In an effort to reduce the entertainment portion of your monthly budget, there are alternatives to going to a matinee at the theatre or taking your family to a ballgame where you will pay not only for the tickets, but most likely for snacks and drinks as well. Instead, I suggest a trip to the library.
Libraries can be fun places for a family, especially a family that likes to read. If this is not the case, how do you utilize the library as a source of entertainment in your family? You start with a game of course.
Before you leave your house, ask your children or your spouse, roommate, neighbor or whomever you are going with what sort of books they would like to find. A few broad topics and a narrow subject or two should be chosen by everyone. You write these down as everyone who goes will be searching for books to cover everything on the list.
With older players, it is simple as everyone can use the library catalog system to locate the proper books, but it gets more difficult with younger children. One thing that I do is look up the topics for them and help them write down a few call numbers of books to find. Then I ask them to help me find the books.
For example, I was looking for a few poker books so I took my young son to the section with the books on this topic and asked him to help me find a good poker book. He read the titles (it helps that my 4 year old can read) and looked at the pictures and was able to find two books for me to choose between. My daughter can not read much more than “cat” and so she goes by pictures and the size of the book.
By having everyone search for the same topics you get a variety of books to choose from. For instance, my wife wanted books on cooking and food, and my son thought of his favorite foods. He had me help him locate the call numbers of books about cheese. So while she and I each found a typical cookbook, he found a book about the history of and how to make cheese.
For my daughter I asked her to pick two letters and get books about or starting with those letters. She chose C and J and went to the children’s section and found an alphabet book all about the letter J and a Cat book for the C. I found her a car book and Dr. Suess’ ABCs for the J – because Jerry Jordan’s jelly jar and jam begin that way.
After a fun day of finding all of these books, you can spend the next two weeks (or however long your library lets you take them out for) reading them to cheaply pass the time and possibly bond with your family as well. You then take any money that you would have spend doing other forms of entertainment and put that toward your savings.