Guest Author - Kris Bigalk
When my family expanded from three children to five, eating out became a much more expensive option--if we paid full price. One way to save money on meals out is to research restaurants in your area that offer free kids' meals on certain days. For example, in my community Perkin's restaurants offer a free kid's meal for each adult entrée purchased on Tuesday evenings. Sometimes, they even bring in face-painters and give away balloons. Fazoli's Restaurants also offer 99 cent meals on Tuesdays from 5-8 pm. To find more of these deals, check out the advertisements in your local paper or family magazine, or just ask around.
You can also find coupons for restaurants in your local newspaper. Many Sunday papers include coupons for national chains like Baker's Square or Ruby Tuesday.
If you go out to eat without a coupon, take a look at the menu itself. Sometimes two kids can easily split one adult meal, and the cost is less than if they ordered two kids' meals.
Many restaurants also feature "Birthday Clubs" for kids. During the month of the birthday, the child will receive a coupon in the mail for free food. See the links to the right of the article for restaurants which offer this deal.
Just as going out to eat can get expensive when your family expands, so can going to the movies, the zoo, or a museum. There are lots of ways to save money on all of these activities, however.
First, take stock of your current memberships. Are you a college student? A member of AAA Auto Club? Public Radio? Angie's List? Most of these organizations offer discounts on everything from movie tickets to museum admissions. Take a look at their websites for more information on how to use your membership to save more money.
Another option is to choose one activity for the season--such as the YMCA, the swimming pool or the zoo--and buy a family membership. To get your money's worth, you'll probably need to visit often, but if it's an activity your family enjoys, then go for it!
Still another way to save money on meals and many other forms of entertainment is to purchase your community's Entertainment Book (see link at the bottom of the page). Many restaurants, tourist attractions, etc., offer "two for one" deals or a certain percentage off of the bill. Be sure to read the coupon carefully, though, to make sure certain dates or time frames aren't excluded.
Get discount movie tix with an Entertainment book!