No matter how tight your budget is, you still have to make room for fun or life would be miserable. Of course, you shouldn’t put yourself in debt or bust your budget in the process if you want to meet your financial goals. We’ve always been frugal when it comes to our entertainment expenses, but here’s some of the things we’ve been doing lately to minimize entertainment spending while still having fun on the weekends.
Utilize our cash back rewards from our Discover card
We charge everything we can to our Discover so we can earn rewards to get free gift cards. There’s a ton of different stores available, but we primarily stick to restaurant gift cards so we can go out to eat without guilt.
Buy discounted certificates
Restaurant.com is a decent option to obtain discounted restaurant certificates. We bought a few $10 certificates recently when they were only $2 and made sure the minimum purchase amounts weren’t above what we’d normally spend. Keep those minimums in mind before placing your order!
Groupon is a fantastic source for discounted restaurant certificates as well as things to do. Even better, we can cash in our Discover cash back for Groupon bucks so we never pay out of pocket.
Take advantage of previously purchased memberships, events, and gift cards
Last year we purchased memberships to Cosley Zoo and Morton Arboretum which we plan to visit as often as possible this year in order to get our money’s worth. We’ll also pack a lunch so we’re not tempted to stop somewhere.
In December we bought gift cards to Lou Malnati’s, Noodles & Company, and Red Robin when they were running promotions so we’ll be using those cards to dine out and not have to pay out of pocket. In addition, I went through our gift card stash and found one for Buona Beef as well as a gift certificate for Bahama Breeze. I think it’s safe to say we have plenty of options for dining out without opening our wallets.
Hosting game nights
We have an extensive board game collection and love having people over to play. This one isn’t always the cheapest since we like to make sure our guests have plenty of snacks and drinks, but it’s still cheaper than going out to dinner and/or an event.
Free admission places & events
There are several forest preserves in our area we plan to visit, plus there’s free upcoming events in the area we plan to attend (I posted a list here).
We also have access to free museum passes (as well as Brookfield Zoo) via our local library’s Museum Adventure Pass.
Before Joe was laid off we purchased tickets to see my favorite band in the whole world, The Cure, in concert in June so that’s a guaranteed fun night out that has already been paid for.
With all the above options we definitely won’t be bored even if we can’t afford more expensive outings.