A couple weeks ago, Extreme Cheapskates came on TLC (if you haven't seen it, check out this clip! It's ridiculous!), and while I was intrigued at first, I was repulsed by the end. These people were going nuts over saving money to the point where it became an obsession. TOO FAR! Husband and I don't save money for the sake of saving; right now, we're doing it to meet a goal.
Now, I'm no expert at saving money by any stretch of the imagination (I'm 23; I have had hardly ANY financial responsibility beyond rent, utilities, groceries, and gas). During college, though, I wasn't working but somehow found a way to stretch the money I was allotted per month to keep me out of Ramen Noodles (even though I secretly love them...).
Now, even though both Hubby and I have jobs (Praise God!), we're saving to buy a house, so those college penny-stretching techniques are coming back into play somewhat. Here are a couple of ways husband and I try to save money while still doing things we like.
Can't live without something pricey? Try to make it! Don't feel confident enough? Try to find a discount or knock-off (seriously). You'd be surprised to discover how much you can save just by shopping around a little. Just set a price point you're comfortable with and go to town! Case in point: our wedding bands. We figured out the shape/width/color/details we liked and then explored any jewelry store (in person and online) that we came across until we found something that worked for us and was in our pre-determined price point.
|Cheapy-cheap-cheap. But you can't tell by looking :)|
(also, Not sure why my hand is so much bigger than his)
(it was the same with my our wedding attire, too)
Also, I'll never make a purchase online without searching for coupon codes first. I've had great luck with sites like Coupon Mountain, Retail-Me-Not, RedPlum, and DealCatcher, although the best method is to simply google any combination of the words "coupon code", "discount code", "free shipping codes" "coupons" and the store you're shopping from. I was able to save more than 50 bucks on our wedding albums using the magic of Google.
Need a vacation? Hubby and I are blessed to have access to his family cabin a couple hours away from us, so when we need to "escape" we'll often just go there. Just have to pay for food and gas (and Costco is great for both!).
Other times we just will just vacation in our hometown, acting like tourists and visiting places or sites we've never seen. If we need a vacation-vacation (i.e. further from home or somewhere new or whatever), vacation rentals are great. Much cheaper than a hotel, and you get more of a "local's only" type of vacation. I've had luck with Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO), AirBNB, and HomeAway.
Date Night for less Dollas. Sometimes all we need for date night is dinner and drinks at home...
...but other times we want to be fancy. We've got a discount card for our hometown that gives lots of 2-for-1 deals (best $10 we've ever spent, seriously has paid for itself a thousand times over). If your town doesn't have something like that, try the Entertainment Book, it's pretty good too :). We don't use the card for EVERYTHING, but we will rarely just go out to dinner without at least checking if it's on the discount list :)
What about the other stuff? Movies, we'll rent; books we'll borrow (or troll the thrift stores!). We have rediscovered board games too, which are fun with groups as well. Also at Starbucks, ordering a drip or a misto rather than a "designer" drink every single time will leave money for the few times you do want to shell out the five bucks for a macchiato.
We don't always follow them, of course, but even just few times a month really help keep the moolah in the account. Then we can use it for the bigger things we can't just DIY :)
What are your cheapy-cheap-cheap tricks for entertainment?