On the wake of a great summer, you’re probably scrolling through your last few bank statements and wondering if all of the activities you have partaken in over the past few months were really worth it. You’re scolding yourself for spending $75.54 plus tip at Hard Rock Café downtown when you went out for dinner with your girls and cringing at the $93.00 tab you racked up at the ahem package store in preparation for a wild night out with your old college friends. Realizing that the holiday season is fast approaching, you’re probably readying yourself to decline multiple engagements because you already did WAY too much this past summer and you’d like your bank account to have at least a little dignity going into 2015.
Before you send those “sorry, I can’t make it this time” texts, here are a few things that can keep you partying well into 2015 while your bank account stays at home.
You don’t have to spend money to have a good time.
No, seriously. It sounds cliché, but if you don’t get anything else through your head, it should be this. Once I realized that it was ok for me to go out to a restaurant with my friends and not order anything to eat or that nothing was wrong with me going to the bowling alley and choosing to watch my friends play instead of actually spending money on bowling myself, I started saving a lot of money that I might have later regretted spending. Remember, going out with your friends is about spending time with your friends, not how much money you spend. Chances are, with a good group of friends, you won’t notice that you’re not quote-unquote participating in the activity at hand.
Use LivingSocial and Groupon.
Ok, everyone knows this already, but just in case you forgot: LivingSocial and Groupon both have a wealth of discounts to choose from. Just make sure to read the fine print!
Check your city’s event website for free events.
Most, if not all, major (and minor) cities have a tourism or events page where you can see what events are going on in your area for free. Museums, film and music festivals, city tours—it’s a great place to find events that are easy on your wallet and you may be exposed to some new stuff.
A lot of venues offer discounted pricing for earlier engagements. No, I’m not talking about getting to the club before 10 PM to avoid the $10 cover charge (although that is a way to save a few bucks). I mean opting to hit the movies for a $5 matinee ticket versus a $15 primetime ticket. The movie is going to be the same regardless of how much you spend on the ticket. A lot of bars and restaurants have happy hour pricing, and there are even some places like The Hookah Hideout in Atlanta that offers discounted prices if you get there before 8 PM and bowling alleys that offer cheaper game prices if you beat the crowd. Next time you and your friends are setting up a day out, call ahead and ask if there are any discounted prices for arriving earlier. Who says you can only turn up between the hours of 9 PM and 2 AM?
If it’s your turn to choose the activity for the next girl date, think of something fun and new to do. Instead of going out to eat, have everyone come over for a potluck. Substitute a sleepover and the first four seasons of The Walking Dead on Netflix for a movie date or have game night at your place instead of going out to the arcade. For most things you may want to do, there’s a cheaper (and possibly more intimate) alternative that you can do at home. Have a vision board party if you’re the one in the group who loves to encourage your friends. Or if you’re the beauty buff of the group, host a mani/pedi party. A little creativity goes a long way here.
Of course there will be times that you may just want to ditch the home-based activities and head out on the town and spend that bread…I mean…paint the town red, but you definitely won’t have to worry about breaking the bank if you try to incorporate some money-saving opportunities here and there.
Happy (not) spending!