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Financial Tip

In memoriam
In lieu of cards and flowers, Mr. Stowers' family would appreciate that friends and colleagues consider opening a Hope Shares account in Jim's name. In addition to honoring Jim's memory, your contribution enables you to become personally involved in the long-term effort to provide Hope for Life -- a better life for everyone.

Seven Ways to Save on Entertainment

Most people enjoy getting out and about with their family. However, depending on the size of the family, the cost of entertainment can exceed the budget. Fortunately there are countless ways to save on entertainment without breaking the bank. Consider these seven ways to save: 

Save on movies - If your family loves movies, instead of going in the evening when ticket prices are high, change up your schedule and go to the matinee. Better yet, check out your local Redbox location where you can rent a popular movie for as little as $1.50 per day. Want to save even more? Explore the hundreds of free movies available for rent through your local library.

Host a potluck party - Like to entertain but don't like the expense? Reach out to your friends and host a potluck dinner. When everyone chips in and brings a dish, it can make a party extremely affordable - and fun! Plus, with the extra hands, it makes the clean-up in the kitchen a snap.

Cut the cost of a cultural event - Enjoy live theater but can't afford pricey tickets? Instead of buying expensive tickets to a Broadway production that's coming to town, check out what's playing at your area high schools and colleges. The cost of these tickets can be considerably less. That makes it easier on the wallet to take your whole family. And don't forget local community theater productions. Another option for parents who love theater is to volunteer. Most theaters and cultural arts centers use volunteers to take tickets and seat patrons. Once the volunteers are done, they get the chance to enjoy the performance for free.

Get outdoors! - Although it's fun to see a baseball game, visit a museum or attend a concert, consider getting outside to enjoy nature at a fraction of the cost. Take your family camping in a nearby state park. Or, if you can't take the extended time for an overnight trip, pack a picnic and take your fishing pole to enjoy a lazy, yet fun afternoon with your family at a nearby lake.

Save on dining - There are ways to dine "strategically" to save your family money. Consider restaurants that offer early dining specials before 6 p.m. or explore restaurants run by culinary schools. If you have a few favorite restaurants, sign up for their email lists so you'll be alerted to any discount offers or dining specials. Other ways to save include using coupons, sharing an entrée and sticking with water as your beverage. Finally, consider ordering carry-out so you won't be tempted to spend extra on drinks or dessert. 

Team up for babysitting - If you're eager for an evening out with your spouse but not crazy about having to pay a babysitter, team up with neighbors or nearby friends to share babysitting responsibilities. If you offer to watch their kids one evening, they'll hopefully be open to watching yours. Everybody wins, including the kids who love hanging out for an extra evening with their friends! 

Find some freebies - There are an amazing number of free entertainment opportunities out there for those who seek them out. Whether it's your local zoo or art museum offering a Free Visitor Day, your employer providing free (or discounted) tickets to a local sporting event, or a free community concert in the park, there are often dozens of free entertainment options for those in the know. To uncover the many options in your community, search the web or call your local Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Teachable Moments

Have a family discussion about the costs of entertainment. Have them list their top three favorite events - such as concerts, movies and sporting events - and what they typically cost. Don't forget to include the expense of food, transportation and parking at those venues. Then discuss several free entertainment options and compare how much the family can save by embracing the free options instead.

Talk candidly with your children about how the money your family saves on entertainment can be wisely used for other important family expenses, such as your next family vacation or the costs of extracurricular activities over the next school year.