Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Single Income Families: Frugal Entertainment

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.

Read Aloud

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

Make Music

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!


Rebecca said...

I love all your ideas! Most of them (except the movie ones) are things we do.

What's your opinion about inviting people over to watch movies? I ask because I think it rather pathetic that we've never been invited to watch a movie with anyone (well, once). I guess I assumed when we ditched the box that our friends would invite us over to watch the really good ones. But one friend recently mentioned that he thought it was considered rude to watch a movie when company was over.

So we really watch the cheap movie theatre carefully, but still miss some things.

Charity Grace said...

In answer to your question about inviting others over to watch movies...

If it's someone we know well and get to spend time with often, a movie night would be fun. I've done this a handful of times through the years.

If it's someone we're getting to know or don't get to visit with often, I'd rather spend time in good conversation than in front of the TV.

That said, I've seen events like having people over to watch a movie or football game be a good way to reach out, because they feel more comfortable in that setting, rather than having to keep up a conversation with people they don't know.

I really love the concept of movie discussion groups, both to sharpen discernment and cultural awareness among believers, and to start conversations of a spiritual/cultural nature with unbelievers. That would be fun to be involved in sometime. However, I don't see it on my radar anytime soon! :)