Entertainment can add up. Fortunately there are many, many ways to have just as much fun for little or nothing. Here are a few ideas. I’m sure this list is far from exhaustive!
Movie Night at Home
Most expensive way to watch a movie: theater
Second most expensive: rent (assuming it’s something you’ll want to watch again)
Third most expensive: buy new (if it’s something you’ll watch again)
Fourth most expensive: buy used at movie rental places, garage sales, pawn shops
Cheapest: borrow from the library
At the very least, wait till that movie you’ve been dying to see has come out on dvd, and then rent it (if you aren’t sure it’s one you want to purchase) or buy it (if it’s one you know you’ll want). If you are really patient, wait a couple years till it’s $5 at Wal-Mart, or you can find it used.
This is one of the most fun and educational family habits you can develop. My family read literally hundreds of books together, from the time we were little all the way through high school
You don’t have to be a great musician to make music together as a family. Play an instrument (if you can) or sing hymns or folk songs a capella. It might feel silly at first, but ultimately you’ll have lots of fun. Plus it will develop a love of music in your kids.
Bible stories, historical figures, favorite movies, literary characters—all make for fun charade themes.
Board and Card Games
Scrabble is my favorite. Other good ones are Sorry, Uno, Dutch Blitz, Pictionary, Scattergories, Chess, Checkers, Boggle, Balderdash, or The Worst Case Scenario Survival Game, and for little ones, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, or Go Fish. Those are just a few ideas to get you started.
I’m not a puzzle person, but puzzles are great if you enjoy them.
It’s both fun and fulfilling to make something beautiful or useful with your hands.
Books on Tape or Old Radio Shows
While you work puzzles, or craft, you can listen to books on tape, radio programs, or old radio shows on CD like Amos & Andy or Fibber McGee and Molly.
Family Walk or Bike Ride
Take a nature walk or ride together through your neighborhood.
Instead of going out to eat with friends, have them over for an inexpensive dinner like soup and bread. Or have several families over for pot luck. Have games available for the kids, and let the parents enjoy visiting with each other.
Pack a picnic for the back yard or a nearby park.
Fishing is inexpensive and fun. Buy poles used or use inexpensive cane poles.
Outdoor Games With Family and Friends
You don’t have to be involved in organized sports to enjoy the game. Basketball, volleyball, baseball, soccer, flag football, and other active games are fun to play with a large family or group of friends. Plus, it’s good exercise!
The possibilities for cheap entertainment are limitless. If you have any more ideas, tell us about them in a comment!