On a tight budget?
As a mom of little kids, it can be disheartening to not be able to spend money on fun events for your family. Especially when your kindergartener brings home brochures from school about the latest water park hotel. I’ve been there.
Our city has a huge rodeo in February. It’s such a big deal that all the kids get out of school for 2 days. It’s called Rodeo break. The pressure to go was enormous! It’s famous. Tucson is known for the rodeo. Professionals will be there. The list of reasons to go went on and on. Unfortunately, the rodeo was $20-30 a person. Plus two of our kids are under 5 years old so they wouldn’t even remember the rodeo.
I felt bad that we were missing out on such a big thing. Wondered if I was being too stingy. Well, we compromised. My husband took the two oldest and I stayed home with the baby. It was a very expensive outing. After they got back my husband said it was fun, but they would’ve had as much fun at any rodeo. Other ones were as low as $5 a person.
Often it feels like if you leave the house then you have to spend money. Either save money and stay home or venture out and blow the budget.
But the truth is you don’t have to open your wallet to have some fun outside of your house. There are tons of free events all over. You just have to know where to look. Because they are free events the budget for advertising is very small so they are often they are poorly advertised.
Free Family Events in Your Area
Frugal fun does exist! Your area, yes, YOUR AREA has free events for you to take advantage of. It’s incredible how many free events we’ve been able to enjoy. Sometimes I think being on such a tight budget has been a blessing because I’ve been able to find so many fun activities for free that we never would have known about otherwise.
We’ve been a “Tourist in Your Own Town” for just a dollar plus free bus rides to all the places around the city offering free admission. Non-profit organizations put together Free Fun Friday where each Friday during the summer had a list of places to get in free. Other museums offer free admission on certain days if you come after dark. We’ve watched movies in the grass at the school, enjoyed a free petting zoo at the park with camel rides and yoga at the community garden where they also offer free gardening classes.
Free events are in every community and they can be pretty great! The trick is knowing how to find out about them.
Where to Look to Find Free Family Events Near You
Over the course of our eight-year marriage, we’ve lived in 5 states. FIVE. We’ve moved a lot and I got to know each place really well. All of the places we’ve lived have had fabulous free activities. Plus all of those places use the same methods to get the word out about their events. So these tips are good no matter where you live.
Tip #1 Parks Website
Check both the local park page as well any state or national parks that are in your area. You can find a calendar of events online. Be sure to check the main page of your parks and recreation department because free family events are often listed on their main page.
Tip #2 Community Newsletter
Don’t underestimate the value of a community newsletter. Sometimes they just show up in your mailbox so be careful not to throw them away. If not, you can find one in your city hall building or check to see if there is a website for your community. Lots of newsletters are now part of an email list that you’ll have to sign up for.
Tip #3 Elementary School
Some people are fooled into thinking that events at the elementary school are only for students. More often than not these activities are open to the community. Usually, you’ll find the free events are movies on the grass or holiday parties.
Tip #4 Join the Email List of Your Favorite Places
The majority of businesses have special coupons only available to those on their email list. Your email might get clogged up at some point but it’s worth it to find out about free or highly discounted admission prices on certain days that aren’t advertised on their website. You can always unsubscribe from any that send more spam than deals.
Tip #5 Radio
Easily the simplest way to find out about your town’s events. The radio is almost always announcing some event going on around town. Not all are free so you’ll have to pay attention to which ones are. The radio always announces county fairs and giveaways from local stores. Do not overlook the radio.
Tip #6 Colleges and Universities
If you’re lucky enough to live by a college you have hit the jackpot. It’s almost like they know students are poor and need free stuff! Check out the event pages for their museums, sports, and calendar of upcoming events.
Tip #7 Local Library
I can not tell you how much I love public libraries. They have bulletin boards that have events around the community as well as ones they are hosting. Check out story time, game night or any of the free classes that are being offered for both kids and adults.
What to do when there aren’t any free family events near you.
So now you know how to find free family events you are set. But Free events aren’t happening every week. Sometimes you’ll have to come up with your own frugal fun. Here are a few favorites to try.
- Family bike ride
- Go for a hike
- Visit the library
- Make your own pizza night
- Swim at the lake
- Have a picnic
- Play at the park
- Have a dance party
- Go camping
One last thing about Free Family Events
Not only do you not have to spend money to have fun, but big huge events aren’t the only way to create family memories. Think of your childhood and see if some of your favorite moments aren’t riding bikes as a family or a picnic at the park. The important thing here is to have fun together as a family and make memories that will last much longer than the event itself.
So go out and have some fun!
Finally, don’t forget to download this free diaper bag checklist so you’ll be fully prepared no matter what free event you’ve discovered in your neighborhood.
Hey, I’m Ali! I’m a mom of three and am on a journey to pay off student loans while raising a family. I blog about mom life and fun frugal living at www.meanwhileatnaptime.com
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