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’s 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 up 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 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 knick-knacks and whatnot, I’ll take the girls to the children 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 beat!

$10 for thrifty items
$10 for a board game

Book Store 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 about 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 peddle while my wife and I wish they were babies again.

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

What are some fun family dates that you’ve discovered that don’t break the bank?

Editor’s Note: Did you know about the service called $5 meal plans? For $5 a month, they send you recipes of delicious, healthy, yet cheap food that costs just $5 a meal.

Several of my friends signed up and they are able to eat at home more because the instructions are easy to follow, making everything convenient. The deal also comes with grocery shopping lists, which saves them so much time. 


This article was written by Jeremy Hartley from MoneyNing and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to