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Bigger families...do you go out to eat, to the movies, etc?


Ottakee
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Right now we have 5 kids with us full time.as we just added a 15 year old foster boy. We also have 13 and 16 year old boys that are with us some weekends/weekend days ( they are not related so sometimes one, sometimes both).

 

Do you go out to eat much with thisany teens? Do things like movies? I am just thinking that going out to eat could easily run us $75-100 for a simple sit down meal. A movie at $8/ticket would be $56 plus another $30-40 if we did pop and popcorn for everyone.

 

Our last full family outing (this was before 15 year old came) was to go to a friend's house for spaghetti dinner. There were 17 of us between the 2 families and all had fun and total cost of food was very very reasonable....basically why groceries would have cost.

 

We have done bon fires, hikes, etc but it seems like things that cost per person instead of a family rate are just so expensive for larger families...esp if they are all teens...so none of the kids prices or free under age 3 things.

 

I hate that our kids miss out on these things but budget wise it just seems like such a huge amount.

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I'm from a large family. We don't go out to eat unless its a special event (traveling and stopping by a favorite restaurant that is not in our home town) or having family in town for a rare occasion. We do order take out and send someone to pick it up.

 

We do other things as a family and last I checked, none of us kids feel deprived.

 

Subsets of the family often do things. Some of the adult children I will do fun things with the younger siblings etc.

 

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We only have one child and fortunately, finances aren't tight, but we hardly ever go to movies, especially not first runs at regular theatres. It just seems like such a rip off to me. If you wait long enough, you can see just about anything at a discount theatre or at home. Even eating out, we drink water and don't do desserts or appetizers unless it is a special occasion like a birthday, and even then we share because portions are so big. And generally, I only like paying for food out that I can't easily make at home, such as various ethnic dishes, which are often designed to be shared.

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We do things like the museum  ( free to low income families) Zoo ( have a year pass) and the beach ( live right beside it)

 

 

The only eating out we do is chips ( without anything else). Unless I am doing a medical trip with twins to Melbourne. Then I am given an allowance for food and accommodation because they are foster children. So we get take away Thai

 

 

Movies are very expensive here. Starting price is $15 per ticket.

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We don't have a huge family but it is bigger than average. We do some things out, like restaurant meals every few months, and places like the water park or zoo. But it's infrequent and usually a discount day or coupon/gift certificates to make it more reasonable. We don't say no to everything but probably more than a two child family with the same SES.

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We only have two kids and went to see a movie as a family for the first time ever today.  And we didn't buy any food/drinks at the theatre because just going was $50.  I imagine if we had more kids we would probably have gone this once (to see The Force Awakens) but unlikely to go to anything else for another 8 years.

 

And we never go to restaurants.  It's $60 at least by the time everyone has food and drinks.  We order pizza (4 of them) once every month or two instead.  That's cheaper and lasts for several meals.

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I grew up in a big family and we didn't eat out as a family much. Maybe once a year. It was expensive to feed so many. And when we did, it was a pizza buffet or something. But our parents made a point to go out with one or two of us at a time throughout the year. Unfortunately, they weren't very good at keeping track of who had been recently and making sure it was all even. So if you do that, try to make it fair. It is very nice to have one on one time with a parent when you're in a big family. Birthdays are a good time do that kind of thing. We'd go shopping, out to eat, maybe a movie, and it didn't make anyone else feel left out because hey, birthday, special treatment, they'd get their turn later.

 

As for movies maybe you can pay attention to local theaters and when they might be having deals on tickets, matinees, and so on. Always be on the lookout for coupons. Maybe give gift cards to the theater and restaurants as gifts for Christmas or birthdays.

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I once gave my boys movie tickets for their birthday since we didn't have room to really store a gift of any other kind. That was about five years ago. Their Grandma took them again and some friends once a few years later.

 

Eating out is done for very special occasions or emergencies. If I had to guess we went about three times last year.

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we didn't eat out much - but shortly after 2ds was born, dh was laid off, and employement was unpredictable for a number of years.

