4 Family Dates for $20 or Less

by Jeremy Hartley · 6 comments

family dates
As a parent, it’s my responsibility to create memories for my little ones. That means getting off the couch, putting my smartphone away, and giving my children experiences and stories they can recall for years to come.

Does that mean memories need to break the bank? Sometimes.

In fact, we’re saving up for a pretty expensive family cruise one day. But in the meantime, there’s plenty of options to enjoy a family date on a budget. We’ve set Mondays aside as our date day, so $20 dates have been the perfect budget for our $80-$100 a month “fun-fund”. Here’s a few of our favorites:

cheap family datesBeach Picnics and a Movie

If you live on the coast, take some time to pack up and get some sand on your toes. Bring some beach toys, get on Pinterest for some DIY beach games, and don’t forget the sunblock!

$15 for picnic fixings at the market
$5 for an Amazon or iTunes Rental

Playground and Some Frozen Yogurt

Watching my toddlers play tag with some new friends or bolster up their confidence on the “big kid slide” is one of my favorite things about fatherhood. It’s completely free too. For an added zing, my wife and I Yelp or Google the best parks in our area (Los Angeles) and explore new parks all the time.

$10 for gas
$10 for frozen yogurt (the toddlers usually split one)

Secondhand Shops and a Board Game Night

My wife loves to shop. Fortunately for me, she’s thrifty and doesn’t mind exploring thrift stores and finding some unique treasures. While she takes some time looking at the knick knacks and whatnot, I’ll take the girls to the children section and pick them up a toy or two. After visiting a few shops, we’ll pick up a cheap board game, head home, and dominate at a game of Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders. The toddlers have a blast beating me, and I have fun being beat!

$10 for thrifty items
$10 for a board game

Book Store and a Walk

Reading to your children is one of the best ways to teach them to use cognitive skills like sight memory, communication and speech development. We’ve found that book stores are happy to accommodate parents who enjoy taking their kids out for some reading (check out the library too!).

My wife and I usually spend about 20-40 minutes alternating between books they’ve picked and books we’ve picked. At the end of the date, we’ll buy the overall favorite to take home and then head over to a beautiful setting to enjoy a walk.

Beaches, canyons, and big grassy parks are common in my area, so we’ll pack up the bicycles and watch our toddlers peddle while my wife and I wish they were babies again.

$8 for a new book
$6 for snacks
$6 for gas

What are some fun family dates that you’ve discovered that don’t break the bank?

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  • Myfinance kits says:

    One does not need to go into debt for family dates. They are part of you and they understand your financial capability. In fact, family dates have to be in alignment with the financial goals of the family. That is why one can easily cut expenses without the family feeling somehow. They know why you are do what you do.

  • DNN says:

    Even if the kids or spouse breaks the bank for a family date, it’s well worth the money spent. Those precious family times are priceless and precious memories forever. 🙂

  • Chris Huntley says:

    Love this! Wish the library was open in the evenings in our town. We would do that all the time!

    Thanks. Great reminder that the best things in life are… nearly free.

    • David @ MoneyNing.com says:

      Yes sir! And remember that you can always borrow all those books home to read at night too!

  • Ramona @ Personal Finance Today says:

    Great ideas.

    We have a forest nearby and we go there every once in a while. It’s pretty inexpensive (we pay for the gas and maybe the snacks we purchase from the store) and enjoy some nice time together.

    • David @ MoneyNing.com says:

      Oh how fun Ramona.

      And making a routine to go somewhere together can bring the family closer together too 🙂

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