Budget-Friendly Ideas for Family Time


Families come in all shapes and size; whether you are newly married, have a house full of little ones, or are on the verge of becoming empty-nesters, the quantity and quality of your time together matters. Regardless of the season or the weather, there are plenty of budget-friendly (even FREE!) ideas for Family Time for you and your loved ones to try. So, if you’re looking to do more and spend less, read on to discover 14 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Family Time; there’s something on the list for everyone: 

IMG_6135Find Community Events

Most cities offer fun, free events. Find your community’s website online, or visit city hall for a community event calendar. Whether it’s a parade, concert, or festival, there’s a lot of fun to be had right where you live. “Liking” your city’s Facebook community page will also keep you up to date on the latest happenings. 

Free Do-It-Yourself Lessons at a Home Improvement Store

Most home improvement stores offer free DIY workshops for adults and kids. Grab your spouse and learn a new skill, like tiling or how to install decorative moulding. Kids projects might include building wooden toys, bird houses, or games. 


Most adults have lost the ability to just play. Whether it’s with your kids or a group of your grown-up friends, you’ll have a great time playing some of the classics: tag, capture the flag, ultimate Frisbee, or a pick-up game of basketball.

Support Your Local Teams

While professional sporting events can be expensive, most minor league or semi-pro games are relatively cheap. See what teams are near you, and maybe go watch a sport you’re not as familiar with, whether it’s hockey, baseball, or football. 

Library Story Time

The library is a great place for families. Not only can everyone leave with a book or even a rental DVD, most libraries offer free story time activities for kids (many are incredibly interactive). And how is a library card going to set you back…NADA!  Talk about Budget-Friendly Ideas!  This one is a “No-Brainer”!  Actually it will improve the brain with reading books, but I think you get the idea.  

Visit a Botanical garden

Botanical gardens are a beautiful way for your family to enjoy nature, and a lot of them have free admission. Many also have offer free events, such as storytelling, nature tours, or gardening workshops. 

Pet Store

The pet store is almost like a free zoo (as long as you don’t get talked into a new puppy)! Kids can enjoy seeing a wide variety of animals, including dogs, cats, lizards, birds, and other furry critters. Most adults even get a few kicks out of seeing adorable animals.

Get Active

Find a trail or a city parkway near your house. Go for a hike, bike ride, or bust out the roller blades. Getting fresh air and being active together is surprisingly fun and relaxing. 

Invite Friends over for Family Game Night

Family game night is awesome, but it’s even more fun when you invite friends. Have snacks and treats, and make it a party! 

Have a Picnic

Pack your favorite lunch and head to a nearby park. Don’t forget to bring some fun things to do, like a Frisbee or a football. 

Bake and Share

When the weather’s uncooperative, stay home and bake! Kids of all ages can help, and who doesn’t enjoy tasty treats? Better yet, make it a service project; whip-up an extra batch and take it to a neighbor; it can be a great way for your family to make new friends. 

Enjoy the Weather…Hot or Cold

Weather conditions being Hot or Cold shouldn’t force you indoors. Get outside and enjoy your favorite activity, maybe sledding or building a snowman if it’s Winter.  Swimming, Biking, or Hiking in the Spring, Summer, or Fall.  Or, you can try something new.  Find an outdoor store that offers cheap equipment rentals; snowshoeing, cross country skiing, biking, or fishing anyone? 

Search for Free Days

Museums and zoos are wonderful, but they can be expensive. Look on the internet or check with your favorite places to find out when they offer free or discounted admission, most do at least once a year! Also, many fire stations offer free tours and children’s workshops; what kid wouldn’t like to see a fire truck up close? Call your local fire department and schedule a visit. 


Give back to the community by performing volunteer work; find a local homeless shelter, clean up a park, or connect with others in your area to do some good. Volunteering not only helps others, but it will make you feel good as well, and it can set a great example for children.

With all of the fun things to do for less, stop making your budget the excuse for not spending enough time with your family. With a little planning and effort, there’s plenty you can do together!


Celebrities Pushing REVERSE Mortgages…What’s Wrong With This Picture

Robert Wagner, Fred Thompson, and even “The Fonz” (Henry Winkler) are the latest celebrities pitching Reverse Mortgages. Sad.  It’s sad because they are getting paid to promote a financial product that is dangerous.  I’m disappointed when I see public figures promoting products they don’t have a clue about and worse, they don’t even own themselves.  Anyone who tells you to buy something that they don’t own themselves and they are getting paid to pitch has “STINK” all over it.

Let’s cut to the chase…Seniors Financing retirement with debt are making a big mistake! You can’t win with money by going into debt especially when you’re older.

Here are the facts: Reverse mortgages, or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), are available to homeowners who are at least 62 years old. The loan taps your home’s equity, and the bank gives you the money either as a lump sum, a line of credit, or a monthly draw.

You still pay for property taxes, insurance and the costs of maintaining the home. The lender can foreclose if you don’t stay current on these expenses. Also, because interest accrues over the life of the loan, your debt can ultimately exceed the value of your home.

You don’t make monthly payments, but if you sell the house or move out for more than a year, the loan is due and the income stops. If the house is sold upon your death, proceeds go to pay the loan.

Stupid Fees:

Fees on a reverse mortgage are expensive and can cost you 10% or more of the loan amount. You’ll pay:

  • An origination fee
  • Standard closing costs
  • Mortgage insurance premiums for coverage to make up the difference if your home doesn’t sell for enough to pay the loan
  • A monthly mortgage insurance servicing fee
  • Fees for mandatory credit counseling, which you pay whether or not you get the reverse mortgage

Interest rates on a reverse mortgage are adjustable unless you take your money in a lump sum. You are also required to take a loan for the maximum amount you qualify for.


The U.S. Government Accountability Office last year found dozens of misleading marketing claims about reverse mortgages in materials distributed by several large lenders. I’ve already debunked the first two:

  • MYTH 1: Receive Lifetime income.  TRUTH: Income from a reverse mortgage stops if you sell your house or move.
  • MYTH 2: Never lose your home.  TRUTH: You can lose your home if you can’t afford to pay taxes, insurance, or maintain the home.
  • MYTH 3: Never owe more than the value of your home. TRUTH: If your loan exceeds the value of your home, you or your heirs will have to make up the difference if the home isn’t sold when the loan is due.
  • MYTH 4: A reverse mortgage is a government benefit rather than a loan.  TRUTH:  IT’S A LOAN!

If you or anyone you know is considering a reverse mortgage, stop now! If money is short, cut back on your lifestyle. Sell your house and get something more affordable to free up money for your needs. (Source:The Lampo Group, LLC)