One of the many challenges of being in debt is entertainment. Going to the movies, dinner out, or a family vacation may not be possible on a budget. However, that does not mean you have to bypass all forms of entertainment since there are many low-cost or free options.
Find Cheap or Free Museum Passes
If you check your local library, you may be able to obtain low-cost or free museum passes which your family can borrow. Many communities offer these passes on a regular basis to patrons of the library. There may be some restrictions which apply, but the cost savings can be significant. You may also wish to contact your local community center or senior center to see what resources they have available.
In most instances, these passes are donated by another patron, so they may have waiting lists, so you will want to plan ahead. Instead of purchasing a high-cost meal, pack a lunch from home and carry it along with you. Exploring local museums is educational, and can also be another way to enjoy fun and entertaining activities on a budget.
Free or Inexpensive Community Events
Many towns post some type of community calendar on a regular basis. You may find it on a local Facebook page or on your town's regular website. Check out upcoming events and you could find activities like movie nights, breakfasts run by community groups like Lions Clubs or Masons, or pot luck community dinners.
Most of these events will cost between $3.00 and $10.00 per person, but they are far less expensive than going to a restaurant. Additionally, you will be supporting community activities and donations provided by these groups.
Reading Groups, or Dance and Exercise Classes
Some people may find dance and exercise classes are available through a local senior center, community center, or their local VFW or American Legion. These classes are usually offered free, or for $5.00 or less per person. This is a great way to meet others in your community, get some exercise and enjoy yourself without breaking your budget.
If you love to read, there are often reading groups locally who are in search of new members. Books are selected by the group for reading and most of the time can be obtained from your library. If you cannot find a class or group like this locally, consider approaching your local senior or community center and being an organizer of one of these events in your community.
Consider Community Service Organizations
Many communities have numerous volunteer organizations including town beautification committees, fraternal organizations, or newcomers' clubs. These groups often charge a membership fee, but they are also open to having someone volunteer their time without being a member. Some of these groups organize bus trips, town appreciation days, and other community events which you could have the opportunity to participate in for a fraction of what it would cost if you were not volunteering. In some cases, you may be able to participate for no fee.
Getting involved with a town project which involves your entire family can be very rewarding. Not only will you be showing your children the value of community involvement, you will get the added benefit of meeting people you might otherwise not have the opportunity to get to know.
Getting your financial life in order is challenging, particularly since you will be cutting corners to reduce your debt. Participating in fun and entertaining activities on a budget does not mean you have to stay home every night, you merely need to find events that fit your lifestyle. Get creative, think outside the box, and continue working towards your goal of being debt-free.