I think that this is a wonderful opportunity for your children to learn the value of a dollar.
Tis also a good opportunity for them to learn WANTS vs. NEEDS, as well as EXPECTATIONS vs. REALITY
Perhaps start taking them to a lake or beach...or even to enjoy a sprinkler in their own back yard!
Teach them that sacrificing now will pay off tenfold in the long run.
Sit em down, and tell them that they can go to the ymca OR skating , but only ONCE per month...
...grandparents..... well that's a hard one....perhaps you could save food /snack $$ if you feed them before you go and get them bottled water for the drive..... that's what i do....there's no need to graze in the car...is there? I never saw a kid die of starvation during a 3 hour car trip.
I would never scrounge pennies for my son to do an activity ..... it would be teaching him that you can sacrifice basic needs for somthing that's a luxury. That's not a lesson i want him to learn...... i want him to grow up and manage money in such a way that he is not going to get in over his head.
imho, luxuries are hard to enjoy if your broke because of em.
Good luck, take care