For most working professionals we work with, the largest expense category is generally entertainment and dining. Millennials tend to spend more money on experiences rather than on things.
According to Forbes, this generation “tends to define themselves by their experiences more so than other qualities or factors.” This category includes monthly viewer subscriptions to online streaming services, dining out, concerts, sports events, and other leisure activities.
Here are 4 ways to reduce your dining and entertainment costs without undergoing major lifestyle changes:
(1) Borrow movies and music for free from your local library.
Not only can you borrow the latest bestsellers, you can borrow movies, CDs, and audiobooks at your local library for FREE. You can even request items from other libraries if your local branch doesn’t have what you’re looking for.
(2) Cut your cable bill and narrow down your monthly entertainment subscriptions.
Some monthly entertainment subscriptions, such as Hulu and Netflix, offer free trials for new customers to test their entertainment packages. Ask yourself what programs you watch the most, and then determine which of the subscriptions you use the most. Only keep one or two subscriptions that don’t overlap. Just remember to cancel the subscriptions you don’t keep after the free trial ends! Also, some subscription services such as Hulu and Spotify offer joint deals where you pay a lower fee to get both services instead of paying “a-la-carte” for each service.
(3) Use apps to find dining discounts.
Use apps such as Yelp, Groupon, and Restaurants.com. This takes a little bit of planning, but the savings add up and you can feel less stressed about dining out. Don’t feel ashamed of using coupons!
(4) Be more selective about dining out for your lunch break at work.
If you buy lunch Monday through Friday and spend $10 each time, that’s $50 a week for lunch. Adding it up, that’s $2,500 a year assuming you work 50 weeks annually — almost the national average for families that you’re spending on just lunch alone.
If you want to keep more of that money in your pocket, consider bringing lunch one day a week to start. Continue increasing the frequency of bringing lunch to work until you get to a balanced number of days when you treat yourself to dining out for lunch versus bringing your own.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Paying for dining and entertainment can be financially responsible and personally rewarding, but remember that personal enjoyment can be free as well. If you know how to preserve your resources, you can stretch your ability to dine, wine, and entertain sustainably long term.