When it comes to saving money, some of the toughest cuts to make are the ones that relieve stress and offer a bit of escape. Whether you find solace in being creative or appreciate the rise in serotonin from a vigorous physical workout or sporting event, leisure and entertainment are important aspects of living a full life; especially when dealing the day-to-day stresses that are so hard to avoid. A higher income would be the solution to many people’s problems, but for most of us,
that’s not a reasonable option. Finding ways to spend less and still enjoy the things that bring us happiness can be a struggle. Here are a few suggestions:
Reading – Perhaps the cheapest leisurely activity, reading, is also easy to cut. Borrow material from your local library or peruse used-book sales held as fundraisers at schools and churches. Subscribe to one of your favorite magazines and exchange past issues with a friend who has ordered a different one. Free online content includes classic books, while many magazines and newspapers offer their content free.
Movie Theaters – There’s nothing like seeing a movie on the big screen. Save up to 50% by taking advantage of matinee features, typically before 6 p.m. Or wait until the film is showing at a discount theater and save even more. If a visit to the theater just doesn’t feel right without munching on some popcorn, share it with a friend.
Game & Movie Rentals – Obviously, renting a movie is much cheaper than going to the theater. If you’re up for a movie at home, give Red Boxa try. Located outside many supermarkets and drug stores, watch the latest movies for $1 per night. Netflix is an online service to consider for low cost, convenient movie and game rentals. Or, watch premium online content at Hulu.com for free.
Social Events – Rather than pay for an expensive night out on the town, invite friends over for a potluck or plan a themed party with everyone contributing something. Have a game night or meet at a park for an afternoon picnic. Social activity ideas are endless; so use your imagination and encourage your friends to do so as well.
Eating Out – Home cooking is not only more nutritious — it’s cheaper. But if you have to get out of the house and don’t want to cook at home, take advantage of local coupon magazines and “Penny Saver” ads. Local eateries often advertise in these circulars and to try and entice new customers.
Vacation – Anticipating a restful and relaxing time away from work and everyday life stresses is important in maintaining a healthy attitude. The key to saving on a get-away is to make a detailed plan, the more specific the better, and book transportation, hotels and events ahead of time. This allows you to see what the costs will be and gives you time to modify your plans to better meet your budget.
These are just a few suggestions for saving on popular leisurely activities. By being flexible and creative, you’re sure to find low-cost alternatives to your favorite hobbies and pastimes.
* Having problems with debt? Consider a reputable debt management program.