indoor picnic dinner for a fun change of pace. Borrow some family-friendly movies from your local library to enjoy. Or get out one of your board games or card games and make a night of it! 


Pick one of these, or come up with your own activity ideas. The most important thing is that you take the time to enjoy your family. How little money you spend won’t matter in the long run, but the memories will be cherished forever!

What do you do with a limited budget?

Need some inspiration for low-cost fun with your family? Check out the No Spend Challenge Toolbox

No Spend Challenge Toolbox - family fun at little or no cost

What’s Included?

  • Step-by-step instructions to run a no-spend challenge
  • 4 Pages of no-spend ideas and room to add your own 
  • No spend activities sheet 
  • No spend monthly planner
  • 7 Day, 21 Day, and 30 Day No Spend Challenge pages
  • Savings Estimate worksheet
  • Notes page

With this toolkit, you and your family will be set to save a ton of money and still have plenty of memorable low-cost family fun!



How to have low cost fun as a family