Scott Hendersen is an online contributor who shares tips for saving money, managing personal finances, and shopping smart online. Additionally, he covers technology and lifestyle topics based on his own experiences experimenting with gadgets and traveling. He lives in Atlanta with his young son.
As the season changes to summer, you may find yourself playing financial catch-up due to spring splurges. Maybe you overdid it on Easter, or your killer backyard barbecue killed your bank account. Regardless of missteps this spring, there's time to save on entertainment expenses this summer. Read on to learn how.
1. Use Old School Entertainment Options
A night out isn't cheap. Whether you're hitting the clubs, heading to the movie theater, or jamming out at a concert, all the expenses add up. Between tickets, food, drinks, and the cost of babysitting (if you have kids), it's easy to lay out well over $50 for an evening of entertainment. But there's no need to fork out $10 (or more) per movie ticket, simply choose old school entertainment options.
Break out some classic board games, like Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit, and make a night of it. Invite friends over and turn your game night into a social event. Reminisce about old times and play games you enjoyed in the past. Chances are you'll have more fun hanging out with friends than staring at a movie screen, anyway.
2. Make Dinner Events Potluck
Make your next cookout a potluck to cut down on expenses. Create a theme and send out evites, letting your guests know you'll provide the main course. Ask them to RSVP with a dish they'd like to share and keep a running total of who's bringing what. You can also stock up on food storage items so you can easily deal with all of the leftovers. Bank some extra savings on main course prep by picking up a paper and cutting out coupons. If you save enough, you might even decide to do this all the time! Besides, most guests like to contribute, so you might as well harness that desire and put it to good use.
3. Skip the Vacation and Stay Home
If planning an out-of-town vacation is stressing you out, why not stay home? Act like a tourist in your own city—check into a nice hotel (or splurge on a maid service at your house for a few days), visit the local tourist traps, and enjoy a few nice meals out. Chances are there are lots of low-cost entertainment activities right in your own city. Do a quick Internet search for events hosted at parks, pools, museums, zoos, and movie theaters. Even if you end up laying out more than you would in a typical week, you're still going to come out ahead when you compare your expenses to those of a "real" vacation. Another idea is to invest in outdoor sporting equipment that you can enjoy with the whole family.
Saving money is good, but only if you put it to good use. After living frugally for a while, put your savings toward credit card debt, your emergency fund, or opening an IRA account. A hundred bucks here or there can really add up in the long run, so don't let small savings go to waste.
What are you doing to save on summer entertainment expenses?