Every month I check my budget and I come to the same conclusion, I spend too much. No I dont save, invest, or have much to show for the money spent after the fact. The truth is that my biggest chunk of spending comes in the form of entertainment. There is nothing wrong with spending money to keep yourself amused, after all you only live once. Regardless, you need to be concerned with how much money is going out the door, and if you have a family then all forms of entertainment start rising exponentially.
I love the movies, going to the theater is a true past time for my wife and I. That being said, for two of us it costs roughly $40 everytime we go. I get a drink, maybe nachos, two tickets, she likes popcorn…you see what I mean? This is where you would normally get advice to rent a movie, or perhaps go to the library to rent it for free, but we don’t need to eat oatmeal 7 days a week to enjoy a guilt free movie. Quite simply, we just need to shop smarter for our tickets. Many large employers offer discounted movie tickets, betcha didn’t know that. Services like Fandango have promotions and and coupons all the time as well. Also, seeing a matinee is much less expensive than going at night, usually half the price.
If your heart is set on dining out, then dine out. I could suggest you shop for the ingredients and cook from scratch, but then you already kinda knew that. Instead, look for coupons! Stop throwing away all of those weekly mailers that you receive at home, often times they contain valuable coupons to restaurants that you are probably already dining at. Purchase the Entertainment book! They have discounts to so many places I’ve lost track over the years. I even get a free movie ticket on my birthday, another solution to the above. I often get carry out from Quizno’s and Subway, and with a 2 for 1 coupon I get a free lunch the next day!
I like going to the bar, and unless your morally opposed to putting back a few beers then there isn’t anything wrong with doing so. But instead of the typical Friday and Saturday night clubs, give the local bar that offers $1 beers a try. Some of the well known chain places offer great deals on burgers, and buckets of beers during the week. You could have a night out watching the game and spend a measly $10.
Like I said, don’t get all crazy and take the joys out of life, just be a little smarter with how you use your disposable income.