Wednesday, September 17

Frugal date ideas

I found another frugal Seattleite's blog today!

She talks about trouble thinking of frugal date ideas.

So here, as promised, is my set of ideas:

1. Cheap movies
  • My Coke Rewards and MyPoints offer free tickets or gift cards for AMC.
  • The Entertainment Book has discount ticket opportunities.
  • Check local newspapers for movie preview opportunities.
1. Sometimes you can stop by and pick up a pass (they go fast)
2. Sometimes you have to mail in a form. But that's still under $1.
3. The day of the movie, show up plenty early so you can be sure to get in.
  • Work one or two days a week at a local movie theater. Free movies plus a little extra $$

2. Cheap theater

  • Entertainment Book has 2-for-1 coupons for a lot of theater companies
  • Plenty of plays have pay-what-you-can nights
  • Tim and I know some people who work in plays. They give us discount tickets
  • Volunteer as an usher for part of the run. Get in free another night.

3. Cheap events

  • Again: volunteer. Some companies will let you in for free if you clean up afterward, take tickets before, etc. (Especially true of music festivals.)
  • Matinees (cheaper tickets, plus cheaper meal before or after)
  • Go to the concert even without tickets
1. If it's open air (Seattle has concerts at the pier each summer) you have a picnic.
2. Buy tickets off someone.
**Someone may have friends who flaked out.
**If it's not sold out, the tickets may be reasonable.
**It's not scalping so long as you pay box office prices (or less)
3. In case of open seats, box offices sometimes release tix at a discount 1/2 hour before.

  • Be a tourist in your own town.
1. You have a better chance of finding good deals.
2. Entertainment books are great for this (full of 2-for-1 coupons)
3. Lots of residents never get around to stock attractions (for me it was the Space Needle)
4. It's fun to rediscover your town.

  • Know thy happy hour
1. Many bars have an early and a late one
2. You can afford to order more food and there's often a special drink of the day
3. Some have standing specials, so you can plan around them

4. Take advantage of free

  • A lot of museums have a free-to-the public day once a month.
  • Consider art openings: Free wine, snacks and interesting discussion
  • Enter all the contests you can find
1. Pay attention to call-ins on the radio.
2. If you like the symphony, listen to the classical music channel

**Fewer people listen and/or call in
**My mom won a night of classical music and an after-concert gala with champagne

5. Mystery shopping

  • Offers lots of choices
1. Free meals

**From fast food to casual sit down to full-on upscale dining
**Two of the shops were so expensive, I was sent a $100 gift card

2. Free night of fun

**I've shopped arcade-like stores before and had the meal & night reimbursed
**There are even bar shops, though as least one person needs to limit drinks

3. Free hotel stays

**These take a little more work to get but are fabulous
**Free night in a hotel, meal or drinks plus room service

  • Two drawbacks
1. There is work involved, so it's not a completely worry-free night
2. It can take up to two months to get reimbursed

6. Cheesy date stuff

  • Picnics in the park
  • Go window shopping
  • Go "vacillando" -- spend the day hunting for something you aren't likely to find
  • Go to the fair
1. Pay-one-price bracelet for rides
2. Eat beforehand so you can spend on the good stuff

I'm sure I've left some things out. Help me out folks! (Don't forget every comment you leave will be an extra entry for "Pay It Down")



Blogger Shtinkykat said...

I love scouring the free San Diego Reader for art gallery shows. Usually there's free booze and cheese available! Hee hee.

September 17, 2008 at 5:50 AM

Blogger Donna said...

If you're still a student, look for the fabulous "student discount" promotions. Theater companies do this a lot (trying to build audiences that will one day graduate and pay full price for tickets). The Seattle Symphony's "Campus Club" promo lets you buy any ticket for $10 if you come down in person up to one hour before showtime (you have to have filled out a in advance, and then bring your Campus Club card with you). Some museums have student discounts, if you miss the "free" days. Some movie theater chains will give you a buck off the admission with your valid student ID.

September 17, 2008 at 8:52 AM

Blogger Revanche said...

Hikes! I love going for long walks, or hikes, in a new neighborhood or on trails. Just pull on good shoes for walking, and start trotting. If you have to drive a little way, that's still ok, as long as you're prepared with food (snacks) and water to hold you over until you get home again.

If you have a chance, would you mind blogging a little more about mystery shopping? At some point, I'd like to pick that up, but I'm not sure which companies are good and which are awful.

September 17, 2008 at 9:06 AM

Blogger Abby said...


I can't believe I forgot hikes or at least walks. I guess you can tell Tim and I need to get more active! is the best source for all companies, but yes I can certainly try to do a longer post about mystery shopping and which companies I think are worthwhile.


I always meant to do the gallery shows. I guess because they usually serve wine and I never developed a taste for it.

September 17, 2008 at 10:42 AM

Blogger KT Roughneck said...

The best frugal date idea:

Forget the date. Learn how to cook. Cook her a meal and have sex afterward. You get what you are after and it is a hell of a lot cheaper than paying for dinner and a movie.

Bonus: you don't seem like a cheap bastard if you go to all the trouble to cook something.

September 17, 2008 at 4:54 PM

Blogger Abby said...


I published your comment because, well, I'm a big believer in free speech. Even crass free speech.

Also, I think it could just create a whole lot of funny vitriolic responses from the almost-all women readers.

What can I say? Conflict sells.

September 17, 2008 at 5:07 PM

Blogger KT Roughneck said...

I wasn't trying to be controversial.

It was genuinely good advice that I have received in the past and it worked well for me.

I might have worded it a bit differently if I had realized that most of the readers here were women.

It does work though. Cooking a great meal for a date is quite often well received no matter what genders are involved... 8^)

September 17, 2008 at 5:34 PM

Blogger Abby said...

This one comes from blueviolet, but since she put her email in there, I decided I'd better not just hit "publish"

September 18, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Blogger Donna said...

I have done mystery shopping in the past. I need to do more.

January 15, 2009 at 11:25 AM


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