Having Big-Time Fun on a Small-Time Budget -- Win a $50 Visa Gift Card

My kids are only 6 and 9 years old, and already the flight from our nest has begun. It seems like every week I'm fielding invitations from their friends to spend some time at their house for playdates, or sleepovers, shopping trips and excursions to museums and beaches. I'm happy that they're well-liked and well-behaved enough to get all these invitations, and many times I'm happy to send them off with $20 in their pockets and a promise to reciprocate -- but there are times when I have to tell their friends, "Sorry but we're planning to have a family outing that day". I can't stop my children from growing up, experiencing new things and giving them their independence, but I can and do make sure they have a happy, solid family to return to.

I firmly believe that The Family That Plays Together, Stays Together, so I like to schedule family outings two or three times a month. I'm always on the lookout for fun, memorable experiences we can enjoy together, as a family. We are lucky to live in an area that has such a wide variety of things to do, all within a short drive of each other, many of which are extremely kid-friendly -- but they can also be expensive. Going to amusement parks or state fairs or shows can cost over hundreds for the whole family! We just don't have that kind of budget, so I try to look for free or low-cost events.

Click here to read about the things I do to stretch our family entertainment budget, and enter to win a $50 Visa gift card!

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