Cool Ideas

Cut Your Social and Entertainment Costs

Dining with friends, catching a movie, having drinks—it's all fun and games until your budget catches up. But what's the point in working hard for your money if you can't enjoy it a little bit? Lucky for you, it is possible to bring home the bacon and eat it too. All it takes is a little creativity, and you can keep your social calendar – and your bank account -- full.

Cut Your Social and Entertainment Costs
  1. Have a potluck. In many social groups, going out to dinner seems to be the gold standard when it comes to making plans and catching up. And since the main goal is to see your friends, scratch those restaurant plans and instead invite them over for a potluck meal. Not only will you save a hefty restaurant bill, but you may pick up a few new recipes in the process.
  2. Reinvent date night. Like hanging with friends, eating out is typically the headliner for any standard date night. But there are plenty of other ways to enjoy time with your honey without spending $100 or more on dinner. Get creative with a backyard picnic—this will take the mundane out of staying at home. Or, see what local bars offer a cover-free karaoke or trivia night, which is a surefire way to bond and have some fun. For daytime outings, try taking a hike or hitting up a nearby free park, as the fresh air and exercise is sure to get your pheromones going full force.
  3. Scour deal sites. Thanks to sites like CoolSavings, a full dose of entertainment can come at just a fraction of the fun. Check out the Deals page for discounted offers on everything from movies and restaurants to excursions and spa days.
  4. BYOB. Having a drink or two is often a part of social activities, but it comes at a big price. When possible, bring your own alcohol and skip the $5 to $10 per drink bar tab. For example, some restaurants allow you to bring your own for a small corking fee. Or if you're attending a sporting event or concert, consider tailgating and the switching to water once you are inside the venue. And if bringing your own drinks is out of the question, stick to places that offer specials like two for one or half off drinks.
  5. Bring the movies home. These days, going out to see a movie is quite pricey. From $12 tickets to sky high concession prices, it can run a couple as much as $50 to watch a film on the big screen. You're much better off skipping the theater and watching from the comforts of home. Sure, you might have to wait until fall to see this summer's blockbuster, but sticking to a budget is all about minor sacrifices. Many libraries even lend out movies for free, so you don't even need to pay a monthly DVD rental fee to catch a flick.