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25 Ways to Enjoy Your Life More While Spending Less

We hate to say it, but life is expensive. The once thrifty road trip is now subject to nearly $3.00/gallon gas prices (or if you're in a lucky area of the country, even more). A trip to a baseball game with the kids will easily cost you $100 or more by the time all the hot dogs, popcorn and peanuts have been had. Even a Saturday night at the movies will set you back at least $30.

For those of you who would like a little extra cash in your pocket, but don't want to give up any of what life has to offer, we present you these 25 ways to enjoy your life to the fullest, without breaking the bank in the process.

  1. Re-evaluate your magazine subscriptions. If you don't read it, don't renew it. If you enjoy it, check online for the best deal you can find ... you will be amazed at the great deals for magazine subscriptions you can find online.

  2. Go to festivals in your area. Your local paper will have listings for area festivals with themes varying from music to crafts to seasonal celebrations -- all of which are usually free.

  3. Enjoy Life

    Reading can be one of the most satisfying -- and inexpensive -- joys in life.

  4. Visit the farmer's market. Many cities have weekly farmer's markets in the spring and summer months. Not only can you take in the sites and sounds, but also you can probably find fresh, in-season produce for a fraction of the price it would cost at a regular grocery store.

  5. Explore your library. Libraries offer a wealth of entertainment that's available to you at no cost (other than your tax dollars, of course). You can certainly check out a book you've wanted to read rather than buying it at the bookstore, but libraries also have CDs, videos and DVDs that you can borrow for little or no cost.

    Furthermore, libraries offer a variety of cultural and entertainment experiences, such as showing films, hosting book readings and signings, concerts, plays, lectures, and a variety of clubs.

  6. Take advantage of student, teacher and senior rates. If any of these apply to you, make it known at museums, movie theaters, restaurants and travel agencies. Many offer discounts.

  7. See a matinee. Earlier shows, usually before 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., will be a couple of dollars less than a later show. So spend an afternoon at the show, or go to dinner after the movie (instead of before).

  8. Check out local art galleries. Most have exhibitions on a regular basis that are open to the public -- take in some great paintings or sculptures while noshing on free cheese and wine.

  9. Look at your cable bill. If you only watch 15 of your 1,000 channels, switch to a basic package and save the extra $20/month.

  10. Get outdoors. Now is a perfect time to visit your area parks and forest preserves. Pack a picnic and head outside for some hiking, biking or just a little fresh air.

  11. Volunteer. Not only is this a great mood booster and excellent way to meet new people, but if you volunteer at a theater or sporting event, you'll also get free admission.

  12. Let your paper be your guide. Local newspapers will list musical, theatrical and literary performances in your area. Many are performed at coffee shops, libraries or bookshops, and cost little to nothing to attend.

  13. Attend free film screenings. Film festivals and local park districts often show free movies outside in parks. Some cinemas also offer special free screenings of family movies on weekend mornings and afternoons.

  14. Attend museums and zoos on reduced admission days. Many museums and zoos offer certain days of the week with reduced (or free) admission. Check their Web site or call to find out the specifics.

  15. Cook dinner together. Instead of taking the family to a pricey dinner out, stay in and cook dinner as a family. Choose something simple and fun, that kids can help with -- like quesadillas, tacos or veggie pizza.

  16. Plant a garden. This could include vegetables, flowers and other plants. You will be able to enjoy making your property more beautiful and take satisfaction in growing something with your own "green thumb." If you grow vegetables, you will have fresh, tasty produce that will save you money as well.

  17. Take your chances at sweepstakes. Try your hand at winning concert tickets from your local radio station or entering for that dream vacation. You have nothing to lose! (Be wary of entering contests from companies you are not familiar with or that you haven't read the fine print on, though, to avoid having your personal information distributed without your knowledge).

  18. Enjoy Life

    Bring some of the beauty of nature into your life by planting a few flowers or vegetables in your backyard.

  19. Start a book club or card night. Invite some friends over for some good conversation or a friendly game of cards.

  20. Go to the beach. If you live near a lake or ocean, a trip to the beach may be just what the doctor ordered.

  21. Try window shopping. Some people swear that they have just as good of a time shopping without buying anything as they do when they spend money. This is a good way to find something you really want, and save up gradually or compare prices before you buy it.

  22. Read more. Reading is one of the best ways to be happier, wealthier and less stressed. And, it costs almost nothing.

  23. Ask for the best price. When it comes to booking a hotel room, renting a car or even renewing a magazine subscription, always ask for a better price. You'll be surprised that a better price will usually be offered.

  24. Play a board game. Getting together with friends or family for a night of Pictionary, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble or any of your favorite board games is a fun and simple way to entertain.

  25. Stay active. Getting your exercise is a key way to save money on health bills down the road -- and who can put a price on good health, anyway? You don't have to join a pricey gym to stay in shape, either. Just invest in a good pair of running shoes or a mountain bike and head outside -- or gather up your kids for a game of tag.

  26. Create theme nights at home. Simple things like creating a special night of the week to let the kids have friends over or to play a game of baseball in the backyard are always worth remembering.

  27. Give your partner a massage. It's sensual, mutually beneficial, and free!

Recommended Reading

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