Families are tightening their budgets. For many, this means fewer activities outside of the home. With less dining out, movie outings, sports games or other extracurriculars, there's no better time for budget-conscious moms and dads to really connect and spend quality time with their kids throughout the year.
Start at home
One of your biggest monthly investments is your family home, so why not get your money's worth? If your kids don't think staying home is cool, here's your opportunity to get creative.
* Establish a weekly game night. There's no need to buy new games, just ask other parents if they have games that you can borrow.
* Subscribe to a home movie-rental service. Let the kids add their favorite movie to the queue as rewards for accomplishments.
* Dining in style. Try to eat more meals at home. Keep the meal simple, so the family can prepare it together. I like to use affordable canned vegetables, like Libby's, in recipes and as side dishes because they are delicious and easy to prepare.
Get out of town
No matter the season, families benefit from fun trips and activities. With a little creativity, families can plan little escapes that don't jeopardize the mortgage.
* Plan trips close to home. Look for locations three to four hours away to make it a road trip and save on airfare.
* Try camping. Once a popular option, many young families are getting back into the ad