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Frugal Living Tip - Affordable Nights On the Town

By: Aaron-- 2009-12-25 2:00 am --

Merry Christmas!

On this holiday, perhaps it's worth reflecting on the difference between being frugal and being a Scrooge.

A frugal person avoids frivolous and wasteful spending. A frugal person loves value.

A Scrooge lacks generosity. A Scrooge despises lighthearted fun.

But a frugal person knows that it is possible to have fun and be kind to others even without spending an arm and a leg.

There's nothing written in stone that says every night out on the town has to involve champagne and caviar. In fact, it's often easier to relax and have fun by using a little imagination and creativity to plan a less costly date or meetup with friends.

For inspiration, just check out Rose Jensen's list of "10 Tips On Enjoying a Night Out for Less" over at the Free From Broke blog. Rose's cost-saving suggestions include sharing entrées at restaurants, exploring the great outdoors, asking friends or family to babysit, and even seeking out online coupons at sites like Restaurant.com.

Get more inspiration from Financial Learn's post "15 Fun Cheap Date Ideas" including coffee dates, trips to the beach, rollerblading or kayaking, even baking a cake!

That's not to say that you should never pick up a special treat for your sweetheart at the bakery, but there's something special about sharing the experience of making a cake, baking it and enjoying it together. Truly a case of having your cake and then eating it too. :)

Need even more ideas for affordable activities? Laura Trahan has several suggestions, but I particularly liked her idea to volunteer together. Whether you help build a house, clean up a park, participate in a fundraiser or deliver meals to homebound seniors, volunteering can be a fun and rewarding activity. Maybe you could take turns with your loved one picking the volunteer activity. You'll learn about some of the causes that matter most to your spouse or partner while having a chance to share some of your own enthusiasms.

Finally, Primer Magazine offers a fun article on 5 Affordable Date Night Ideas That Won't Make You Look Cheap, including attending an opening at an art gallery or buying tickets to show your support for an up-and-coming local band.

If you do decide to stay in, Primer Magazine suggests you can still make the evening social by inviting over some friends and hosting an off-the-wall tasting event. Instead of a snooty wine-tasting, for instance, Primer gives the example of a sodas-of-the-world tasting, but you can adapt the concept to fit your own tastes. How about an ice cream tasting evening? Now that sounds sweet.

What are some of your favorite ways to have fun with friends, spouse, partner or family without spending a mint? Share your suggestions in the Comments section below!