You don’t have to give up on dining out or entertainment when you are trying to save money. It’s possible to both save money and do the things you like to do. It’s actually a really good ideas to both save and spend . . . “All Work and No Play,” takes a toll on relationships and your health. Here’s some our family’s favorite ways to save money and still do the activities which we love.
We are continuing our series on 52 ways to save $1300 over 52 weeks . Sign up for our newsletter to know every time we post.
Money Saving Tips on Dining and Entertainment
Time your visits. There are many discounts available at both activities, entertainment and restaurants often based on the time of the day. Some offer “twilight” discounts when you are coming in late and not able to visit the entire day. Restaurants have special “early bird” or happy hour dining discounts making it less expensive to eat out while theaters have matinees as well as daily deal pricing discounts.
Go your discounts online. Many places offer a discounted ticket when you purchase it online. There are other sites like Ebates.com where you can earn cash back on your purchases on sites like Groupon. Or you can purchase directly Groupon or Living Social and save.
It DOES matter “who you know.” Whether it’s a discount offered to your employer (like Verizon does for cell phone plans) or by joining organizations like the AARP, AAA or your credit union. Other discounts may include a military discount which may be offered only on specific days but it also may be available all the time. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Take advantage of free. Many museums offer free days. Libraries offer free movie night as well as DVDs available to borrow.
Let the Entertainment Book save you money on entertaining – and a whole lot more. With the Entertainment book we save on dining out, shopping, entertainment, activities and travel. We even frequently get the Entertainment Book for the city we are traveling to. It helps us save even more money once we get there.
We use Restaurant. com Certificates. At the most I pay $10 for a $25.00 certificate, but that is rare. I normally wait for those amazing discounts like $4.00 for a $25.00 certificate come around. Now I have a savings of $21.00 on my purchase. Make sure you read the fine print, as there may be times like weekends or holidays when you can’t use it but it can make a real difference in your dining out bill.
Set an entertainment and dining budget. Look back over what you spent the past three months on eating out and entertainment. Take a percentage off of that amount (say 33%) and then set that as your budget.
Perfect your portions. In order to give consumers more of what they want many restaurants offer portions far more than we may be able to (or that may be healthy) to enjoy during one meal. Consider sharing your plate (most places offer it for free, while others may have a minimal charge) or taking half of your meal home to enjoy for lunch the next day. Add a salad and it makes it even less painful to share your supper.
Related content: Brown bagging vs buying your lunch
Skip the extras. Enjoy your mixed drink or beer before you go (with a designated driver of course). Avoid appetizers, drinks and desserts for everyone, consider sharing or enjoying at home.
Take advantage of kids eat/or attend for free. You may find that quite a few restaurants and activities, like festivals offer kids free options. You may only get the free with purchase of an adult ticket or meal but with two kids at the table, saving $12.00 or kids meals averaging $6.00 each can really add up.
Get rewarded. One of my favorite ways of saving on my eating out is rewards cards. I earn points every time I visit and make a purchase and often get a “freebie” just for signing up. Other rewards programs may include signing up online for newsletters at a venue or restaurant and getting freebies in my email inbox. Best of all is birthday rewards, with free meals or appetizers for my birthday.
Use coupons. Sometimes they are in my mail, or newspaper. I’ve even seen them at the bottom of my grocery receipt. Once you start looking for them you may be surprised at where you find them – and how often!
Cut the cable and the premium channels. Do we really need all 900 channels? Can you cut the NBA, NFL, MLB or other sports channels and watch from ESPN or local television. “Basic” cable isn’t really all that basic anymore with plenty of movie, sports and movie channels to enjoy.
Wait for it on DVD. While heading to the cinema can be fun, so can a movie night at home. Decide before you buy those $12.00 each movie tickets if it is something you can wait for on DVD. If you do head for the theater make sure you signed up for their newsletters and rewards cards and take advantage of free popcorn or special candy or drink deals.
A is for amateurs. Considering seeing a local or high school production or a play or musical. You will support your local businesses and schools and save a bundle of expensive tickets. The same can be said for sports teams.
Try Tribute Bands. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy a tribute band – and the price of admission versus a “headliner” concert.
Sign up for Amazon Prime. With Amazon Prime you not only get that really handy 2 day shipping (which can include CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays) but it also includes access to Prime Music, Movies, Books, Apps and more making it an great investment on your entertainment budget. I know I visit every week to see what I can see – and get for free since it is all part of my membership.
Use all these 17 money saving tips on dining and entertainment or just a few. You probably have a few of your own not listed here. But the more you save on items like eating out and entertainment the more you have to save for a rainy day – or that dream vacation you were hoping to take. Use this tips to help you avoid being one of the 21% of American’s* who don’t have any savings account or the approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000* in their savings accounts and reach your goal of over $1300 saved in 52 weeks.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which mean I may make pennies on your purchase.