4 Family Dates for $20 or Less

By Jeremy Hartley

| Photographs By RicardoImagen

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 are 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 are a few of our favorites:

Beach 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 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 knickknacks and whatnot, I’ll take the girls to the children’s 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 beaten!

$10 for thrifty items
$10 for a board game

Bookstore 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 bookstores 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 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 pedal while my wife and I wish they were babies again.

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

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Tags - Budget, Saving


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