A guaranteed way to break your budget is to tell yourself that you can't leave the house, have fun or enjoy life while trying to save money. At some point, you'll find yourself face down in a gutter, wallet empty from the amusement park-shopping spree-expensive French restaurant whirlwind you tried so hard to deny yourself. Let yourself relax, and you'll find your budget a lot easier to manage.
But don't think that means you get to buy a Rolex and an all-inclusive vacation. There's lots of easy, cheap ways to keep your family entertained. Keeping in mind that a family trip to the movie theatre can run up to $12 a ticket (and that's not including the $7 sodas and $10 popcorn buckets), check out second-run theatres in your area. They offer steeply discounted tickets (literally, a buck or two) and offer cheaper deals on the food the kids insist on.
Many museums offer days for children to attend at a discount or for free; also check out some of the free workshops and activities the museums offer to kids. Don't forget to simply stroll down to the park, either. From picnics to Frisbee, bird-watching to messy crafts, changing your scene to an outside area gets some much-needed kid energy released out of the house.
Here's something you actually pay for, but may never use: the library. Not only do they have terrific events for families, they also have readings, classes, and resources for adults. Need to save money on your cable or Netflix account? Use the library! Many have a plethora of new release DVDs, and all the magazines you could ask for. You might even find a book or two to pick up!
Read on for one more way to save the family money without denying yourself the things you need -- or just want.