Families are cutting back on their spending. Many families find this means less time outside of the house. This is a great time for budget-conscious parents to spend quality time with their children throughout the year by limiting dining out, going on movie outings, and playing sports.

Start at home

Your family home is probably your largest monthly investment. Make sure you’re getting the best return on your money. You have the opportunity to be creative if your children don’t believe staying at home is cool.

* Establish a weekly game night. You don’t need to purchase new games. Ask other parents if you can borrow their games.

* Subscribe to a home movie-rental service. As a reward for their achievements, let the children add their favorite movie into the queue.

* Dining in style. Eat more home-cooked meals. The family can cook the meal together if the menu is simple. I enjoy using affordable canned vegetables such as Libby’s in my recipes and side dishes. They are tasty and easy to prepare.

Get out of Town

Families can benefit from activities and trips, no matter what season. Families can make little getaways that won’t cost the mortgage by being creative.

* Plan trips close to home. To save money on airfare, look for places three to four hours from your home.

* Try camping. Many young families are returning to camping, which was once a popular choice. You can rent a cabin at an affordable rate in the cooler months.

Hannah Keeley has more tips on connecting with your family. Visit the Libby’s vegetables website at www.GetBacktotheTable.com.

Hannah Keeley is a mother to seven and hosts the show Hannah Keeley. “Hannah Help Me!”PBS and author “Hannah Keeley’s Total Mom Makeover: The Six-Week Plan to Completely Transform Your Home, Health, Family, and Life.”