Think sticking to a budget means never shopping or leaving the house? It doesn’t have to. Alison Griffiths of Maxed Out suggests 10 ways you can “get out there” and stay within your budget.
1. Prix-Fixe Dining
Don’t want to give up eating out? Find a restaurant that features a prix-fixe menu – get three courses and a glass of wine for a fraction of ordering a-la-carte.
2. Rush to the Theatre
Can’t afford $100 orchestra seats at the theatre? Head to the box office midday for evening rush seats (un-sold tickets) usually priced around the $20 mark, or find a theatre that offers “pay-what-you-can” performances.
3. Gently Used Clothing
Can’t give up designer duds? You don’t have to. Scour the racks at consignment or second-hand stores and pay less than half of the original ticket price.
4. Art Show Openings
Check your local paper for free art openings. You may even find yourself chatting to the artist over gratis wine and appetizers.
5. Catch a Flick
New movie releases are often prefaced by “free-to-the-first-100” advanced screenings – look for ads in your local entertainment paper. Or, wait for the smoke to clear and catch the flick in its repertory run.
6. Manis & Pedis
Keep your polish fresh and cuticles at bay by visiting beauty schools. Supervised students work out their chops on your tarsals and carpals for next to nothing.
7. Get Cultured
Volunteer your spare time at a museum or gallery and get free access to visiting collections and exhibitions.
8. Music & Movies
Can’t resist buying CDs? Buy them used. Used CD and DVD stores abound or visit your local Blockbuster and hit the used or discounted rack.
9. Books & Magazines
In case you’ve forgotten, the library is free. Curl up with a book, even bring it home, just remember to bring it back as fines can add up.
10. Use Points
Are you a sucker for collecting points but never have enough on one program to redeem? Use a service like Points.com to combine all your reward program points, then exchange for travel or retail gift certificates.