Planning a Cheap Night Out
By Yolander Prinzel
Apparently, I don’t get out much. This weekend, Hubby and I decided to go out with another couple for dinner and a movie. 4 hours and $70 later I was in the car on the way home with a stunned expression on my face trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
You know, I love a night out just as much as the next girl but to spend the equivalent of a week’s worth of groceries on just one night is, well, not very fiscally responsible. Of course, there are things that I could have done to make the night cheaper if I hadn’t been so short-sighted and, frankly, lazy.
Want to know what I will do differently next time I’m asked to enter the world of social beings? Here are a few ideas:
Make Dinner Cheaper
1. Eat before you leave home. If Hubby and I had eaten before meeting the other couple for dinner then we would not have needed to order so much food at the restaurant. This would have saved us money in both food costs and tip.
2. Don’t drink expensive drinks or alcohol at the restaurant. I gave in and ordered some kind of specialty tea with dinner. It was bottled, did not have refills and retailed somewhere around $3. This is excessive and unnecessary. Water with lemon would have been both satisfying and free.
3. Go out for lunch instead of dinner. Since we had plans to go out on Saturday there is no reason why we could not have met for lunch instead of dinner. Lunch options are often much cheaper at restaurants and afternoon matinees are also less expensive.
1. Go to a cheaper theater. Believe it or not, there are still dollar movie theaters in operation. We opted for the opening weekend of ‘Alice’ in 3-D, which was over $8 per person. If we had watched something else and gone to the dollar theater, we would have saved a worthwhile amount of money.
2. Rent a movie. There is no reason we could not have just gone back to one of our homes and watched a rented movie or a streaming movie from Netflix. Doing so wouldn’t have just saved us money on the movie tickets but also on the popcorn, soda and Raisinets.
3. Take a walk instead of a movie. ‘Alice’ in 3-D was impressive, but you know what else is impressive and available in 3 dimensions? The entire world. We could have skipped the expensive movie, burned some dinner calories and avoided movie theater popcorn if we had just taken a walk after dinner instead of going to the movie.
4. Don’t eat at the movies. Okay, I don’t even know why I’m putting this on the list because I think skipping movie theater popcorn is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment; the smell of that salty, buttery popcorn wafting through the theater—and you, sitting on your hands to avoid stealing your neighbor’s. Unfortunately, we would have saved about $15 if we had skipped the popcorn, soda and candy which comes pretty close to being worth suffering through a movie without snacks.
Photo credit: Dustin Diaz
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