Lower Family Entertainment Costs

tips to reduce family entertainment costs

Family entertainment is one expense you can do without if needed. But it would make life boring. So let's play it smart. You can change your entertainment plans and have just as much fun for much less cost. Entertainment costs should be about 4-6% of total household budget.

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Cutting Recreation Costs

Your recreation costs should be around 4-6% of your total take home pay

Recreation costs include dining out, going to the movies, hitting the fast food chains, vacation travel, concerts, etc.

Family recreation is one area that can be reduced to meet some of your financial goals. You can do this by cutting your recreational activities to 1/4th of your total cost by simply shifting outside recreation to self-planned activities.

 

For example:

Dining:
let's say that you dine out once each week. Your cost reduction plan will limit your dining out to 1 time each month replaced by three times dining-in with friends (alternating among friends).

Movies:
let's say on average that you go to the movies 2 times each month. Your cost reduction plan will limit your going to the movies 1 time every two months replaced by 3 times inviting friends over for an in-home video.

Fast Foods:
let's say on average that you dine at fast food establishments 4 times each week. Your cost reduction plan will limit your fast food activity to 1 time per week replaced by a more healthy menu of prepared vegetables and fruits.

These cost reduction tips do not decrease recreation time. It simply shifts from paid-service activities to more self-planned activities.

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Dining Smart

The convenience of drive-ups and fast foods drive up dining cost — not to mention the obesity numbers

Reducing dining costs involves two cost-cutting areas:

  1. dining with coupons and other restaurant specials
  2. reduce dining-out and eating more at home

 

Dining out with coupon savings

Use coupons and other restaurant specials when dining out. Keep a file folder of all dining coupons retrieved from coupon pacs and other mail-in items. You will have on file an inventory of restaurant favorites at reduced pricing.

Limit your dining pleasure to those establishments that offer the best bargain.

Also check out online sites for dining specials and discounts:

Slice, Dice, and Skewer Your Dining Bills: restaurant.com

Establish a monthly dining-out budget based on your financial goals. Use coupons and dining specials to keep yourself within budget.

Dining Out Coupons:

 

Dining in

You can copy the "taste" and "variety" that you will find in a restaurant by shopping the gourmet section of your local grocer. You can find some quick and easy prep meals that simulate a restaurant meal — for about half the price.

For some fun, try out some new recipes with friends and family:

Fabulous recipes:
eat.epicurious.com
Easy to prepare meals:
www.allrecipes.com

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Throw a House Party for Recreation

House Parties Bring Food and Friends Together

Throwing a house party can be a great recreational event without breaking the budget — that is if you do it right:

  1. sponsor the event at your house or some local park
  2. send out email invitations
  3. assign others to bring food to the party
  4. provide some kind of game or fun

    view FREE download party kits
     
    christmas party kit wall street trader kit
    new year's eve kit game of poker kit
    halloween party kit    

 

Have a murder mystery party

A fun event for all ages is a murder mystery party. Many of these mystery kits can be download for both adults and children.

Murder Mystery Kits:

 

Party planning and shopping

Having the right decor can make a fun event entertaining. For great party supplies, gifts and favors ... search online for party decor and planning:

Party Shops:

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Having Your Own Movie House

Designing your own movie house

Let's face it. You can't replicate the big screen movie house in your own home. But going to the movies comes with a price — reaching close to $15-$20 per ticket in some cities.

 

Some cost cutting ideas

hit the movies in the off-time:
this is when prices come down for matinées and other specials

hit the movie houses in historical districts:
the movies may not be the latest releases, but you can capture the same big-movie house effect for about half the price.

wait for the video release:
movies are converted to home use within weeks from it release. So you don't need to wait too long before seeing the film at home.

You might consider throwing a video party and inviting a few friends to enjoy the evening:

View the latest video releases

What's new in the movies

Theatre News

 

Have you considered your own movie house

Probably something you might consider with your movie ticket savings.

link to our Home Improvement Center for home theater design and home entertainment ideas and products

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Reducing Your Vacation Costs

Doing something local to reduce vacation costs

We all need a vacation. So instead of sacrificing your vacation plans to cut costs, search for vacation discounts and specials.

 

Never pay retail for vacation again

search vacation package for rock-bottom prices on travel, extended stay, and entertainment.

Vacation Packages:

 

Find cheaper airline tickets

Airline Tickets:

Need FlightFund Miles? Buy the frequent flyer miles you need to reach your free airline ticket! No need to wait!

 

Find cheaper lodging

Lodging:

Great resource center on savvy traveling places and tips:
www.savvytraveler.com

 

Do some outdoor activities

Do some outdoor camping / or outdoor hiking, biking to reduce vacation costs:
visit a national park
view directory of state sites for list of state parks
go camping directory

Travel guides:
link to our SayFunTravel center for travel guides in each state

 

Reduce your travel vacation to local events:

— do some day travel to events, parks, beaches, etc.
— eat out at a restaurant for lunch / dinner
— lodge at home to save; breakfast at home

Travel guides:
link to our SayFunTravel center for travel guides in each state

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Hitting Those FREE Areas

Take a bike when you visit a park — could become a great recreational gig

Community parks and recreation —
take a family picnic and hike:
click for community directories

State parks and recreation —
take a family trip to visit and even camp overnight:
click for state-by-state travel guides

Visit a national historical site —
many of these parks are open FREE of charge:
visit a national park

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Eliminating Vices

$1 spent daily for lotteries, coffee, smoking and a soda equals $1460 a year. Some interesting facts:

State Lotteries:

  • Lotteries depend most on those least able to afford them
  • The average player spends $313 per year on the lottery
  • Those with incomes of less than $10,000 spend $597
  • African-Americans spend $998 compared to $210 for whites.
  • High school dropouts spend four times as much on the lottery as do college graduates
  • More than half of all lottery tickets are bought by just 5 percent of those who play,
  • The National Opinion Research Center estimates that problem gamblers (those addicted to gambling and whose families often suffer as a result) account for 14 percent of total lottery revenues.

 

Gambling:

  • It is estimated by the National Academy of Science that there are 15.4 million addicted gamblers in the U.S.
  • Gambling threatens youth, just like smoking, and too many elderly loose all or part of their savings.
  • The American Psychiatric Association describes pathological gambling as a compulsive disorder. Addicts even sell gold teeth. Addiction can come on quickly and does not go away.
  • Gambling has hidden negative economic impacts. These include bankruptcies, treatment for addiction, and penal system costs.
  • Over 6 billion dollars is already spent to cover costs of addictive gambling.

    Seek help:
    Compulsive Gambling

 

Smoking:

  • What can we say that you don't already know? Smoking costs you and society plenty.

    Estimate your smoking costs:
    www.cancer.org
  • Your next stop: the Stop Smoking Center
    for information related to stop smoking campaigns

 

Alcohol Consumption:

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