Dinner and a Movie – That Doesn’t Cost a Fortune

We all need a little relaxation and enjoyment with our loved one or friends every now and then. Just because you are on budget, by choice or by necessity, doesn’t mean you can’t relax and enjoy life. One of the most common ways to relax and enjoy is dinner and a movie, but that can cost a small fortune. Here are some ideas to keep it enjoyable and in your budget.

Enjoy a nice dinner with a nice price:

1. Cook it at home. I know this may not sound like relaxation and enjoyment, but it really can be. Before my husband and I were married, one of our most memorable dates was an evening we cooked at home. We went to the grocery store and picked foods that were delicious, but relatively easy to make. We made shrimp cocktail, steak, baked potatoes, and salad. We picked up rolls and cheesecake from the store’s bakery. It was fun to cook together. We lit some candles and put on some soft jazz. It was a wonderful meal that cost us less than half what we would have spent in a restaurant. Of course, we did have to do the dishes.

2. Don’t eat dinner, or eat it early. If your schedule accommodates go out for breakfast, or lunch. These meals are much cheaper. If going for dinner, sometimes you can find early bird deals by going before the dinner rush.

3. Go midweek. Many restaurants offer specials during the week that you will not find on the weekends.

4. Look for coupons. Look in the newspaper. If you live in the US coupons can be found in Entertainment Books or at Restaurant.com.

5. Become a mystery shopper and get paid for going out to eat. Really! We have just started this, but so far so good. A great source of information about this topic can be found at Mystery Shopping – Mom Advice.

And a movie for less:

1. Rent one from the library. These will be free or nearly so. You may not be able to get the latest titles, but there are plenty of others to choose from. Take home a few and decide once you are there. Be daring and pick some off the wall titles. If you don’t like it, your not out anything. Many libraries will also allow you to view their collection and even reserve your title online.

2. Rent one. If you can’t find what you want at the library, renting is a lot cheaper than going to the theater. Watch for coupons and specials at your favorite rental place.

3. Go to the dollar theater. Many places have theaters that show current movies for a fraction of the cost. They will not have the newest movies, but often have titles that are still in the full price theaters. Check your area for these great deals.

4. Go early. Some movies are just better seen in the theater. (Those with a lot of special effects, in my opinion, are just not as good at home.) If you simply can not wait for a movie to hit the less expensive theaters, go early in the day. Going to the matinée showings can save you a significant amount.

5. Skip the movie. There are so many other things to do; many of them free. Take a walk in the park. Enjoy the starlit sky. Take in a museum exhibit. Take a bike ride. Just sit and talk to each other. Play a board game or cards.

Living within a budget doesn’t mean the end to all fun and enjoyment. Think creatively. Look for new ideas and ways to enjoy the things you love for less money. I think you’ll find easier to enjoy your relaxation and entertainment when it isn’t costing you a fortune.