 

we were creative.  we had pizza parties with their friends - but we made good pizza.  bought pop for $1 a 2-liter bottle.  we'd rent movies (now it's netflix and amazon.)  movies were a treat.  (my mother would go through withdrawal if she didn't go to a movie every week . . .  she dragged me to many questionable movie.)

games,  memberships to the science center.  (and watch their regular imax movies for free).

even now, when money isn't the issue it once was - for dudeling's birthday, he'd much rather have a LAN party with his friends than go somewhere.

even the kids (including the independent ones who have good incomes) only go to movies they *really* want to see (which is how it should be.  so many make you wonder why you spent two hours of your time and that much money)

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With snacks (one large refillable popcorn plus small drinks) a movie for our family is about $100. If we go, we usually go with grandparents and split the cost. We don't do that much, though. Last time, though they requested candy. My new plan is to bring candy for them and water bottles. I think they'll be happy with that.

At most Applebees locations kids meals are $.99 or $1.99 on Tuesdays, regardless of how many adult entrees are ordered. Score! Of course, mine are small enough that that helps. When they grow is another story... We can't do much fast food because our children have a variety of food allergies. So if we eat out at a place that does not have a deal like Applebees it will cost around $60-70.

Our children eat crazy portions. I don't even know what it will be like when they're all teens.

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We had friends with 7, there was a breakfast buffet place that adults were $10 or $12 each but kids were $2 or $3 each, dad would sometimes go out to eat with the kids and our family, giving mom a break at home, we would save seats and their older children helped the younger children get food.

 

Other than that, the did not go out to eat often. They also only got water with meals once they turned 4, they could get milk earlier and milk with cereal as older children.

Edited by ElizabethB
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We do so rarely.  We see a movie as a family about every other year. We watch a lot of Netflix and do at home movie nights instead.  We venture out as a family a fair amount, but we generally choose low cost/free things to do.  I will take a kid out one at a time when I run weekly errands. We usually pick up an ice-cream or a candy bar or some little treat.  We used to eat out a lot more, but it's gotten expensive lately as my kids grow and appetites increase. We have switched from eating out to inviting another family over to share a meal. 

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We eat out with coupons.  For example, our Qdoba often sends us BOGO on Sundays, so we go there a lot after church.   We get a meal (with drink) for $9 times 3 and get 3 free, so it costs $27 plus tax for 6 meals.  We have 5 of us, so we take the extra free one home and someone will eat it at some point.

 

Occasionally we spend more, but we try to keep meals around $30 for all of us.

 

If we go to Boston Market, we get the meal for 6 for $45 and share it and usually have enough for another full meal later.  It comes with 2 chickens and 6 large sides.  We have one chicken there (or sometimes not even a whole one) and about half the sides.  Then the rest is for leftovers.

 

Movies.......the boys are old enough now to just go with their friends and several of their friends like the dollar theater.  When they were younger we would either rent a movie or buy a movie and watch it at home.

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We only eat out at a sit down restaurant a couple of times each year, usually for a specific reason. We don't do it just for fun. We have only gone to the movies as a family twice. The older kids have been half a dozen times, though, for one reason or another. It is much cheaper to buy a movie than buy that many tickets, and they can watch it multiple times.

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I grew up in a big family and we only ate out when traveling to visit family, usually at a buffet type place. Occasionally we would order pizza.

 

We did get to go to movies, a local factory had a deal with the movie theater where tickets were really cheap, $2 or something per person. The ticket books were easy to obtain and my mom really liked going to movies.

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On birthdays each child gets to pick where they want to eat, and we go eat there as a family. So far the prices have been reasonable, they love fast food and pizza. :) Otherwise we get take out and eat at home.

 

Two of ours are still little, but we've never been to the movies as a family. Each child has gone with a parent or friend. We do go see free plays put on by organizations in our area, we go to the zoo and children's museum (we have memberships to both), we have a gym membership so we can go swimming. If we have a movie we want to see we typically wait until we can stream it through Google Play at home for 5$.

