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Have fun with the family – without breaking the bank

Ever feel like every time you go out with your family, it costs an arm and a leg? It seems like these days, even a simple outing has to be carefully wedged in to the budget. For example, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s happy with the price of taking two kids and two adults to the movies – especially once the popcorn and drinks are added.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep little kids entertained, or to spend some quality time with older children. When you get creative and plan ahead just a little, there’s a lot a family of four (or more) can do for not that much cash. Here are a few ideas.

Visit an art gallery or museum - FREE

We’re really lucky here in Australia - most of our big art galleries and museums are free to get in to, whereas in other countries, even locals have to pay for tickets. The bigger galleries and museums often have displays and activities just for kids, especially during the school holidays.

TIP: Don’t restrict yourself to the biggest gallery or museum in your city. Look up interesting smaller venues where the whole family can learn something new.

Pick your own fruit – starts at a couple of dollars per person, plus your transport

Picking your own fruit is great because it’s an outdoors activity, and when you’re done, you’ve got a bunch of tasty treats to enjoy! Each farm charges differently, and is open different hours, so check before you go. Some even provide picnic facilities onsite, so you can make a day of it! See what’s in season near you by Googling ‘pick your own fruit’.

TIP: If you pick more than you can eat while it’s still fresh, look at how you can cook or preserve your fruit. Pie and jam don’t cost much to make, and kids of all ages can get involved.

Go to the park for a picnic – FREE

No matter where you live, you’re probably within walking distance (or within a short public transport journey) of a decent park or reserve. That’s because state and council authorities purposefully plan out neighbourhoods so they’ve got a certain amount of open green space for every residential development. In addition to local and state parks, there are national parks. Though they might be a bit further away by car or public transport, they’re well worth the journey.

TIP: Visit your council or state website to search for parks with shelter, BBQ and toilet facilities.

Host a potluck/bring-a-plate dinner party – as cheap as you like.

Having a bring-a-plate gathering has advantages for you and your guests. It can be kid-friendly, budget friendly, and suitable for pretty much any occasion. The general rule is that everyone brings any dish they want, about as much as they’d expect to eat themselves . It’s a great opportunity for everyone to show off their speciality!

TIP: Set a theme, like one cuisine or special ingredient, to make things interesting (and prevent weird combos!)

Head to the aquatics centre or local baths – from a few dollars per person

Many local councils will have one or more public pools, where casual entry is just a few dollars for an adult and sometimes free for kids. Outdoor pools tend to be open just in the warmer months, but indoor pools are open year-round – perfect for a dip in winter when the beach just isn’t an option.

Looking for more ways to trim a few dollars off the family budget? Don’t forget, you’ve got access Vision Super’s financial advisors who can help you make small changes to your lifestyle which can mean a great deal more down the track.