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Having fun on a budget

Trimming entertainment and leisure-time spending doesn't mean cutting out fun altogether. Here's how to do it.

If you want to dine out while on

If you want to dine out while on a budget, look for happy hours, brunch specials and late-night menu deals.  Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/BrianAJackson


Many people made a New Year’s resolution to save more money this year. How’s that working out? Well, it’s not too late for a course correction.

Truth is, one of the biggest money wasters is overspending on entertainment and leisure time activities. Nobody says you have to live a life that doesn’t include fun. Just be a bit more intentional with your leisure-time spending.

Here’s how:

Make the most of credit card rewards

“Certain cards will even help you save on groceries you’re picking up for your next party. Just make sure to pay off your balance in full before its due date, or else you’ll incur interest fees that negate your savings,” said Sean Messier, credit industry analyst with CreditCardInsider.com.

Planning on a road trip? Try a travel card that provides free rental car insurance. Many premium travel cards offer credits for a free hotel stay.

Create value comparisons

Do your own value comparisons. “Put a price tag on some things you really enjoy and value: A simple date night out with your partner might be $100. Family pizza night might be $55 or taking your elderly aunt to the movies might cost $35. Compared to those things, does that $100 bottle of wine seem like such a bargain?” says Pamela Yellen, author of "The Bank on Yourself Revolution."

Seek out specials

If you want to dine out and have drinks with friends while on a budget, then happy hours, brunch specials and late-night menu deals are your friend. Says Mercedes Forrest, a certified financial educator instructor with Bottomline Finances in Manhattan, “Research restaurants and lounges in your area, and put their specials on your calendar.”

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