 

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

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We are a family of seven. My kids (age 9 and under) have never been to a movie theater. I honestly just couldn't do it by myself logistically speaking and husband works all the time so he is gone. We used to go out to eat frequently when the older 3 were little and enjoyed it. When I was pregnant with dd4 I almost had a fatal incident happen at a restaurant due to a life threatening allergy that I have. We have never been out to eat since then. I was always very careful, too, and only ate at two restaurants that I was confident in.

We probably wouldn't be able to afford to eat out now but it would be nice to take advantage of the kids eat free nights, if it wasn't for the allergy.

 

I feel the need to add that every other month or so I will get the kids fast food at mcdonalds for whatever reason. As of right now, we can get by on a 20 piece chicken nugget for 4.99, a large fry and 4 waters :). In another year or so we will have to get two 20 pieces though...maybe even 2 large fries..gasp. It is a special, special treat when we get happy meals, lol.

 

We don't have a cici's pizza where we live now ($5 for a large), but whenever we are where they have one we always get a few.

Edited by Mom2Five
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We do.  Occasionally we do a sit down dinner, but as was stated upthread it can be upwards of $100.  Its just not a wise use of our $ to do that regularly.  We might, however, get 4 footlong Subway sandwiches and have them cut into thirds then round out the meal with a bag of apples, a bag of chips, and Subway cookies.   A dozen cookies and 4 footlongs is only about $25, a bargain for a family my size!!  Sometimes we get burgers off of the dollar menu and round out with fries or like we do with Subway.  If everyone gets 2 burgers, it is still less than $25.  Our other favorite restaurant is Papa Murphy's take and bake.  No, most of these aren't uber healthy, but we are talking about eating out, which is not a daily occurrence.  At home we mostly cook whole foods from scratch.

 

Instead of eating out, we will often order and eat in.  Walmart has yummy General Tso chicken in their deli dept..  While grocery shopping I'll call home and have my kiddos start a couple of rice cookers full of rice to go with the chicken and purchased frozen stir fry vegetables.  It makes for a pretty quick dinner on grocery day!!  Another meal that feels like we are eating out, is a couple of rotisserie chickens or deli fried chicken and Hawaiian bread rolls, bag of fruit like mandarin oranges and a bagged salad. 

 

We've done the movies quite a bit.  We have local theaters that have free or almost free summer matinees.  There is also a dollar theater nearby.  The cost is $2 per person, so for our family of 11 it is only $22 to see 2nd run movies.

 

We did see Frozen as a family in the fancy pants, overly pricey theater, but usually reserve that theater for Mommy Daddy date nights or a smaller portion of the family like the older teens seeing the Hunger Games and such.

 

With creativity and a little work larger families can do the same things as smaller ones.  

 

 

Eta:  While children are not entitled to movies or eating out, it is important that they don't feel the reason they can't do those things just because there are more of them.  If it isn't in the budget or Mom and Dad choose not to do them, fine.  If they aren't doing them only because the budget is tighter because there are more children in the family, then try to be creative and find ways to do them.  You might be surprised how much you can do on a limited budget.

Edited by Excelsior! Academy
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We don't eat out often. We did when we just had 2 little ones, but now with a family of 6 we just don't. DH is an amazing chef, and can prepare better than restaurant quality food at home for a fraction of the cost. We can put in special requests and although it may take a few days, DH will pull it off as soon as he has the time.

 

However, last night, on a whim we stopped at a popular sit-down Mexican restaurant. We paid $75 in order to sit and eat. It was nice to relax as a family, but really felt wasteful. We have food allergies to manage, too. We all ended up with stomach distress, so it was probably a good thing for building our immunities. We all laughed about needing to invest in some different germs/bacteria ocassionally.

Edited by lollie010
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We rarely go out to dinner as a family, but we'll go in small groups. I just feel sick every time we spend $75+ on one meal. We used to go more when they all ate kids meals.

