Fun Things To Do on a Budget

by Lu, OTL Seat Fillers & City Guides

Family Fun on a Dime

In today’s world, it can seem like family entertainment always comes with a hefty price tag. From amusement parks to movie theaters, the cost of creating lasting memories away from screens can quickly add up. 

However, with a little creativity and planning, families can still enjoy a wealth of fun activities without breaking the bank. Here are nine fun things to do on a budget that’ll get your wheels turning toward family fun!

1. Explore the Great Outdoors

   Nature offers a treasure trove of free and low-cost entertainment options. Pack a picnic lunch and head to a local park for an afternoon of frisbee, tag, or simply enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Take a hike or bike ride through a scenic nature trail. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, embark on a camping trip under the stars.

2. Embrace DIY Fun

   Unleash your family’s inner creativity with a variety of DIY activities. Host a game night filled with classic board games, card games, or charades. Gather around the kitchen table for a baking or crafting session. Or transform your living room into a movie theater with homemade popcorn and cozy blankets.

3. Seek Out Free or Discounted Events

   Many communities host a variety of free or low-cost events throughout the year, from outdoor concerts and movie screenings to festivals and cultural celebrations. Check local listings, community calendars, and event websites to discover hidden gems in your area. Additionally, many museums offer free admission days or discounted rates for families.

TIP: There are so many fun activities to do on a budget if you’re willing to do a little research. It’s also helpful to set up a Google alert for free tickets, family discounts, discount tickets, etc.

4. Consider Membership Perks

   Purchasing a membership to a local zoo, museum, or children’s museum can provide significant savings in the long run. These memberships often include unlimited admission, special events, and discounts on educational programs. Evaluate your family’s interests and potential usage to determine if a membership is a worthwhile investment.

theatre audience with 2 seats under the spotlight filled by OTL Seat Fillers

Secret Seat Filling!


OTL is a unique seat filler club where members become VIPs with free event tickets – supporting arts & entertainment by enjoying it!

Neon image of a singer under a spotlight used as the featured image for OTL Spotlight entertainment marketplace on OTL Seat Fillers

An Entertainment Marketplace for Everyone!


The ultimate entertainment hub where everyone can discover new entertainers, buy merch, shop for tickets, search auditions, tour dates, and more!

5. Attend Shows and Events as Seat Fillers – Another Kind of Membership Perk

   Sign up for services like OTL Seat Fillers, where you can become a seat filler for various shows and events. This unique opportunity allows you to attend performances and gatherings with your family, with some membership plans providing up to four tickets. Some of these events are family-friendly, including plays and special presentations, making it an excellent way to enjoy quality entertainment at a fraction of the cost.

And if you think this is a pricey membership because the tickets can sometimes be worth hundreds, no worries. We’re talking about fun things to do on a budget, and seat-filling plans range from 3.65 to 15.99 a month (all tickets included)!

Christmas coffees,

6. Swap Entertainment Expenses

   Connect with other families in your neighborhood or community to organize shared entertainment activities. Take turns hosting potluck dinners, game nights, or movie nights at each other’s homes. Share the cost of renting a movie or visiting a local attraction. By sharing expenses and resources, you can enjoy a wider variety of activities without doubling your budget.

7. Bowling Night

   Many bowling alleys offer discounted rates during specific times, making it an affordable and fun family activity. Gather the family for a night of friendly competition and strike out on a budget.

Oh, and if you haven’t bowled in ages, you might be surprised at the bowling centers in your city. They’re not your grandparents bowling alleys!

8. Mini Golf and Driving Range

   Mini golf courses and driving ranges are often more budget-friendly than a full round of golf. Enjoy a day in the sun, practicing your swing, or navigating through creative mini-golf courses as a family.

9. Family Classes

    Check local community centers or businesses for family-friendly classes. From cooking classes to art workshops, participating in activities together not only enhances your skills but also provides quality bonding time. Joining a class as a family can be both educational and entertaining.

10. Family Sports League

    Look into local family sports leagues where you can engage in friendly competitions with other families. Whether it’s soccer, softball, or volleyball, joining a league is a great way to stay active, build teamwork, and create lasting memories together.

Creativity is the Key to Fun Things To Do on a Budget

Remember, the key to saving money on family entertainment is to be resourceful, creative, and willing to explore new options. With a little planning and effort, you can create lasting memories and strengthen family bonds without spending a fortune.