6 Ways to Have Fun on a Tight Budget

Why sacrifice your social life because you can’t afford much? There are many ways to enjoy each day while living paycheck to paycheck. Don’t let financial struggles keep you from enjoying life every single day. Here are a few ways to keep a fun lifestyle while working with a smaller budget.

  1. Daily Deal Websites: Some of my favorite places to find deals on food and entertainment are daily deal sites, such as Groupon and LivingSocial. You are given a limited amount of time to buy each deal, which may be an excellent discount (as much as 50% off). However, be sure to check the expiration dates. Many deals are good for several months, but others can be very short.
  2. Event Websites: If there is an upcoming festival or event that you want to attend, look for deals on the event’s website. For instance, I was admitted for free to Summerfest, a music festival in Milwaukee, by attending on Children’s Day, which offered free admission for all (regardless of whether you have kids). Local TV news and newspapers may also have information regarding discounts on upcoming events. Also, keep an eye out for deals while at the event. For example, the local state fair offers a bargain book with coupons for discounts on food from certain vendors.
  3. Restaurants with “Kids Eat Free” Deal: Many family restaurants let kids eat for free or at a reduced price on certain days of the week. Days when business is generally lighter, usually Sundays through Tuesdays, are popular days for this promotion. However, deals on a Friday or Saturday are not unheard of. For instance, a family restaurant in my area offers kids’ meals for $3 with the purchase of an adult meal, seven days a week.
  4. Vendors and Restaurants That Offer Birthday Deals: If you can provide proof, some restaurants offer free dinners or desserts on your birthday, or even at any point during the entire week or month of your birth. You can find birthday deals in your area by going to FreeBirthdayMeals.org and then clicking on your city and state.
  5. Schools: Schools can also offer steep discounts on tickets for shows at local performing arts centers. A school in my area once offered $20 tickets to a Broadway show, which was merely one-third of the regular price. Because the school had bought such a large amount of tickets, the price was greatly reduced, and savings were passed along to students and their parents. You can also have fun with your kids by going along on school trips as a chaperone. For a fraction of the regular cost, you can accompany your child to a museum, a baseball game, an aquarium, or many other venues. Of course, you are responsible for your child and an accompanying group, but it can still be an enjoyable outing for all.
  6. University Performing Arts Centers: If you live in or near a college town, there are likely to be university productions, concerts, and recitals that you can attend for a fraction of the cost of a Broadway show or professional performance. Also, local theater and choral groups put on shows throughout the year, especially around the holidays. Check your local paper for upcoming events.

So make sure to look for some of these offers and deals to avoid having to miss out on the fun because of a smaller budget. We all deserve the time to have fun with friends, and that doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! Stay Wise! (References: MoneyCrashers.com, Susan Borowski)