Frugal Friday – Going Out

Last Time…On Frugal Friday…

Heh, just going for a more dramatic introduction this time around.  Anyway, last week in my Frugal Friday post, we talked about how to save money when you dine out.  Of course, if we’re going to have a night out on the town, we don’t want to just eat and then go home; we’re going to want to do some things while we’re out and about.

A night on the town doesn't have to be expensive

As always, we also want to save money while we’re at it.  If we save while we’re having a good time, we can put more money to our other goals, or heck, maybe even go out more often!  So, while we’re out and about, here are a few tips to save on popular destinations when you go out for the night:

At The Movies

1. Go At Off Times: As with many things, if you go at the same time that everyone else is attending, you’re going to pay much more.  Friday and Saturday nights are the most popular nights for people to go to the movies, and so are the most expensive.  If you go on other nights, or in the afternoon, you can cut down on the cost of your tickets.  You can also go to discount theaters and decrease your ticket price that way.  Your snacks, though, will still cost you (quite a bit, at most theaters), so you should…

2. If You Buy Popcorn and Soda, Get The Biggest Size You Can: I like popcorn, as Sondra will be glad to tell you.  If you want to snacks to accompany your movie as well, go for the biggest size you can: the amount you pay per ounce will be the lowest that way.  If you have a large party (or a bottomless pit of a future husband, like me), you’ll minimize your overall cost.

3. Buy Outside Candy, and Sneak It In: Alright, this last piece of advice flies in the face of most movie theater rules, but given the cost of the candy at the movie theater, you’ll see more than a few people who recommend doing it anyway.  (With even more people actually doing it.)  Just don’t get caught (and hey, maybe buy some popcorn so you do add some money to the theater’s coffers).

At Amusement Parks

4. Consider Season Passes: If you like amusement parks, and live near enough to one to visit often, a season pass could be just the thing you need to have fun all summer long.  That was a pretty popular option where I grew up, since we were less than half an hour away from a fairly impressive theme park.  Even if your home isn’t that close to a major park, you might still benefit if you are going to be near one for more than a few days; many season passes only cost the equivalent of two or three individual day passes.

5. Look Into Vacation Packages: There are plenty of deals offered by amusement parks that are associated with hotels.  You can end up spending less than booking your hotel and your amusement park visit separately, simply by booking them together.  (Just make sure that you actually save with this method; you don’t want to accidentally pay more.)

6. See If Nearby Parks Will Give You Discounts: Sometimes you can nab savings just based on where you live.  If you live nearby an amusement park, see if you can’t get a discount on your admission tickets as a result.  If that doesn’t work, ask if membership to organizations like AAA and AARP will get you a discount.  As with any time you ask for a discount, the worst that can happen is the park employees will say ‘No’.

Other (Inexpensive) Date Ideas

There are plenty of places you can take that special someone to have a great time and still save quite a bit of money in the process.  Almost anything you and your significant other choose to do together can become a date, and as long as you keep how much you spend under control, it can be frugal, as well.  If you’re a bit lost as to what you could do that would be fun, frugal, and let’s not forget, romantic, try one or more of these ideas:

  • Visiting a Park Together (Bringing a picnic is optional, but definitely romantic)
  • Tour an Art Gallery (Many, particularly ones located at universities, tend to be rather inexpensive, if not free.  Bonus points if you are dating an artist and can view his or her work on display, as I have with some of Sondra’s pieces.)
  • Prepare a Romantic Dinner at Home (Caution, though: if your cooking skills are on par with mine and you can barely boil water without burning down the house, you might want to pass on this one.)
  • Spend a Night In Watching Movies (Particularly good if you have a large collection of unwatched films, or haven’t been using that Netflix subscription as much as you first imagined.)
  • Share Time Together at the Library (A decent idea if you are both into books.  Share your favorites, challenge each other to find classics from your youth, and see what other media (DVDs, magazines, audiobooks) the library has available.)
  • Check Out Other Inexpensive Dating Ideas (There’s lots of ideas for dates out there, most of which can be done fairly inexpensively if you put a little thought into it.)

What are your favorite inexpensive dating ideas?  Do you find that creative, alternative dating ideas are more fun than traditional dates?  What’s your most memorable, inexpensive date?

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