 

Eta: Missing movies and dinner doesn't bother me, but missing out on museums, plays, music performances, music lessons, camps, vacations, etc bothers me. I wish I could afford to take my kids on a plane once as a family or splurge for a novelty event, like a trip to the aquarium our local cave, but it's so expensive for 7. I try to watch Groupon for good deals.

 

We have only rarely taken all our kids to the expensive movies, but they get a gift card every year from a nice aunt, and we take them to the dollar theater sometimes. We're mostly all content to watch them when they come out on redbox.

Edited by desiree77
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We pay for classes and lessons for the kids and it's to the tune of $600-ish per month right now, if we include swimming, piano, and ballet. If we didn't spend it there we'd have a lot more to spend on other experiences, but that's a trade off we make. Everyone just had to do the best they can and resist guilt over the rest, I think!

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We're a small family and we rarely eat out.  Both husband and I are decent cooks, so we would have to pay a lot of money to get something better than we could make at home.  And as we both cook, we also each get a rest from cooking.

 

About four times a year we use points vouchers to go out for a pizza.

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We are blessed in that a few times a year we can go to certain things for free as a foster/adoptive family. This year we did the local botanical gardens decorated for Christmas.

 

All 5 of mine has IEPs so 4 of the 5 are in Special Olympics which provides sports and some travel at a very reasonable price.

 

Part is family values as well. I would rather use the money go travel a bit than eat out for $100. 50 gallons of gas would get us quite a bit of travel in.

 

I will admit to taking them to taco bell once in a while. We can get them a $2.43 meal deal with a gordita or buritto, chips and cheese and a pop. Nice treat for not much more than eating at home.

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I don't think we've ever been to a movie in a theater as a family.  I believe movie theater prices over unreasonable, and it is impossible for me to find a movie that is worth the price and is appealing to our age range.  We do send individuals or groups to the theater for big name movies, usually as social events with other friends.

 

We eat out far too often, but not usually true sit down meals.  We eat fast food or buffets since we appreciate the speed of fast food and the variety/quantity of buffets.  Neither option is much cheaper for us than sit down meals since we don't economize on fast food but we would on sit down meals.  We do eat out as a family 2-3 times/month, but we often eat out as subsets as well.  Our average family eat out meal runs $70ish, and our eating out/entertainment budget is about $400-$450/month right now.  This is definitely our most expensive time of year as we spend most weekends travelling for sports, and winter in MN is just tough for creating cheaper alternatives. 

 

I do try to fit in fun events and vacations as a family, but our sports schedule doesn't leave many free weekends.  Just yesterday I was looking at trips to Mexico for us, but it's so hard to get away during the winter due to wrestling and dance team seasons.  My oldest two are likely to both be on varsity next year, so that really seals the deal on any winter vacations.  My 8th grader was on varsity dance team this year, and the commitment level is much higher for varsity.  Then I started looking at a trip to San Francisco in May, and my dh's military duty schedule makes that a non-starter too.  It's the age-old issue of having enough money to take vacations (two income household), but not enough time to take them.  When we were homeschooling we had tons of time for vacations, but not enough money for more than a couple weekends trips/year.

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Eating out? Not often. We will bring pizza or subs home sometimes, though.

 

We don't do movies often. Maybe once or twice a year but not necessarily the whole group. DH and the three big kids saw The Force Awakens in the theater; I had zero interest in it, and the small guys were too young. But we took all seven of us to see the second Hobbit movie in the theater, which was a really big deal. (And then a car hit an electric pole or something, so the theater had to close in the middle of the movie, so they gave us new tickets for that movie, plus tickets for a future show. So then we all got to see The LEGO Movie in the theater too, and all we had to pay was the $2 per person or so up charge for 3D. I think that was the last movie I saw in the theater, though, although DH and the older kids have seen a couple of them since then.)

 

DH has taken some of the kids to Hersheypark too. Once the little guys ride more rides, we might go as a family once a year or so. My parents used to do one of the amusement parks a year with us, and there were four of us kids (plus after a certain point, they brought my boyfriend along too.)

