Spending less on entertainment had become a way of life. Being a single mom, working with "hungry" football players, homeschooling; and all of that before the economy went crazy. Now I find it's so much fun to see how much money I can save. It's better or as good as if I spent so much more on anything. I have many ways I did this.
So let's start with a night in with pizza. I made my own pizza before there was whole wheat pizza dough already made for you. Now at our local Fresh and Easy, everything you need is right there. It's wholesome, brown flour and so easy (you can get pizza dough in white reg. dough if you prefer). With the dough, I use corn, black beans, peppers (red, yellow and green), organic sauce and my favorite cheese topping. Have pepperoni, sausage or whatever toppings you prefer.
It is so much fun to make it yourself and save the money. When I had a house full of boys, it was so much fun doing an assembly line, or making your own personal pizza by dividing it into smaller ones. We played games or had challenges while making the pizza; all with not one child complaining "I'm hungry" or "when is the pizza ready". When it's done, there is an accomplishment with everyone involved. I do this now and freeze it for a fast, organic meal.
You can rent movies for a fraction of the cost of going to one. I do know that the latest and best movie is always coming out. If you choose to do that you have saved quite a bit by making your own pizza instead of buying dinner first. This should be a couple times a year choice. You can get free movies at the library. Entertainment is having fun; not spending tons of money. I have seen great movies at garage sales for $1.00. Even if you spend $5.00 on a new release one, you still save.
Try the library or swapping movies with another family. Look they have local clubs doing just that (with books also). Better yet invite them over and make a night of it, splitting the cost, of course. Afterwards you can play games on what was your favorite part of the movie, or a game of Pictionary about their favorite scene while others guess what it is. Everyone is laughing, having fun not feeling "guilty" on how much money you spent.
There is Banana Split night. The cost of ice cream toppings that you know what they contain and make them yourself. This is another way to have fun spend time together, and save money.
When you do Movie Night at home, don't forget you make the popcorn. The beverages can be juice or soda. If you do allow candy, the 4 for $1.00 at the 99 cent store beats the cost of a theater.
So if you do go to the theater, make sure the rules are clear before buying snacks. This is where they make their money. If the couple times a year you do go, plan in advance and do a matinee they have specials times where it may be a quarter/half of the other showings.
We have made entertainment not game night, or pizza night but a regular event instead of a special one. Everyone has a park near by. Why not go there after church let the kids play, and have a cook out, enjoy the day?
Being an adult, my priorities have changed. Money is tight so I enjoy everyday. If you make it a special event, the family will love it because you said it's special, or you are celebrating something outside the house.
During football, we "swapped" lunch bags with the others so it was a surprise to what each boy was getting (I had a list to pick from). It was the excitement that's brought the entertainment not the money.
Today as living alone waiting to start the next step, I feel the exact same way. I'll take the excitement every time. Life is a blessing. We can make entertainment out of anything. Using coupons and looking for buy one entree getting next one 1/2 price or free is great fun in today's economy and is appreciated by many.
I don't believe there is a reason to waste money to have fun, or ever pay full price for anything. Now that's entertainment being inventive, planning and looking forward to something out of the ordinary. Have a budget, that way it is even more exciting looking forward to the planned entertainment.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
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