The Frugal Side of Fun: 8 Affordable Ways to Have Fun on a Tight Entertainment Budget

Finding ways to budget money while living life to its fullest can be a challenge. Most of our out-and-about activities involve some sort of entry fee, meaning it’s hard to loosen up without loosening your purse strings. 

Everyone has different ways to unwind and have fun. Whether you’re trying to entertain a couple of tykes or you’re planning an adult weekend with friends, here are eight affordable ways to have fun after you punch out. 

1. Scavenge for online coupons

You could seek cheap thrills for your weekend kicks, but another solution is to make your favorite activities more affordable with discounts and coupons. Daily and weekly deals can slash prices on typically pricey activities like movies, putt-putt golf, and go-carts. 

Websites like Offers Club have many discounts surrounding entertainment-related expenses. This solution to spending sprees is perfect for those looking to book a weekend of fun at a lower rate. 

2. Find local events

If you live in an urban area, events and local concerts are going on all the time. Find these events by looking up your location and the local music and festivals. Even a weekend farmer’s market can get you and your loved ones out and enjoying company. 

Not only does staying in town mean you don’t have to travel far, but you’re supporting your local community and getting to know the culture of where you live. 

3. Make at home fun

No doubt you’ve become more comfortable at home since COVID-19, so finding at-home entertainment might come quickly now. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, a night in can mean inviting friends over, hosting themed meal parties, splitting wine, or watching Netflix. When you make something simple into a group event, it makes it more special. 

Meeting with a group of friends and learning to play tabletop games, do puzzles, or watch an old movie can be more fun than a pricey night out on the town. Learn to cook meals together or heat some cheap side dishes and watch your favorite sitcom together.

4. Rent and borrow movies

Movie theaters love to charge wildly high prices for food and tickets. There are still cheap ways of renting movies, or even buying cheap DVDs at the store on sale, to help cut down on your motion picture budget

Ask your film aficionado friend if you can borrow some of their movies and prep the popcorn, drinks, candy, and comfy couch at home. You’ll save yourself money and can still enjoy the time with family, friends, or your partner.

5. Visit no-fee parks and museums

Parks have always been a free and fantastic way for parents to let their kids run around and have fun. If you don’t have kids, parks feature no admission price and offer a way to move your body and enjoy the fresh air. Bring a friend or two along for a picnic lunch and a light weekend walk. 

Museums also often have deals for low entry prices or none at all, so check out a nearby museum for an afternoon. Exploring a new exhibit is always food for thought and discussion among friends and children.

6. College performances 

Local colleges (especially community colleges) offer many reduced-price services. From nail and hair services to arts performances, you can check out the colleges’ websites in your area to see if they have any festivals, plays, or concerts happening on their campus. 

These events support the students and don’t take much money out of your wallet. College events and performances are usually very cheap or free and support a great cause.

7. Split the cost with a group

If you love going out with friends, consider bringing them into your budgeting plans and splitting what costs you can. Events and trips can often have group discounts, and if you all find the same deals and coupons, you can all save money together. 

Sometimes the big and glamorous meals and events make great pictures but stressful memories once you check your account the next day. Agreeing to share costs and be mindful with others will make the fun authentic and less stressful.

8. Weekly membership deals

Joining a business’s rewards program can send a flood of emails to your inbox, but it can also give you access to genuinely good discounts. Theaters have apps and programs that offer free or discounted movies. Restaurants and stores might have dinner or holiday specials.

By signing up as a member of some of your favorite entertainment sources, you’ll be aware of the best times to visit and enjoy without going over your budget. 

Final thoughts

Budgeting is a struggle, but cutting costs can be done. With a bit of creativity and a phone call to your friends, you can cut loose without cutting your credit score.