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Our movie theater tickets are $5.50 now and much less when our kids were growing up so yes, we did go to movies occasionally when the kids were growing up. (We go frequently now that they are adults)  

 

Eating out- we ate fast food when kids were younger but rarely a sit down meal. When dh had his heart attack a decade ago the fast food stopped.  Most of our friends did a sit down meal at a restaurant at least once a week but I just couldn't get into that. I enjoyed cooking so eating out wasn't worth the price trade off. Now, if I hated cooking or wasn't good at it, I'd for sure have made eating out a line item in our budget.  But it would have had to replace our book buying budget which was obscene. 

 

I confess that when our kids were growing up we allowed books at the table. I spent all day with them and needed that break. Dh spent his whole day at work and wanted some time to read. The kids always had a book in their hands so they wanted to read during meals.  So eating in a restaurant wasn't much fun- the kids wanted their books and so did the adults. Introverts...we can be a weird bunch. 

 

I was one of four siblings growing up and I don't remember a meal eaten in a restaurant (as a whole family) until I was in high school.  Dh was the same- rarely ate in a restaurant.  That really might be why we just didn't value eating out.  

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When all five kids were home growing up, we didn't eat out much.  Maybe once a month, but usually at more of a cafe-styple place where meals are less expensive.  We didn't go to movies much each, maybe twice/year?  We watched a lot of movies at home with popcorn, and had loads of fun on family outings, but they were doing free or almost free things.

 

Once our budget loosened a bit, we were able to start traveling more and that was really wonderful.  The way we could afford that was to eat as cheaply as possible.  That would mean make-our-own breakfasts, picnic lunches, and cheap dinners out (or if we had accommodations with a kitchen we'd make our own).

 

I still remember going to a lovely restaurant on one of our trips, and it turned out to be a pricy one where we felt we could only afford a bowl of soup for each of us.  The other customers were getting three course meals, and our sweet waiter made ours into a three course meal too.  He first brought the ice water and let us sit with that for awhile, then he brought a basket of bread, and lastly he brought the soup.  :)

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We budget $100/month for "family outings" and $50/month to "eating out." We generally use the family outings money for things like museum passes or a movie at the museum (we live in a Big City). We may use it for state park entry fees. 

Generally, dad takes out one kid at a time, with each child getting to go out once per month. He goes for big bang per dollar. So he may take a kid to donuts - but go to the donut shop 30 minutes away that has awesome ratings and then they review the donuts afterwards. Other outings he does include breakfast out (only one kid per month) or watching the sun rise. He looks for lectures to take our oldest to. This month he'll be taking our violin player to see her teacher play with the trainee symphony ($10 total). He took our oldest to see Star Wars at an IMAX theater. We used part of our outings budget to buy the right size ice skates last month since kids skate free near us if they bring skates along.

 

So we don't go out to dinner as a family much - that would blow our entire budget! We look for free/cheap events and pack food. But we have a ton of fun as a family.

 

Emily

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4 kids

 

Eating out, fairly rare, we might get a few things at a drive-through once a month, usually out of desperation for being time-crunched. Even when we have date nights I usually cook, I'd rather pay for some ingredients than pay 2x as much for something half as good as what I could make at home. Movies are usually a few times a year during the cheap show, same for dh and I. Growing up both eating out and movies were rare, I remember seeing 1 movie at the theater. We only ate out occasionally a few times a year maybe, I think, always at 1 of 2 places. Dh did both more often but near as much as what seems usual these days. To me it is not chiefly about the economics, there is also a desire to eat healthier, and spend our times on other things(and just trying not to be too busy in general).

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We have six kids. The short answer is no. 

 

As was mentioned earlier, a sit down meal at even a moderate restaurant (Olive Garden, Red Robin) is going to be upwards of $100. We do have space in our budget for emergency eating out - sometimes life gets crazy. So if we go out it's usually a last minute thing, and we'll grab Wendy's or Chik-fil-A if we're feeling spendy. I don't think we've ever seen a movie as a family. 

