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Friday, March 5, 2010

7 Ideas for Cost-Effective Fun

Some of the worst spending decisions are made when people get bored. In the spirt of helping you save some money and your sanity, we've put together this list of cost-effective fun.

Low-key Activities

Grab some takeout - check which restaurants in your community offer takeout discounts or specials during the week. Make a theme night of it by serving a special drink and dessert to accompany the meal. Push the envelope by renting a themed movie to watch while eating your meal.

Take the day off - take a day off work and grab some 1/2 price movie tickets to an afternoon matinee or any other cultural activity you enjoy. Often the cost of afternoon admission is much less than nights or weekends.

Check out the local library - you'll find excellent videos you can borrow for free and many libraries allow you to sign out magazines. Let's face it, magazines are expensive and once you've read them they are headed for the recycling bin anyhow.

Take a drive - arrange to drive somewhere local that has a landmark or park you've always wanted to visit - we like to go for an hour to an hour and a half drive. Consider packing a picnic. If you aren't much into landmarks, search for the best cup of coffee around your planned destination.

Deluxe Ideas

Treat yourself at the grocery store - treat yourself to lobsters, crab legs, parisian potatoes and champagne. We like to do this once every few months. The cost is roughly half what you might pay in a restaurant.

Think about going to a Hammam style spa - this may seem indulgent but luxury can still be part of a household budget every now and then. Select a facility that offers steam rooms, hot tubs, cold dips and saunas. Often these types of facilities have a reasonable flat fee and allow you to stay all day if you like. Call ahead for prices and try to budget for this well in advance.

Book a weekend away - check out services like homeaway.com or vrbo.com, they offer a great selection of rental homes. Consider renting a home that will accommodate extra people so that you can invite your friends along - enjoy their company and split the cost too!

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