Frugality Does Not Have to be Boring!

Frugality Does Not Have to be Boring!

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  • A month ago I read this post on The Simple Dollar: 21 Ways to Reduce your Spending without Making Your Life Miserable. When I first read the reader’s question, my thoughts went in a totally different direction from Trent’s answer. This was partly the inspiration of this blog!

    I believe it is possible to still be active and go out and have fun and drink and party and socialize and have friends and do cool things while still being frugal. Yes, I realize that “frugal” may have a negative connotation to some of us younger folks but there are ways to save money without getting out your coupon organizer!

    1. Going Out Websites
      There are quite a few websites that will list discounts for performances, cheap and free local events, along with drink specials in your city. My faves:

      In addition to the list above, most bar’s websites will list their weekly drink specials. Also, some clubs (namely Pacha) offers one night of free cover and future discounts when you sign up on their mailing list.

    2. Buy Used and Make a Project out of it
      When looking for new furnishings, check Craig’s List or Furniture Trader and keep an open mind. If you like the style of a $10 coffee table but hate the color, buy it and spend a day repainting it (look for paint on Freecycle). It’s a bit of work but is rewarding and can be fun (i love crafts!).
    3. Take Advantage of Local Activities
      If you live near a university, even if you’re not a student, check the school’s Calendar of Events (on their website) and check for cheap events on campus. Most activities are free or super cheap and open to the public.
    4. Sign-Up for Member Rewards
      Sign up for a store and restaurant’s member club. It’s free and they send you coupons and sometimes birthday deals! On my birthday, I received discounts/free items from ColdStone, Sephora, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Benihana, Houlihans and Famous Dave’s.
    5. Stay In!
      Invite friends over instead of going out to a bar. Not only is this cheaper but you can actually hear the person you’re talking to. You don’t have to do this all the time, but it does help break up the monotonous bar scene from time to time.
    6. Get Outside!
      Look up your local parks/trails. If you live near a river or lake, there are usually places where you can rent a canoe/kayak for cheap.
    7. Fight the Fees
      I recommend purchasing tickets directly at the venue if at all possible. This will save you from paying all of those TicketMaster “convenience” fees which can be up to $8/ticket.
    8. Coupons for Theme Parks
      Check the local grocery store or chamber of commerce. Every six flags has buy one get one free admission coupons floating around in various establishments or you can get half off admission with a coke can.
    9. Get An Opinion
      Check review sites, like Yelp before trying out a new restaurant. Why waste your money on terrible food and service?
    10. Plan Ahead
      Try to buy tickets ahead of time if you can. I purchased tickets to the statue of liberty online for $15/ticket. When I picked them up, I saw the full price was $20/ticket. On the other hand, last time I went to a club, we didn’t plan ahead and ended up spending $10/person more than we could have if we had arrived earlier.
    11. Savings/Person
      Always take per person price into consideration when choosing what to do. If we have a group of 5, it’s cheaper to drive and split tolls than everyone buy a train ticket. It’s cheaper to split the $10/car state park fee, than everyone paying $8/person to get onto the beach.
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