Entertainment is a must if you want to stay sane. However, we don’t want you to break the bank on your entertainment costs. Listed below are 14 tips to help you have fun, no matter what your budget.
- Tip 1: Two words: Market Research: Check out newspapers to see if there is any market research you can undertake. You will get to try free products and will – generally – have a great time.
- Tip 2: Tip only when you want too: Tip wisely and when deserved. Remember; if a service charge is applied then don’t feel obligated to tip. If you like the person and they give you good service then tip. Vice versa, they don’t treat you well, then no tip!
- Tip 3: Be wary of splitting bills: In most cases you will end up spending more than what you would have if you paid yourself. Especially true when alcohol is included! Avoid it if you can. Don’t be the poor bugger who scrimped on a salad to find you’re subsidising the guys that had 3 steaks and a keg. To save arguments establish the method of payment at the beginning of the meal.
- Tip 4: Say no if you can’t afford it: If you can’t afford to go to an expensive restaurant just say no. Chances are a few of your other friends going don’t want to pay for an expensive meal either. Better to save money than go and feel guilty. Note, if it is a wedding anniversary or the like then pay the extra. There are certain times when you should splurge.
- Tip 5: Cocktails blow the budget: Cocktails in most restaurants are hugely over priced (often 250 percent more than making one at home). If you are drinking when going out stick to beer or house wines.
- Tip 6: Two words “senior citizen”: You have worked hard all of your life, enjoy the 10 percent discount that many restaurants offer.
- Tip 7: One word “student”: You are society’s future! Many restaurants in university towns offer a five to 10 percent discount to reward you for your studies.
- Tip 8: Use a credit card if it offers cash back: Some credit cards offer cash back at restaurants. If it makes sense then use it. However, make sure you pay it off by the end of the month; otherwise you could end up paying a lot more for your meal.
- Tip 9: Use cash as a bargaining tool: Often you can negotiate a slightly cheaper price if you pay cash. In our opinion it is always worth asking.
- Tip 10: Discounts based on your associations: Theme parks and restaurants often give certain clubs (eg Lions Club) a discount. If you are a member of an association it’s always worth asking if you can get a discount.
- Tip 11: Limit the lotto tickets: The odds of winning the lottery are incredibly low (winning the mega millions is a 1 in 135,145,920 chance, normal lotteries are around 1 in 3 million. To put this into perspective your chance of being struck by lighting is 1 in 244,000!). However, as it is a form of entertainment, limit yourself to only a few dollars a week. Alternatively save up the money for an annual visit to a casino or a race day. The odds are better, and you will have more fun. It is as they say an ‘idiot tax’.
- Tip 12: Don’t underestimate your Christmas costs: Many people just think about presents, but the total cost is a lot higher. Think of all of your wrapping paper, cards, food and drink and travel costs…it definitely all adds up. The idea of this tip is to plan ahead and not put a lot of “unexpected items” on credit.
- Tip 13: Buy used sporting equipment: If you are participating in a few sports then consider second hand equipment. It will save you a packet compared to buying the items new.
- Tip 14: Check local newspapers for free activities: Local newspapers are great ways to find free or very cheap activities. Search every week to see if there is an event or activity that looks enjoyable.
So there you have, 14 ways to save money on your entertainment costs, no matter what your budget.