Money on Dining Out and Entertainment
fun things to do doesn't have to be expensive. Reading, biking,
hiking, putting together a puzzle, learning to cook an exotic
dish can all be inexpensive ways to have fun.
Download and read books online at no cost. As of this
writing, Project Gutenberg has over 17,000 out of copyright
books books in their online catalog, including many classics
and children's books.
Discount Movies - Almost all movie theaters in our
area offer discounted matinee prices for movies 2:00 PM or
earlier. Often you can get better seats during the day time,
too. Some people like to buy tickets online, but be aware
they charge a service over and above the price of the ticket.
I think it is better just to go to see movies at off times.
We went to see the much hyped final Star Wars episode for
the 2:00 showing at our local theater on the Saturday of the
opening weekend and had no problems getting choice seats.
local Costco also sells movie tickets for the price of two
movie tickets for $15 with no restrictions at all. So you
can even see a new release movie on a Saturday night using
movies at home, Netlix as of this writing is only around $8
a month and has thousands of videos available for streaming
included in that price. So gather the family, pop some popcorn,
spread out blankets on the floor and have a super frugal family
movie night once a week.
Buy a puzzle and complete a family puzzle together.
Price Theater Tickets - many large cities and tourist
areas areas have half price theater ticket centers. If there
are unsold seats on the day of the performance, you can often
get tickets that same day for half the cost. My husband at
I were in London a few years ago and saw many wonderful plays
at greatly reduced prices. We found only the newest plays
with very good reviews to be sold out and unavailable at the
If there is a certain hot play you and everyone else has been
dying to see, you may not find tickets at the outlets. However,
if you are flexible about what to see and just want an evening
out, half price ticket booth prices are hard to beat. Las
Vegas also has a discount ticket booth. We found our half
price tickets there at a booth in the Fashion Mall.
If you are a nature lover, enjoy the outdoors, or are concerned
with the environment, join the Sierra Club. In the San
Francisco Bay area, they have subgroups for camping, hiking,
canoeing, etc. with many no charge or nominal cost activities
including pot lucks, hiking, day trips, camp outs and more.
Watch the entertainment section of the local paper for
free activities. Many museums have free days each month,
libraries often have free author book readings, etc. For example,
a local historical ranch near our house has special weekends
with free crafts, music and children's activities. This site
has a list of free
and low cost events in the San Francisco Bay area.
to Dr. Thomas Stanley, co-author of The Millionaire
Next Door, most millionaires actually have inexpensive
hobbies such as gardening, coaching or watching their
kids play sports, and involvement in church and civic
groups. You can read more about millionaire hobbies on
at restaurants is one of my nonfrugal guilty pleasures. For
me it is one discretionary expense that is worth the money.
However, I still try to stretch my restaurant dollars as far
as possible, and rarely eat out for full price. Listed below
are some of my tips for frugal dining.
Go to restaurants for lunch instead of dinner.
This past week my husband and I went out to an Indian
buffet for lunch. The food at lunch buffet is exactly the
same as the dinner buffet, but the lunch price was $9.99 while
the dinner price was $14.99. This price differential often
holds true at many other restaurants as well. The food is
usually the same but often much less expensive during lunch
2. See if your
favorite restaurant offers an early bird special for early
3. Get on the
mailing list for your favorite restaurant chains. Places
like Fresh Choice, IHOP, Denny's and Red Robin regularly sends
out special discount coupons to those on their mailing lists.
We also sign up for free meals on our birthdays - a feature
available at many of the popular chain restaurants. This past
year my husband and I each had free birthday meals at Red
Robin and IHOP, plus a bunch of other birthday coupons we
didn't get a chance to use.
4. Avoid ordering
drinks and dessert. Most restaurant meals come with more
than enough calories just with the entrees alone.
4. Have a snack
before you go to the movies, or at least go out afterwards
for a snack some place other than the movie theater snack
bar. The snack prices are very high at most movies where the
audience is a basically a captive market.
5. If you feel
like you need to have a drink when dining out, try ordering
a nonalcoholic version of your favorite cocktail. You'll
save money as well as wear and tear on your liver.
6. Keep a supply
of interesting food on hand at home for brown bag lunches
so you won't be tempted to go out for lunch. A bowl of
yogurt with pistachios and raisins or a pasta salad with roasted
vegetables from home is cheaper and healthier than most restaurant
food, especially fast food.
you order a drink when you eat out, get it without
ice so you get more actual beverage for your money.