The current economic downturn has been hitting many Calgary families hard. Lots of families have experienced the loss of an income (or two!) or a pay cut, not to mention the reduced value of their investments. So when time’s get tough, how can you keep your family busy and connecting with one another through fun experiences? We’ve got some ideas for saving money on family fun!
Head outside. Calgary is home to an amazing array of parks, pathways and – in the winter – ponds and outdoor rinks for skating! Go sledding, skating, snowshoeing (you can rent at Bow Habitat Station) or just play in your backyard or local playground.
Look to Family Fun Calgary for ideas. If you’re reading this, we’re guessing you’ve already found us and know that we provide free information on events and attractions for all levels of family budgets. If yours is pretty darn tight these days, pay special attention to our Cheapies & Freebies category, inside our Events pages. Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and by e-newsletter (sign up on our home page) so you never miss out on great events.
Enter contests! Family Fun Calgary periodically gives away tickets to concerts or shows, movie screenings or attraction passes, and lots of companies, attractions and bloggers do too. Enter to win and you could have a great family experience for free.
Use coupons or buy an annual pass to a favourite attraction. Discount coupons are available through CalgaryAttractions.com or in coupon books like the Entertainment Book or SUTP book. Annual passes to local attractions often pay for themselves in just 3 visits. Passes are sometimes discounted at a particular time of the year – for example Calaway Park summer passes are much cheaper during the winter. Buy now, save later!
Choose to do family activities on particular days to take advantage of discounts. For example:
- Movies are usually cheaper on Tuesdays and Cineplex offers Family Favourites for just $3 pp at 11am each Saturday
- Glenbow Museum offers free admission on the first Thursday evening of every month
- Fish feedings at Bow Habitat Station are cheaper on Fridays
- Mount Norquay is offering a number of 90 cent ski days this winter to celebrate their 90th anniversary
- On Monday evenings, you can skate the Olympic Oval for just $2 when you bring a donation of non-perishable food for the Food Bank
- Many restaurants offer free or super cheap kids’ meals on particular days
- City of Calgary leisure centres and pools offer discounts on particular days/times
- When your child has a birthday, ask friends and family for ‘experience’ gifts over yet another toy; think movie, restaurant or art studio gift cards, a class in a sport or hobby or even a board game the whole family can play together
Stay in and have fun with friends. Take turns hosting ‘special events’ in your own homes. Choosing a theme can makes a regular old playdate extra special. Set up crafts, games or activities for the kids and coffee or cocktails for the moms and dads. When the kids get tired (a.k.a. unruly), put a favourite movie on the TV. If you make the event a potluck or take turns hosting, and it doesn’t have to be a big chore or expense for the host family!
Visit your Calgary Public Library. Library cards are now free to all Calgary residents and the library offers so much more than just books. There are many free programs available to families, from storytimes to playdates to LEGO and chess clubs.
Wishing your family health, prosperity and togetherness for this year and many more to come!