Life in Mascara: HOW YOU CAN STILL HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK

Thursday, April 21, 2016

HOW YOU CAN STILL HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK


Years ago when husband and I started to date, I was instantly drawn to his sense of adventure. There wasn't anything that I brought up that he wasn't willing to go and try out. We went horse back riding, tried a bunch of new restaurants, and even went to the Renaissance Fair. We had a blast and I knew that he wasn't doing it just to please me, but rather because he wanted us to have a good time and genuinely thought we would. We had a lot of mutual friends going into this relationship and it was one of these friends that made a comment to me about how much we went out and how we could afford it. It didn't rub me the wrong way since both of us made really good money at the time and I didn't depend on him financially. We were dating. That is what you do. You go out. This same friend said that her and her husband didn't do anything like that because they felt it was wasting money. I saw it as investing in experiences.

The thing is I am a saver and I am a shopper. I love to splurge on things that make me happy and I like to save and take advantage of a deal. But with husband, we enjoy going out and we enjoy trying new things. Why not? I feel like this provides us with new experiences, opens us up mentally, and can always provide for a new story as in "Hey remember that time we went horseback riding and you DIDN'T tell me you were allergic to horses?". True story, that happened. Early on we designated Thursdays as our date night and four years into our relationship, it still holds strong. This doesn't mean, however, that we break the bank each week or try something new each time. There is always something so comforting about settling into the booth of your favorite restaurant that you have been to countless of times. Still we go out and I promise you can afford to as well.

Happy Hours- Whether you are a drinker or not, that is besides the point. Happy hours often come with a special menu where normally appetizers are half off or you can get a good deal on a meal. Husband and I regularly check out happy hour menus to different restaurants, especially ones that we have been wanting to try. That way we order a few appetizers, split them, and then decide whether it is worth going back for lunch or dinner. The cost isn't nearly as high as a regular sit down meal.

Entertainment Book- These books are normally sold as a fundraiser in schools but you can also purchase them off the website. If you wait a few months, they are actually cheaper than at the beginning of the year. What these books are is an overload of deals to local restaurants (they are sold by city), movie theaters, entertainment centers, bowling, among a bunch of other things. They either offer a great discount or have some kind of BOGO. Either way this is a great way to save on outings and to get you to try new places.

Groupon- This is quite possibly my not so secret weapon. Groupon features a revolving door of adventures and deals on restaurants. Here you are able to purchase a specific amount at a restaurant for less than what the actual voucher is worth. For example, you may purchase a deal for $20 at your local sushi place but in actuality, only pay $12. Every time that we want to try a new place I look here to see if there is a Groupon available. This is where I do the most digging when the weather starts to change as well. There is a paddle boarding deal that I have been wanting for oh so long. I think it is finally warm enough to try! Be sure to constantly look into it as deals change daily. 

Local City Events- There are many events that a city puts on for its people. These can range from carnivals, to food fairs, to art shows. Best thing of all, most are free admission and kid friendly. We constantly go to these with and without kids and have a blast. Check out your city website for more information.

Alternative Times- This will depend heavily on the flexibility of your schedule. A lot of places offer free admission or discounted prices depending on time of day or actual day of the week. For example, Thursday nights are free admission to one of the museums here in town while any other day you would pay full price. When a new exhibit hits that I want to see, I wait for a Thursday night when we are able to go for free and then either opt for dinner or drinks afterwards. Another is the movie theater. Matinees are so much less expensive than regular time showings. We also have a discount theater where we live and matinees there are a dollar while regular showings vary from $1.50 on Wednesday to $3.00 on weekends. Either way it is a deal if you are willing to wait a bit to see a movie.

Discounts- Military, Teacher, and Student discounts are some of the most common ones out there. But you can also call ahead to anywhere that you are going and ask what kind of discounts are offered. For example, I have received a discount at a couple of places simply because of the school district I work for. That being said, when I worked retail our company offered us a discount to several in town places as well. Check with your HR to see if your company offers anything like that. 

Rewards Programs- These are great to have if they are free. I don't feel like I should pay to become a part of some kind of loyalty program so in turn I can be rewarded for using their brand. The ones I use the most are associated with movie theaters. We go to the movies a lot and earn points for concession stand purchases as well as ticket purchases. In turn we redeem these points for drinks, snacks, and even tickets. It's a win win for me!

Coupons- Plain old cutting coupons is still one of the easiest ways to go. They generally arrive in the mail at my house and I store it away in my purse. That way when we are out and about and we decide we are hungry I can look in my purse and see what deal I have. Simple and efficient. 

Hosting- One of my favorite ways to get together with friends is to offer to host dinner at our house. Whether it is a married couple or a few groups of friends I make the main plate and they most often than not bring a side and/or a dessert. You don't have to dress up if you don't want to and you can lounge around in your comfy sofa. Plus you get to try other peoples cooking and swap recipes. Don't feel like you have to impress with an amazing dish. Most of the time I make some kind of pasta and everyone is full and content. 

Now get yourself ready for night out on the town and bask knowing that you got a deal doing so!




12 comments:

  1. I love happy hours!! Now that it is getting warmer the husband and I are going to try to make it to a few more happy hours!! And our group of friends do a family dinner at someones house every Sunday! We love it!

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    1. That is such a great idea! I bet you guys look forward to it every week.

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  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing. It's true, you don't need to break the bank to have a good time!

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  3. Great ideas in this article! There are so many ways to save money - you just have to be creative! I love Groupons by the way, as there's almost everything on there now.

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  4. I love this list! My hubs and I started going to earlier movie times to save a few dollars, but it really adds up. Now with 2 little ones, we also look for those "kids eat free" nights at the kid-friendly spots.
    -Linh

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    1. We have 2 littles as well and you are right it can get pretty pricey so we normally take them to the dollar theater.

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  5. Great ideas for keeping things cheap! I too love to go out on adventures and have a social life as much as possible, but I'm always thinking about my budget as well. I love Groupon! I also do a lot of outdoorsy type stuff, like hiking, which is always fun but usually free as well. :)

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    1. Hiking is on my list of things to do this Fall! There is a wonderful place close by that I am dying to check out. It is already crazy hot in Texas which is why I need to wait.

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  6. What a great post. It's funny because my boyfriend & I always say we don't need to spend money when we go out but we ALWAYS seem to spend quite a bit of money. This is great! xx adaatude.com

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    1. Yes it can be difficult to get carried away so I also like to take out cash or set a limit as to how much I will spend while I am on my date. That way it is on my mind when I am debating dessert lol!

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