Summertime Frugal Family Fun

Outdoor Cookouts

Another great way to enjoy family time on a budget is to cook outdoors. Why not plan a fun night outdoors with a bonfire or outdoor grill? Let the kids roast hot dogs over the fire! They will love cooking their own food. They can also make s’mores (supervised of course!) or roast corn.

And because anything is more fun after bedtime; we extend bedtimes on cookout nights! Typically my kids go to bed at 8:30, but they know (and love) that cookout night is an exception. We sit around the fire after it gets dark, and hang out together without the distraction of TV or video games.  It is fun and relaxing to listen for the sounds of different animals, catch bugs, or just watch the fire. You could even have a campout in your backyard if you are feeling adventurous!

Free & Discounted Admission to Area Family Attractions

Watch your calendars carefully, because throughout the year you can get free entrance to National Parks and other area attractions such as theme parks, aquariums, and museums across the country. U.S. military members and dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and also, Reserve and National Guard members have access to a free national parks annual pass ($80 value find more information at

We also take advantage of free days at my kid’s favorite children’s museum instead of paying the entrance fee of $11.95 per person. We look for other ways to find discounts, like the company’s Facebook page, signing up for newsletters if available at the attraction’s website, and by looking in the local newspaper for a list of weekend events.

Don’t forget to check the price on an annual membership or family pass at your family’s favorite attraction, as it usually includes great discounts. For example, we recently bought a family membership to the Chattanooga Aquarium. Our membership will also get us into six other area attractions!

Go Outside and Get Moving!

Train for a 5K together as a family!  Now more than ever it’s important to get regular exercise.  What better way, than together as a family.  Not only can you train for a 5K or a even a 1 mile fun run together but you’ll have lots of fun in the process.  Of course, there are many different runs you can sign up for, some even involve fun obstacles or the newest fad color runs where you have color dumped on you during the race.  Either way, you will be forming healthy habits together as a family without a large investment.  Working together on a common goal, like a 5K for example, strengthens family bonds by giving you something positive to focus on together. Especially if you have older children and struggle with finding entertainment options that everyone enjoys.

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