Everyone has a few thoughts on saving money. If you have ever found yourself in a bind, you have encountered that well-meaning person who has advised you to cut out all family entertainment. Their philosophy is that you can’t afford to have fun. Life is too hard right now. They're wrong.

You might have even been that person at a point in someone else’s life. This is especially likely if that someone else was your newly adult child. It seems they are always running out of money. And they are always coming to you for more of it.

But as humans, we can’t really live a healthy life without entertainment, especially if we have a family to raise. Entertainment is too integral to the human experience. It helps us unwind, imagine, and be restored throughout the week. Rather than cutting out entertainment, try these tips to cut some of the expense:

Budget Your Sports

Having one sports fan in the home can be expensive. Having a house full of sports fans can be financially debilitating. Of all the sports, football is the most expensive, and that’s just the tickets to a game. We’re talking the cheap seats. Throw in jerseys, baseball caps, and blankets for all the favorite teams, and you’ll soon be taking out a second mortgage.

It may not be quite that bad. But it can get pretty difficult when times are tough. The answer is not to give up football. The answer is to budget perhaps one home game. And enjoy the rest from the comfort of your home in high definition.

If you budget a service like NFL Sunday Ticket with DIRECTV, you would have access to every live game every Sunday. That’s enough football for everyone in the home to enjoy, regardless of what teams they follow. DIRECTV often includes this free within bundles and other special deals. So keep the football. And stop paying for season tickets.

Try Discount Shopping

Food is a major part of entertaining. There is no form of family entertainment everyone is excited about that does not include food. You don’t have to stop eating the foods you love. You just have to stop paying so much for them.

With just a little effort, you will save money at popular discount stores. If you apply a $3 coupon to a $1 item at Walmart, you will get the rest back, or have it applied to the total bill. Stores that price match and that take competitors coupons insure that you are getting the best deal without having to run all over town.

If you have the space, another great way to save on food is to shop at warehouse stores like Sams and Costco. Not only are the prices lower in general, but they are lower in bulk. You can get large packages of quality means. And the family sized goods in jars, cans, and boxes seem to last forever. But beware; those are huge jars, cans, and boxes. Make sure you have the room before making the trip.

Vacation for Less

From time to time, everyone needs a vacation. Save money by vacationing for less. You don’t have to take the family halfway around the world to show them places they have never seen or experienced. Some of the best adventures are not that far from home, wherever home happens to be.

Even if you want to go some place exotic, there are many places with modest travel and lodging costs. The Bahamas are surprisingly affordable. Cruise packages are as little as a couple hundred dollars. They are even free depending on which telemarketer calls you happen to answer. Timeshare companies give away these vacations all the time just to get you into a room so they can pitch their properties. The pitches are grueling. But the vacations are real.

Don’t stop all entertainment. You will lose something essential to the human animal. But budget your sports. Try discount shopping. And vacation for less by taking advantage of the numerous deals that are out there. Your family, and your bank account, will thank you.

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