 

Here's what we do: 

 

Take one kid out at a time for a date. This is often ice cream or Starbucks (coffee-free frapps for the win!) or breakfast, which is cheaper than dinner. 

 

Museum trips! It's much cheaper for a large family to buy a family membership. For example, our history center charges $8 per person, but a family membership is only $70. It's the same price to go for a day or a year. We pick one or two museums or zoos and buy memberships for the year. Sometimes dates will be there, and we get a discount on food. 

 

Watch out for deals. My husband just took our 7 year old to see Zootopia for free because he's on a mailing list. They send free preview tickets to upcoming movies two or three times per year. Groupon often has good deals on restaurants and movies. 

 

Give gift cards in stockings. $5 at Starbucks or a fast food place is a big deal to a kid. We've also done $10 movie theater gift cards in the kid's stockings. They loved that. 

 

Order pizza. Lots of places have deals on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

 

It's not part of our family culture to eat out a lot, so they don't seem to mind. We've been very clear with them about making financial decisions. "We have a finite amount of money that we get to spend on whatever we want. We need to make wise choices on what we buy. We could spend $100 on dinner tonight, but then we wouldn't have that money for the new shoes you want. What do you think we should do?" 

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Dh is oldest of 9. No, they didn't eat out much. Even McDonald's got expensive. They made their own pizzas and popcorn on Sunday night's---which I've since learned is an Amish thing. They had "lives," just mostly resolved around soccer and summer jobs. They had to earn money for their soccer cleats and fees. I gotta say, they all have a great work ethic. It's just a different lifestyle.

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I only have two kids. We eat out too much sometimes. I really think the main benefit to that is convenience for me on busy days. My family would be better off if we scaled back to eating out once a month or less. Really. Restaurant food just isn't as good as what we eat at home when I cook and it is inevitably too salty and costs 3Xs what it's worth. I'm willing to bet that kids who eat out rarely and whose mothers are good, healthy cooks develop a more discerning palate for real food. So you see, Mommy Guilt either way. You might as well keep your money in your pocket if you're going to be gazing over the fence at greener grass.

 

As for movies, we used to see more, but now that they get released so soon, we find it much more comfortable to watch at home. We prefer our own snacks and our comfortable furniture. We also like pausing for bathroom breaks. Oldest DD goes to movies with friends. They're college students so they've developed a knack for finding special deals and promotions that wouldn't be on my radar. They're also choir kids so they always have refillable water bottles on them and never pay for soda.

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We do so more than we used to, but I don't know if it's a lot.  I think we probably go to the big movies once or twice a year as a family, on average.  Sometimes as a birthday celebration.  When I'm on top of my game, the kids and I will get to a few of the cheap summer daytime deals the theater runs for kids.

 

We usually go out for birthday dinners, mostly chain restaurants, so that's at least 5 times a year.  We have a holiday tradition that includes an expensive dinner out.  And we'll go out spontaneously if we have some extra wiggle room.  So maybe once a month, on average? (The kids' birthdays are pretty close together.)

 

There were years when we never did either of those things, and years where they were very rare treats.

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As for movies, we used to see more, but now that they get released so soon, we find it much more comfortable to watch at home. We prefer our own snacks and our comfortable furniture. We also like pausing for bathroom breaks. 

 

This is a big part of it now, too.  We do rent and/or buy movies online not all that long after their theater run.  Unless it's something we're super excited to see (like Star Wars) it's hard to justify spending 10-20 times as much to share the experience with strangers.

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We have 4 children.  

 

I love to eat out, unlike most of the previous posters, it seems.  We have an at-home date night every week, and about 50% of the time, we get take out for that.  We always go out to eat as part of our 3x/year out of the house date night.

 

We go out as an entire family about every 6 weeks or so.  I try to mix up the cheap stuff (Moe's, fast food, Publix subs) with sit-down restaurants.  For birthdays, we have a tradition of me cooking whatever they like at home, so that's not an eat-out time for us. 

