(BPT) - Kids grow up so fast. As they do, those bills grow up right along with them - often faster than you can bring more money in, right? Yes, your budget is tighter than ever before, but you certainly don't want to sacrifice the fun things you do as a family just because of money.
The good news is that you don't have to sacrifice fun. There are plenty of budget friendly choices and ways to cut expenses without cutting the fun. Start with these five tips below and you'll keep your family's free time fun without being financially frivolous.
* Cut the cable. Your family loves watching television shows together, and when it comes to selection you've got plenty to choose from - network TV, cable/satellite, streaming and DVD/Blue Rays. And you pay for all of them when you probably don't need to. Record your family's TV habits for a couple of weeks and see what you use and what you don't. If streaming is the big thing in your home, you can save money by eliminating cable and you can probably cut back on your DVD/Blu-Ray purchases as well.
* Look for value where you dine. Parents love the perks of dining out - you get to skip the cooking, serving and clean-up, and get to focus on what's really important: spending time with family. While dining out can be expensive, you don't have to sacrifice it in the name of a budget, just be smarter about where you choose to go. Steak 'n Shake, for example, is now offering a 'Kids Eat Free All Day Every Day' promotion, meaning kids 12 and under can enjoy any Kids Plate for free any time during the day, any day of the week, with a qualifying purchase. Kids can pick from favorites like the Original Steakburger, chicken fingers or macaroni and cheese. All kids plates are served with a choice of fries or applesauce. That means your family can still enjoy dining out without blowing your budget. The promotion is available to dine-in customers at more than 400 participating company owned restaurants nationwide. To find a participating location near you, visit https://tinyurl.com/KEFADED.
* Rethink your cell phone bill. You're quick to ditch your old phone the minute you're eligible for an upgrade, but you're hesitant to change providers. Don't be. With family cell phone bills starting to resemble car payments, it's time to put this expense under the microscope. The cell phone market is more competitive than ever and often there are real cost benefits in switching plans. So shop around and find the best plan for your family's needs. It's one upgrade worth getting excited about.
* Pull the plug. The modern home is always plugged in and that shows up on your electric bill. Many gadgets - like your TV, cable boxes, DVD player or computer - are actually vampire electronics, meaning they suck energy even when they're turned off. So unplug these items when they're not in use, it won't hamper your enjoyment of them at all and it will save you money on your monthly bill.
* Plan a staycation. Vacations can be one of the most expensive activities a family does each year. Instead of breaking the bank on a lavish trip, explore the benefits of a staycation. From historical sites to campgrounds to free museums, you can save hundreds of dollars and still have fun by staying close to home. Be creative! Check your city or state's tourism website or your local newspaper for family-friendly events, coupons and discounts for local activities. You will be amazed by how much money you can save and how much fun you can have in your own backyard.