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The Best Things in Life are Free

Here on the personal finance blogosphere we tend to have a general disdain for the finer things in life. Things like burning your money heading out to the bar every weekend or heading to the movie theater or buying DVDs (ok I admit this one’s a bit silly, how often do you buy a movie and watch it more than once or twice?). All of these things, we tend to shy away from for the sake of simplicity and the purpose of financial freedom.

It’s important to realize however, that you can still enjoy these things and stick to the road of frugality. While I don’t like to head to the movies all that often, there are certain movies that I think provide a better experience when seen on the big screen. How do I do it? It’s easier than you think!

  1. Ask for gift cards: I tried asking for Sharebuilder gift certificates but they never seemed to take with my family. So instead I ask for more practical gift cards that end up helping my budget move along nicely. Target gift cards, gift cards to the movies, and gift cards to restaurants make me very happy! These things help pad my spending budget each month, and allow the S/O and I some RnR and entertainment without ever breaking the bank (or even making a dent!).
  2. Earn your own!: You can utilize a number of services to get yourself free gift cards, or you can take advantage of coupons to get yourself a free meal. If you are comfortable with using a credit card and can consistently pay your balance on time, there a number of rewards programs that you can earn points, miles, etc. on to get free services/stuff. If you want to earn gift cards by checking your e-mail everyday, you can head over to mypoints. I earn about 3-4 gift cards a year from their service, and I’ve never bought anything! I use to toss mass mailing coupon books that I received in the mail, but I now break them down into 3 separate folders: Entertainment, Living expenses, and Garbage. We’ve gotten a lot of buy one entree get one free offers from places like Ruby Tuesday’s and Bennigan’s this way.
  3. Give Yourself an Allowance: Set aside a certain amount of money each week for entertainment purposes. I save or pay off debt with a substantial amount of my paycheck, but I still set aside 100$ per month just for whatever I feel like spending money on. Giving yourself reasonable limits allows you to enjoy yourself while still saving for the future.


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