 

I don't like movies that much, and I haven't seen a first run one since my oldest was born.  I do take the kids to the $1 movie once or twice in the summer.  My dh will take a child or two or three to first run movies.  Our local theater has $5 matinees.  That's where they saw the new Star Wars movie. 

 

I try hard to find stuff on the cheap.  We do Chick fil A's cow day on the big side....we dress up and eat all 3 meals at 3 different restaurants that day.  We go to lots and lots of festivals and fairs.  If I can find a way to do it cheaply, we'll probably do it at least once.  We have a zoo pass off and on, we've had a history museum pass a few times.  stuff like that.

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We have five children and spend a fair amount of time out and about.  We purchased memberships/passes to things that we frequent often.  

 

We go to the movies as a family 1-2 times a year.  Honestly, that is limited due to food allergies/special needs.  We really like RedBox and for most things don't mind waiting.  Our children get very excited about a RedBox.  

 

We do eat out fairly regularly.  We naturally look for deals and discount days but again food allergies and special needs limit our choices.  We sometimes split meals when we want to and my 13 year old sometimes will choose a kid's meal and then supplement it with some of my food.  Restaurants that serve bread or chips (and salsa) are more friendly to our budget. LOL 

 

Oh and my kids LOVE Sam's Club or Costco "meals."  It's hilarious. 

Edited by GAPeachie
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I see a lot of people talking about how they eat out for cheap - Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, Costco meals, etc, but those are things I don't value much. It takes more time to go to Taco Bell than to make (much tastier) tacos at home. 

 

If/when I take my kids out, it is for things that I can't or don't make at home: dim sum, japanese street food, etc. Not fast food, regardless of how cheap it is. 

 

Emily

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I see a lot of people talking about how they eat out for cheap - Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, Costco meals, etc, but those are things I don't value much. It takes more time to go to Taco Bell than to make (much tastier) tacos at home.

 

If/when I take my kids out, it is for things that I can't or don't make at home: dim sum, japanese street food, etc. Not fast food, regardless of how cheap it is.

 

Emily

I don't really value the food either but my kids do and sometimes with our chaotic lives, we are running non stop and eat in the car between appointments. Five special needs teens, including 2 in foster care makes for an insane amount of running around to appointments, counselor s, doctors, therapists, social workers, etc.

 

I still would rather eat at home most days or pack food to eat. Hopefully this week will be better but while most parents have 9 months to prepare for a child, we as foster parents, often have only a few hours notice before adding in a new family member.

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We do but a big issue for us was that we continued to eat out like before we were together, and the cost was staggering. Now we do it more like once a month, but we still should spend less on it. One reason we wanted to buy a home was forced savings... We'll be eating out less in the near future!

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We have 9 kids and the teenagers can eat a ton. Going out during lunch to a Chinese buffet is practically perfect. It also means that we can get everyone food right away. Otherwise some of the kids are hungry and cranky and worn out before the food has even arrived. Lunch is cheaper and usually less crowded which is helpful. Sometimes we do subway or fast food, but I hate that some kids will be disappointed that we buy big orders of fries and nuggets instead of happy meals. I'm not sure why that is. No one is entitled to happy meals, ya know? But I don't want my kids to feel deprived because of their siblings either. So we like to do buffets.

 

We don't all go out to movies. A couple kids will go at a time to a movie they will enjoy, but it's too hard to find something for everyone. There was a second run movie theater that had really cheap tickets where we used to live.

 

There are some ways where I feel like the kids do miss out because there are so many of them, but there are other ways that I feel the number is an advantage. We will get something big and awesome (for our budget) for everyone to share at Christmas. We went to a place with pony rides and I joked that it would be cheaper for us to buy a pony. That kind of premise, although teens are probably a bit old for pony rides!

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We rarely do go all together. If we do, we only have water to drink and we give everyone a set dollar limit, unless it is a buffet. We love a good Chinese buffet. It is one of the most reasonable options.

 

A movie would have to pretty special for us all to go.

So funny that I posted the same thing right after this! Yes! Chinese buffet for the win!

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