Keeping Everyone Entertained on a Budget
Entertainment Isn't Cheap
Doing stuff costs money, and as much as you can budget for food and other things, the entertainment budget is always going to be a little bit more difficult. This is especially true if you have kids, but whether you do or not, there are ways you can entertain yourself and everyone else on a tight budget.
Even in the winter, most places have events on at the weekend and they are normally free to enter. Whether it is a food festival or a craft fair, have a wander around and get some inspiration and entertainment for nothing! These places often have a local band there too which is great, but beware of food carts, the smells are so tempting but the prices are sometimes very high, bring snacks or a picnic with you to avoid spending a fortune.
Absorb some culture by taking a walk around a museum, find one that is reasonably prices or even free (there are more than you think) and have a look at the fascinating things on display. Museums also have frequently changing exhibits, so it can be worth going a few times a year, just check on their website before you go. If you have to pay, you may find it cheaper to buy a years pass or to become a "friend" of the museum. Just see whichever option works out to be the cheapest.
There are a lot of free art galleries all around the UK, and they change their pieces on a regular basis. Soak up some of the incredible talent and spend the day feeling very intellectual indeed. Always ask permission before taking photos in an art gallery, there are copyright laws in place and they are very confusing. So ask before you snap.
Go for a Walk
Get some exercise in a beautiful part of your town or city. Most of us never really explore the place we live, we always go further afield, look at where you live and try to find some beautiful or interesting places to go and renew your appreciation for your home town.
Board Games and Quizzes
They are not just for Christmas, drag the board games out of the cupboard and spend some time having fun with your family. If you don't have any, or you are sick of playing the same ones over and over, try looking in the charity shops. My wife and I recently found "Scene It?" games for £1 each, everything was in there, and the music version hadn't ever been used. Charity shops are a great place to find games, just make sure everything is in there before you buy it.
Look for Discounts
Many places like restaurants and cinemas offer a huge discount at what they consider to be non peak times. They do this so they get people through the door, rather than the place being empty. Take advantage of these offers and get a days entertainment for much less. Some cinemas have discounts such as £4 tickets on a Tuesdays in the daytime, some even offer £1 tickets for older movies being shown. Search around to see what is available on the cheap in your local area.
Groupon or Wowcher
They have some great deals for all different kinds of things, search for what kind of thing you want to do and see if they have a discount offer on, it's as simple as that. You don't even have to go on their website, if you subscribe to their mailing list, their offers will come straight to your inbox.
Google Discount Codes
There are millions of websites dedicated to helping people save money and these wonderful places often put up codes that can get you money off, always check before booking or buying anything whether there is a discount code or not.
Using whatever food you have in the house, make a picnic that is as fancy as you possibly can and take it somewhere you would like to have lunch. If it is raining, have it in the house, switch the TV off and set it up in the living room and have a quiet lunch and talk.
At Home Pamper Session
You don't have to pay ridiculous salon prices to look nice, learn how to do things like nails and facials yourself. That way you can have a pamper session at home for totally free!
Learn a new Skill
Have you always wanted to try learning how to speak a new language or dance? No matter what you want to do, you can, just take the time to learn how to do it, look at videos and tutorials and really get into it.
Volunteering will not only help you be less bored, but you will feel good about yourself and be helping others that need it too, so everybody wins. Find something you are passionate about and look for volunteering opportunities. You don't even have to do anything official, you can do something like bake cakes for a homeless shelter, call them up first and see what there rules are about home made food. I did this where I used to live and everyone was so friendly and really appreciative, I even raised money for them as they held a coffee morning which my cakes were a part of!
Lunch, not Dinner
If you want to go out to eat, try going out for lunch rather than dinner. Most places are much more expensive in the evening, but they have really good lunch specials on.
Host a Dinner Party
Using only ingredients you have in your house, this is the only rule, you can't buy any food. Make a delicious dinner for your friends or family and make the house look as nice as you can and enjoy a nice meal with the important people in your life.
There must be something you have on your reading list? Whatever it is, find it and read it. It doesn't matter what book it is, if you want to read it then don't stop until you have finished.
If you have ever wanted to write a book, now is the time, even if it never gets published, you should still write it. Having ideas in your head that never get onto the screen is one of the most frustrating things in life. Put those ideas down and see what comes out, and if you want to publish them, there are so many places that will do it for free now!
If you have a skill for making things then you should never be bored. Find old stuff lying around the house and see what you can make from it. And if you don't have a crafty skill set, now is the perfect time to learn!
Whenever I am stuck for something to do, I bake. I very rarely eat any of the stuff I bake, because I'm not baking because I am hungry, I'm baking because I am bored. My wife and mother in law end up taking half the stuff to work to share with their colleagues.
Sometimes, doing nothing is great, and when I say doing nothing, I don't mean watching the TV, I mean nothing. Lay on the couch, or in the bath or something, and just listen to your favourite music and let it wash over you. It might sound weird, but it's a great way to relieve some stress.
You Can Entertain Everyone On a tight Budget
Entertaining yourself doesn't have to cost a fortune, a bit of creativity means that you can keep boredom at bay for little to no money. If you have some other low cost ways to keep everyone entertained, please let me know!