Until I pay off my debt, I’m living on a pretty strict budget. I do allow myself a bit of “fun money” each month for entertainment and the like, but it’s very limited. If I were to continue to have nights out with my friends that were the same as before I started living on a budget, my “fun money” wouldn’t get me very far at all. Instead, I’ve had to get creative so I can have maximum fun on minimum money. With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of my tips to have a frugal night out that doesn’t sacrifice on fun. 🙂
Staying Home Is A Great Way To Be Frugal
One of the easiest ways to save on a night out with friends is to have a night in instead. Take turns hosting a girl’s or boy’s night in at each other’s houses. Switching up the location will make it more interesting and by taking turns hosting, each person will have their own turn to plan and cover the expenses of the evening.
You could start off with dinner, or to keep costs even lower, you could meet up after dinner instead. Activities for a night in could be: snacks and a movie or game, giving each other facials or pedicures, cracking open a bottle of wine or having a beer while catching up, or having a themed potluck dinner.
Delay the Start Time
If you really want to go out for your entertainment, start the evening later after everyone’s had dinner. As mentioned before, the cost of your evening will be greatly lessened if you don’t have to pay for dinner. Eat at home before meeting up for drinks and dessert or drinks with an appetizer instead. That’s also not to mention the fact that you might find that you don’t even want to eat while out and thus cutting your cost even more.
Look for Deals
Lots of bar and grill type restaurants have late night happy hour deals that typically begin around 9 or 10 p.m. These deals can usually get you a cheaper drink, as long as you stick to the somewhat limited happy hour menu, and possibly a half-priced appetizer too. This is a great way to spend time catching up with friends while still saving some money.
If you’d like to meet up with friends earlier or go out right after work, you should be able to hit a regular happy hour instead. These earlier happy hours will also have cheaper drinks and sometimes snack type foods that can hold you over until you make it home for dinner, and in some cases the snack food portions can even be big enough that you don’t need dinner after all. Just don’t get in the habit of skipping dinner in favor of these usually unhealthy snacks.
Keeping these tips in mind, there’s no reason why you can’t have an occasional night out with friends, even if you are living on a strict budget to help you meet your financial goals. Meeting your financial goals and sticking to your budget is important, but you can’t live indefinitely with no entertainment budget. The key is to set your entertainment budget at a level you are comfortable with, and make sure you make the most of your limited resources as much as you can.
What other tips do you have to have a frugal, yet still fun night out? What do you use to find deals on entertainment?
Photo courtesy of: Greg Westfall