Are you looking for ways to save money on entertainment costs? This is a post in the series about How to Start Saving Money.
On the surface, entertainment expenses can seem completely discretionary. But it is part of human nature to want to enjoy life. I mean “the pursuit of happiness” is in the Declaration of Independence as an unalienable right!
This month, I will show you that if you are strategic, use cash, and plan ahead, you can have big fun with a small budget.
This is the sixth post in the series where I am writing about my experience with The $1,000 Challenge by Brian J. O’Connor.
My goal is to save $1,000 each month on my expenses: $100 savings in each of 10 spending categories.
This month’s expense category is entertainment expenses:
- dining out
- gym memberships
- entertainment-related babysitting, and
- date night
Ways to Save Money on Movies
Ways to Save Money on Concerts
We rarely go to any concerts. If we do, we save up or cut out something else that month to free up extra cash. Sometimes you can purchase Groupon or Living Social deals for Ticketmaster or other ticket sites.
Ways to Save Money on Dining Out
Does this sound like you? “You throw away your entertainment money by grabbing ready-made grub just because you’re irritable and hungry and you don’t know what to cook.”
Ways to Save Money on Gym Membership
When I first read this book, we didn’t have a gym membership anymore. We used to have a family one with the YMCA, but we cut it out several years ago when our income was temporarily decreased. Then, we never reinstated it.
Now, we have a family membership at our local rec club. This particularly comes in handy since my son LOVES the basketball gym and getting to hang out with the guys. My daughter has never met a stranger and always finds someone to play with at the indoor pool.
Two hours of free childcare is included every day, so this is a great way to get some couples’ time, take a Zumba class (like I do!), or find some me time. Another benefit to belonging to a family recreation center or the YMCA is that they often offer “parents night out” where school-aged kids are occupied while mom and dad have date night.
Ways to Save Money on Entertainment-related Babysitting
Another way we save on entertainment is to match up date night with a night when the kids are occupied (i.e. son is at football practice for two hours or daughter spends the night with grandma). This completely eliminates the need for babysitters.
My last tip on belonging to a family recreation center or the YMCA will help you save on babysitting costs, too.
Ways to Save Money on Date Night
Even if you are on a tight budget, don’t cut out date nights completely. They are an important part of keeping your identity as a couple and maintain a level of intimacy.
You can save money on date night by having a lunch date instead, as lunch is typically less expensive than dinner.
If you want to stick to dinner, look for coupons and special offers. Even if you don’t have a budget at all, there are many other date night ideas without spending a dime.
Other Ways to Save Money on Entertainment
Switch discretionary spending to cash. This gives you a hard limit, unlike the debit card, which can easily allow you to spend a few dollars more.
This Month’s Savings
By making the decision to trim $25/week from “the entertainment budget,” we are saving $100/month. That yields a $1200 a year!
$1,000 Challenge Recap
While reviewing my monthly transportation expenses in the first month, I was able to make a few small changes that yielded a savings of over $50 each month.
In the second month’s review of my utility expenses, I was able to trim nearly $80 each month by simply changing the way I pay bills.
The third month brought in a savings of $61. The author’s review of work expenses yielded a savings of $90.
Adding personal expenses was $47 and entertainment expenses was $100.
That was a grand total saved of $428 each month. That is $5,136 per year!
Come back next week to see if I was able to trim $100 from my monthly life insurance spending.
To read this series from the beginning start here: