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Saving Money on Family Entertainment

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The household budget isn’t just for the mortgage, utilities, and grocery food. It's for entertainment, too. Life is for living, and a big part of that comes from having fun. As a family, everyone should be able to enjoy themselves in their own way as well as together, and that requires money.

Let’s be honest, horse riding, learning to fly, private swimming lessons? Those are expensive hobbies! If you want to pay for costly hobbies for the kids, or yourself, then you’ll have to have to find a way to afford them.

For that, you need to know where you can make savings and cut back - without having to cut back on what you all love to do.

Entertainment has the potential to take a massive chunk from your monthly budget, but with the right planning and a few hacks, you don’t have to let it.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to save money on your family’s entertainment or how you can even get some entertainment for free!

How to save money or get family entertainment for free

Saving money on kids books

Believe it or not, this is a habit that can get expensive. If you have a bookworm in the house, you’re going to be paying for a lot of books of varying expense and difficulty.

Of course, we now have the introduction of technology to give us a bit of a helping hand. You can buy a Kindle now, and the Kindle app has hundreds of books - many of which are free!

Kindle eBooks are an excellent way to keep up with authors that will inspire you and the kids. 

When my kids were younger I paid for an Epic subscription which is around £6 per month and they had access to tens of thousands of children books, videos and learning materials. 

You can also join your local library for free access to books, providing you return them on time!

Keeping kids magazines affordable

Subscriptions to magazines for all of the family can get expensive when you’re paying out £5 a time for kids' ones.

But, thinking about how you can cut these down is going to devastate the kids!

Instead, try out apps like Issuu, which allows you to browse and read millions of different magazines for free. Free is an excellent price, and no paper clutter - winning! 

Many kids magazines are made up of short stories and puzzles, so search online for free kids worksheets and learning games instead.  Combine this with some free books from the library and they’ll forget all about those costly magazines in store!

TV time doesn't need to break the bank

If you love Cable TV then make sure you learn how to haggle for the best price.  Sign up offers are always the best value when you choose a TV provider.  Simply search for cable tv providers near me and find the best deals in your local area.  Once the initial contract and price is over, remember to negotiate a great deal going forwards.  Never settle for the renewal price as you can usually agree a cheaper deal.

TV subscription sites are booming compared to cable TV packages, but if you want to save even more money then check out my blog post on how to save money on Netflix.  

We cancelled our TV licence which saves us money as we just weren’t watching live TV anymore or even recording it. 

We decided we can live without regular TV altogether and just have Netflix instead. 

Some people choose to download series and films using torrents to watch TV for free.  Whilst it’s illegal to download copyrighted material from torrent sites, there are lots of TV series and movies that fall under the public domain and are not copyrighted.  You can find a list of these online. 

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Video games can be cheap too

There’s nothing quite like a video game marathon night, and yet so many different games are quite expensive to buy now. Even after you buy the game, you often have to pay more for add-ons and also to upload the game.

Your kids may love different games of different styles, and if you include everyone in the house who loves to play video games, you’re going to find that you are spending way more money than you’d hoped. 

To save money on gaming simply buy second hand. 

New games are so expensive for consoles, so make sure you only shop second hand to make a great saving.  You can shop on sites like eBay, but in-store places like Cex (or Cash Exchange) sell cheap second-hand games, or you can trade in and exchange your old games. Charity shops are also a good place to look for video games.

Video chat can be cheaper than calling

Do you often ring family and friends across the globe?

It’s an expensive venture, and every time you pick up the phone, the bill goes right up!

So, instead of paying for a high phone bill, you can start using Facebook chat, WhatsApp and Skype to contact and video chat to people for free.

There’s no need to pay a lot of money to make a video call, send photos or even to talk to people nowadays, even if they don't live in the same country as you!  There are lots of free ways to do so online.

Board games keep on giving

Another fantastic way to have fun without breaking the bank is by investing in board games. Whether you're a fan of classic titles like Monopoly or prefer modern strategy games like Settlers of Catan, board games offer hours of entertainment for the whole family.

The great thing about board games is that they're a one-time purchase that can provide endless enjoyment for years to come. You can often find board games at discounted prices in charity shops, online marketplaces like eBay, or during sales at your local toy store.

Additionally, board games encourage social interaction and critical thinking skills, making them an excellent choice for family game nights or gatherings with friends. With so many different options available, there's sure to be a board game that everyone in your household will enjoy.

Don't forget about free online games

In today's digital age, there's no shortage of free entertainment options available online, including a vast selection of free online games. From puzzle games and strategy games to multiplayer online experiences, there's something for everyone to enjoy without spending a penny.

Many websites and platforms offer free online games that can be played directly in your web browser, eliminating the need for expensive gaming consoles or software downloads. Whether you're a casual gamer looking to pass the time or a competitive player seeking a challenge, the world of free online games has something to offer.

Popular platforms like Steam and Epic Games regularly offer free game downloads as part of promotional events or giveaways, allowing you to expand your gaming library without spending any money. Additionally, mobile app stores like the Apple App Store and Google Play Store feature a wide range of free-to-play games that can be enjoyed on smartphones and tablets.

By exploring the world of free online games, you can discover new and exciting gaming experiences without putting a strain on your budget. Whether you prefer to play solo or with friends, the abundance of free online games ensures that there's always something fun to try without spending a single penny.

Outdoor activities don't need to cost a penny

Take advantage of the great outdoors for free entertainment options. Plan family hikes, picnics in the park, or trips to the beach. Outdoor activities not only provide opportunities for fun and exercise but also allow you to connect with nature without spending a fortune.

Local events and community activities

Keep an eye out for free or low-cost events happening in your local area. Many communities host festivals, concerts, and cultural events throughout the year that are open to the public. Check your local newspaper, community centre notice boards, or online event listings for upcoming activities. Our local library offers free Lego play sessions, free chess club and free board games clubs every week for kids!

Potluck dinners and game nights with family and friends

Host potluck dinners or game nights with friends and family as a low-cost way to socialise and have fun. Ask each guest to bring a dish to share or their favourite board game to play. Not only does this spread the cost of food and entertainment, but it also creates opportunities for bonding and laughter with loved ones.

By incorporating these ideas into your family's entertainment routine, you can enjoy quality time together without overspending. Whether it's exploring nature, attending local events, getting crafty at home, or hosting game nights with friends, there are plenty of budget-friendly options for fun and memorable experiences. 

DIY movie nights

Instead of going to the cinema, create your own movie nights at home. Choose a selection of movies or TV shows to watch together as a family, make some popcorn, and create a cozy viewing space in your living room. You can borrow DVDs from your local library or stream movies for free using platforms like YouTube or Kanopy.

Arts and crafts

Get creative with arts and crafts activities that use materials you already have at home. Encourage your kids to explore their artistic side by drawing, painting, or making DIY crafts using recycled materials. Not only is this a fun and budget-friendly way to spend time together, but it also promotes creativity and imagination.

Final word

There are lots of ways to make sure you are not paying out more than you need to for your daily entertainment.  By keeping the above entertainment costs low, or even free, you can then afford to splash out on more adventurous hobbies or costly classes to do what you love!

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