Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES -- For couples or families on a tight budget, finding affordable entertainment can be difficult. But going out to dinner or a movie aren't the only options.
"You need to look for opportunities around your community, said Susan Wright, consumer education specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. "There also are a lot of things that can be done cheaply at home. All that it takes is some thought and effort."
One way to provide educational fun for the family is to visit a museum or zoo, she said. Many of these have free days or admission specials. Pack a lunch, eat on the lawn, then spend the rest of the day enjoying the sights.
Families can attend local high school plays, basketball games and other functions. "This way, you're supporting your community while having a good time," Wright said. "People who live near a community college or university have a wider variety of activities to choose from."
Board games can be fun for the whole family at a low cost, she said. Pick a favorite board game, stock up on chips and dip or pizza and schedule a night when everyone can be there. This also provides a good opportunity for kids and parents to spend quality time together.
Couples who don't have much money for dates can focus on activities both enjoy, Wright said. For example, they can go hiking or attend free festivals and music events. Or they can stay home and have a candlelight dinner.
"Instead of spending more than $3 on new video releases, rent classics for only 99 cents. Also, check the TV guide for movies you've been waiting to see," Wright said. "If you really want to go out, eat dinner at home, then go to a nice restaurant for dessert or coffee."
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