10 Unique Family Recreation Ideas—Save Money, Have Fun

Family Recreation- 10 Ways to Save, from local events, shopping, hosting parties and much more.

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This Family Recreation Savings Ideas Page contains a growing number of money-saving ideas for cutting costs when you look for local fun in your area, go to garage sales or host a party!

1. Garage Sale Entertainment?

A white lampshade with plastic wrap on it.

You never know what someone wants to dispose of. I took just a short time recently and went to about ten garage sales, driving less than eight miles (gasoline is expensive, you know). My main purchases were;

  1. A brass floor lamp in perfect condition (the shade was in the original wrapper) for two dollars;
  2. A window shade with a small fringe and a 10-year guarantee (in original wrapper) for one dollar; and
  3. Ten books (not cheap paperback novels) for a total of $7.50. I have a library of about 900 books so I have a good estimate of prices for different types of books. The books I bought were probably in the range of $12.98 to $29.98 each.

I considered my day a success. If you’ve never tried this type of entertainment, I would definitely recommend it — I always meet the nicest people. Praying for guidance before starting out is a definite plus.   L. Jewell Smith – Peoria, AZ 

Related Article: Retail Arbitrage – Make a Living Reselling Deals!

2. Local Fun in Your Area

Don’t forget about attending your local high school sporting events. Most are absolutely free! Also visit your city, county, and state parks. Many will have free admission. Take a walk, climb a tree, climb a hill, or roll down one.

And remember “neighborliness.” We had one evening of great fun with several neighbors on our street. One person brought their hammer dulcimer, another brought spoons and I (Curtis) brought my banjo. We laughed and sang and had a night we’ll never forget. Curtis & Beth Gillespie – Spokane, WA 

3. Shopping for Entertainment?

Don’t shop as a recreational activity – like when you’re bored (unfocused) – make it a hunting trip. If you shop without a goal, you will surely find something to spend money on.   Marilyn Liu – Phoenix, AZ 

4. Entertaining for All Cultures

A black crockpot with beef stew in it.

About once each month we have a party for the students we teach at the English Corner here in China.  Most are thrilled to be invited to an “American” home to eat American food. For one party we were expecting about 15 people to attend. You can imagine my surprise when FORTY showed up. I had dinner already prepared and knew there wouldn’t be enough food. As the guests kept arriving and eating, I began to panic.

In Chinese culture, it is considered incredibly rude to run out of food. Also since several of our friends had invited more people than they had originally communicated, they would have felt unbelievably embarrassed for putting me in an awkward position. I quickly ran into the kitchen and opened the freezer.

Fortunately, when I had done my once-a-month cooking, I had pre-cooked and frozen the same meal I was serving that night. I microwaved the packages of frozen meats and transferred the contents to the crock pots already on the table.s Nobody was the wiser.

As is appropriate for the custom, I had plenty left over and no one lost face!! Thanks for the impact you have had on our lives. You are influencing Asia now!!!  Kristi J. – Cheng Du, China

5. Local Festivals & Events

\Last September, our local museum hosted its annual arts and crafts festival. I found that by volunteering at the museum, I could get free passes for us. Once we were at the festival we found all sorts of free stuff like pens and bottled water, etc.

We ate a large breakfast so we were not tempted to buy expensive food at the festival. Also one of our local hospitals had an event offering free health screenings. We went to this event also, enjoyed ourselves, and didn’t spend a dime. Hazel Cotton – Texarkana, TX

6. Sharing Season Tickets

My husband is a specialized doctor and buys two season tickets for the Phoenix Suns to be used as a promotional tool. We have become friendly with the folks who have the two seats next to ours.

We’ve struck up an agreement to share our seats with them when we can’t attend a game. And they do the same for us. Often times when we do go to the games, we have four seats available instead of just two! Holly Swager- Scottsdale, AZ

7. Progressive Dinners are a Blast!

Progressive Dinners can be a real blast! We begin with appetizers at one home, then the main course is served at another home. The group moves along from home to home for each course of the meal and then enjoys dessert at the last home.

This can be enjoyed by several families, several couples, several singles, or a mixed group. Cindy Gruner –  Morrisville, VT.

8. A Day of Fun at the RV Show

Our family goes camping a lot. This last January, we went to a free RV show. We paid $3 for parking and spent at least half a day there.

It was good to think about summer again and we picked up some great ideas for how to modify our camper to better suit our needs. Lisa Marchinkewicz – Hudsonville, MI

9. Dollar Theaters, Festivals & Libraries

Try the public library for books about travel, hobbies or home decorating. We’ve learned a lot about each other and the world this way.

We also check out local art galleries for free festivals where they even serve free treats. Dollar theaters work well if you don’t mind seeing a movie a few weeks after everyone else has.  Erin McGever – Phoenix, AZ 

10. Books Date Nights

We leave our credit card at home and then visit a large bookstore nearby. If we find a book we really like and our public library doesn’t have it, we’ll do an inter-library loan. Then, if we like the library book enough to own it, we’ll purchase it. If we can’t get it through the library, we’ll think about it for at least a week before deciding whether we’ll buy it.

Also, once a month we go out to a restaurant with a coupon and spend about $25, including a tip.  Hazel Cotton – Texarkana, TX 

Recreation Savings Tips for Making Frugal Fun & Saving You Money!

You will also love our money-saving tips page for Books, Magazines, and Movies.

You might also enjoy playing games with your family. Here’s a blog roll with several categories of games you can have fun with.
Here is a wonderful blog about family-friendly recreation as well.

Here is also a blog roll with many categories of movies that we love to watch.

And finally here is a blog roll with many categories of music you may enjoy.

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