Sometimes, bonding activities can be costly. Every weekend, you take your family to the mall to watch a movie, shop, play at the arcade and eat out. Before you know it, you’ve spent a small fortune. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can still do all this things without the hurt to your wallet. All you need is to look at things differently. Here are cheaper alternatives to all the things you love to do with the family without compromising on fun.
1. Costly family activity: Going to the cinemas Alternative: Watching online
A ticket for one to the cinemas averages at P200. For a family of four, going to the theaters would cost P800. Buy popcorn and snacks, the costs get higher; not to mention the costs of having to actually get to the theaters. There’s the gas and parking tickets to think of if you brought a car and commute expenses if you rode public transport.
Here’s what we propose. Try a free trial on a streaming service like Netflix or iFlix then if you like it, go get a subscription. At its cheapest, a monthly subscription costs less than P500. The amount you pay for three movie tickets could get you unlimited access to thousands of movies anytime your family wants it. You get to watch in the comfort of your own sofa too. Plus, microwavable popcorn is a hell of a lot cheaper than movie theater popcorn.
2. Costly family activity: Playing at the arcade Alternative: Board games/Apps session
We don’t know what it is but children just get sucked into arcades. 9 times out of 10 when you’re at the mall your child will ask you if you guys can go to the arcade. And cash just goes down the drain at the arcade. That P300 you gave your kid will be gone faster than you can put your wallet back in your pocket. It’s like they get hypnotized by the flashing lights.
We propose a cheaper alternative and a great investment: board games and multiplayer apps. There are the old board game favorites like Pictionary, Cluedo and Scrabble. Some new ones you’d like to try out could include Brainbox and Ticket to Ride. For apps, Heads Up is always a winner. King of Opera is great if everyone wants to play at the same time. You may also want to try out Dance Party and ShakePop for some active fun.
3. Costly family activity: Eating out Alternative: Cooking a meal together
Instead of eating out on Saturday night this weekend, why not cook as a family instead. You’d get the same bonding experience as a dinner out (or even more we’re guessing) and we bet the kids would be less picky of what’s on their plate if they helped make it. It wouldn’t just be cheaper as well, it could be a lot healthier too.
If it’s your first time cooking with the kids, you might need a little help. The Kids Cook Monday is a great website for family-friendly recipes. Each of the step-by-step instructions for a recipe is labeled as for adults, kids or to make together. We also love that they include a Cooking Tip of the Week, Food for Thought (trivia tidbits about the ingredients) and a Family Dinner Conversation Starter (ex. Who is you’re hero?) in every recipe.
4. Costly family activity: Shopping Alternative: Go through old photo albums
If your family goes to the mall and shops just because, you’re setting yourself up for the possibility of buying things you don’t really need or worse buying things you end up not liking at all.
Instead of looking for new things to own, why not appreciate things of the past, like photo albums and cherished memories? Show your kids your old photographs when you were their age. Tell them stories of the games you used to play, what sort of toys you owned, and what their grandparents were like. It’s a better bonding activity than aimlessly window shopping. Plus, your feet don’t get tired and your wallet stays intact.
5. Costly family activity: Going to the mall Alternative: Going to a park, a cultural site, or a museum
Why go to the mall (and be tempted to do all of the costly things mentioned on this list) when there are loads of other places you can go to instead? The parks at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig are beautiful. Track-30th has a jogging lane, an exercise law and a meditative garden. Track-28th has an art installation that's also a colorful playground.
Has your family been to the fun and educational MMDA Children’s Road Safety Park in Manila? The Rizal Shrine Museum in Fort Santiago has features for younger visitors--like puzzles, interactive displays and a photobooth--that make learning about history more fun.