Saving Money on Family Outings

Spring Break season is here and Summer is around the corner and that means it's time for some family activities. 

When living on a budget family events and activities are NO different than anything else. They need to be planned and budgeted for. Today I wanted to share some tips for saving money on BIG family events. 

This past weekend our family went to A Day Out With Thomas. It was probably THE most fun thing our family has ever done and we will do it again next year. 

But we didn't do it without budgeting first. 

1. Always budget more than you will need. Be realistic about what things actually cost. Gas prices are usually more than you think and you will need to fill up one more time than you planned. So I would say a safe bet is add 20% more to your event budget than you think you will need. This will provide you with a great buffer. 

2. Always ask for a discount. When booking anything online I ALWAYS look for coupons codes by doing simple Google search. This time I was able to save us $6 on our tickets. 

Even if there isn't a coupon code look for military, teacher, state employee etc. discounts. Or see if there is a bulk ticket rate. 

3. Take your own food. Event food is crazy expensive. And let's be honest you usually feel really gross after eating it. We took a simple picnic of PB&J, bananas and graham crackers. We also packed our own drinks and extra sippy cups. 

4. But spring for a treat. We did buy Ryals a snow cone. We planned to do this and the $3 was well spent. 

5. Talk to your child about what you will and will not buy. We told Ryals from the get go "don't ask Mama and Daddy to buy you anything." And he didn't. He saw Thomas balloons and whistles and everything else and he didn't ask once. 

I feel like if a 3-year-old can understand this an older child might be able to as well. 

6. Splurge responsibly. We did buy our boys a souvenir. We had a set budget for this and we took them in the gift shop one at a time and let them pick it out. I showed Ryals the money, explained to him what he could and could not get and then let him give the cashier his money and count back the change. 

Fun on a budget can be had, but like everything else it take intentionality. 

What about you? What are your tips for doing a big event on a budget?