Living on a Budget in Tucson with Kids – Making New Friends and Building Relationships

It can be tough living on a budget in Tucson.  Here are some tips and a list of places, events, and resources that can help keep life FUN, self-care accessible, and life more affordable!

Tips for Making New Friends and Building Relationships

As with any venue, building community starts and continues with you!  We can build community by following a few simple guidelines:

  1. Smile and say hello to others. Smiles are contagious!  If the other party does not respond the way you hoped they would respond, avoid assumptions and self-doubt — remember they might need some time to transition into the space. Recognize that when people are distracted, they might not hear you.
  2. Respect space and transitions.  Allow time for parents and kids to transition into the space.  Individuals may have just completed a difficult or stressful task, and need some time to transition into the new space. Ask for permission to share a tool and space (this can be done verbally, or non-verbally.  Body language communicates a lot!)
  3. Breathe and Be Present.  When in stress, we forget to breathe, and go into survival mode.  Let go of the things you cannot control.  Understand you can influence some individuals, and most of the world is in our category of “concern” — we can neither control nor influence; we can choose what is in our sphere of concern.

List of Places, Events, and Resources 

Tucson has over 1 million individuals living in the area.  1 million people have a variety of interests, likes, and dislikes.

Implicit bias, family practices, and cultural norms influence us in what we like and dislike.  Be mindful.  Set aside prejudices and try something new!  Listen to a story, share a story.  Choose which activities resonate with you and your children. ❤

Remember:  You are beautiful, intelligent, and amazing, and a piece of the puzzle of life! If it is safe for yourself and others, try it!  If it seems scary, take a risk.  Have vision and courage.

Viva! (La revolucion)

❤ Felicia

Building Skills with Tools – Free Workshops

  • Habitat for Humanity (minimum age 16)
  • Home Depot Workshops
    • Kids (ages 0-12). First Saturday of each month from 9a-12p at most Home Depot locations.
    • Womens. Free to participate.  Learn how to operate various power tools and build something each workshop
  • Pima County Library Classes and Workshops (ages vary; 101 Space for Teens; Children’s space in progress).  TIP:  If participating in a Downtown program, ask for parking validation pass from the program.
  • Watershed Management Group – (Midtown) Living Lab and (throughout Tucson) Workshops.  Check out the Living Lab north of Speedway near Dodge.

For Fun (and For Free)

  • Bookman’s Kids Groups and Storytimes – (various locations) Free Storytime
  • Children’s Museum (Downtown and Oro Valley) – Free admission days
  • City Sponsored Events – (throughout Tucson)  Subscribe via email to your Councilperson’s Newsletter for event listings.
  • Culture Passes from Pima County Public Library – 2 free tickets to various venues, twice a month.  Venues vary by Library location, but can be searched online.
  • Heirloom Farmers Markets – (throughout Tucson and in Oro Valley) items for purchase, and many vendors offer samples.  Can be crowded.  Use a baby carrier.
  • Home Depot Workshops – (most Home Depot locations.  Register online) Free Kids Workshop on the first Saturday of each month.
  • Mildred and Dildred – (North) La Encantada Storytime
  • Movies at the Loft – (Midtown at Speedway and Country Club). Free children’s movies via Loft Jr. with free popcorn!
  • Pima County Library Storytimes, Classes, Events – (throughout Tucson) Listings available online, many create events on Facebook.  Calendars available at each Library.
  • Tucson Nerf Wars – (Midtown) once a month at the Reid Park Zoo, south of the Bandshell.  Nerf guns and darts available.  Children under age 18 should wear eye protection (goggles work great; requirement can be waived by parent/guardian). Https://
  • Tucson Origami Club – (East) 1st Saturday of each month at Dao’s Tai Pan (446 N Wilmot Road – across from the Murphy-Wilmot Library) from 10a-11:30a.
  • Tucson Museum of Art – (Downtown) Second SunDaze arts and crafts activities and free admission.
  • Valley of the Moon Show Preparation – (Midtown) all ages; 2 or 3 times per year (E Prince and Tucson Blvd)
  • Walk-A-Mile for Our Tucson – (West) Jacobs Park. First Saturday of each month 8am Registration and Pre-Walk activities. 9:30am Walk (Fairview and Miracle Mile Road).

Listings of Activities in Tucson