1. Eat out at restaurants for lunch instead of dinner. The menus are often the same, or at least very similar to evening meals, but the prices are often much cheaper.
3. Clip restaurant coupons out of the paper and keep them in a binder for future use. Also make a note of any specials like "friends eat free" or "dads eat free " nights at your favorite restaurants. If you have children, look for "kids eat free nights". Many restaurants will have specials to attract business on otherwise slow nights, such as Mondays and Tuesdays. Be sure to check your bill to make sure the discount was included. One of our local restaurants advertises "kids eat free" on a certain week night, but they only give you the discount for kid's meals if you specifically ask for it.
4. Sign up for email lists that any of your favorite restaurants may offer. Restaurants often send out discount coupons this way. Also make note of early bird specials. If you are old enough, check to see if your favorite restaurant offers special menus for seniors.
5. If you feel like getting out of the house but can't afford a full meal out, eat dinner at home and just go out for dessert and coffee.
The Great Outdoors, Parks and Museums
6. Pack a lunch with food from home and go on a picnic.
7. Go on a hike, take a walk in the park, or go to the beach. Some of the nicest things to do in life are totally free.
8. See if your local zoos, museums, entertainment parks and water parks have annual passes. Often the annual passes may not cost more than the price of a couple of visits.
9. Check the web sites for your local museums to see if they have any discount or free days.
Theater and Movies
10. For movies, see if your local theaters offer discount prices for matinees. Many theaters have lower prices for movies before 2:00 p.m.
11. Check to see if your city has a local half price ticket booth for plays and concerts. Many theaters will offer as much as half off of the normal ticket prices for performances that have not sold out yet by day of the show.
Books, Magazines, CDs and DVDs
12. Cancel your printed magazine subscriptions. Read online news sites and ezines for free. You'll also simplify your life and save on magazine clutter.
13. Borrow books, CDs and videos from the library.
14. For good prices on books, go to library book sale fundraisers. Also check for books at used book stores, garage sales and thrift shops.
15. To save money on music, instead of buying whole albums, use a service like Itunes or Napster and only download and pay for the songs you really enjoy. You'll also save time and gas over going to a brick and mortar store to buy CDs.
By S. L. Simmons, editor at Always Frugal. Visit her site for additional tips on saving money on entertainment and dining out.
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