Having Fun on a Budget

martinis and your money

Having Fun on a Budget

In my post on Monday, I talked about the challenges of telling my clients that they need to spend less while also assuring them that they will not miss out on the fun that they are accustomed to. Most of them don’t believe me when I tell them that their social lives can and will remain in tack while spending less money.

On today’s podcast, I am talking to my friend Stefanie O’Connell, author of The Broke and Beautiful Life who also blogs at The Broke and Beautiful Life about various ways that people can have fun while staying on a budget. As a struggling actress living in New York, Stefanie is definitely familiar with the challenges of maintaining a social life on a dime.

What we are drinking:

Stefanie – Vodka with fresh squeezed lime juice

Shannon – Pineapple infused vodka (All you need is some cheap vodka and a fresh pineapple. Combine the two in a airtight container and let sit for at least a week. Serve over ice or with other mixers.)

Podcast Notes
  • The number one way that you can save money while having fun is planning in advance. With a few extra steps, you can search for a deal on just about anything you would want to do.
  • Stefanie likes to use Groupon or Restaurant.com for finding dining out options
  • Stefanie suggests using online resources to find free events or opportunities in your city, including a Google search, a Twitter search or aggregating sites like Brokelyn and The Skint
  • Shannon likes the app Happy Hours for finding great cheap places to drink with friends
  • You should put together a tribe or group of friends who are all looking for deals and money saving activities, it spreads out the research and saves everyone money
  • If you want to save money on fitness, you can utilize introductory membership opportunities like Class Pass or Fitness Passbook
  • You could also search “donation based” fitness options like yoga, dance classes, CrossFit, etc.
  • When you’re going out with a group, you should put parameters on your evening like how people will pay or how much cash you will bring with you
  • Always think about the opportunity to stay in and have friends over for potlucks, wine tastings or game nights
What are some fun activities you have done recently that were free or cheap? Are there any sites or apps you use to find great deals for having fun?
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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. One great option is taking advantage of free museums. Many libraries offer passes that get you into museums for free. Most museums also have a few days a month that are free. If you’re a Bank of America customer, they have a program called Museums on Us that lets you into certain museums for free the first day of the month. There are lots of options out there!

  2. I like what Stephanie has to say about setting parameters around an evening out with a group of friends before the evening takes place. I must admit though, that there are some people with whom I’d feel more awkward initiating those parameters. But if I carry that thought further, i also have to admit that I choose my friends, and if I’m hanging out with people I’m not completely comfortable with – in terms of the whole frugality thing – then I haven’t chosen well. I like the “tribe” idea. Gotta work on that : )

  3. Sports leagues and pick up sports were a huge part of dating/early marriage for me and my husband. These were cheap, but also fun. Usually we spent about $40-$50 per league, and then would go to an associated bar after games. That way we got free darts and pool, and we only had to put a few dollars towards a tip (since neither of us prefer to drink after sports).

    With a kid, we are way more into parks, bonfires, and entertainment that allows us to leave whenever we want without feeling like we’ve missed out.

  4. I had fund with your podcast. Aside from your drinks, I loved your conversation with Stef. There were lots of fun. I am a user of Groupon, but I find LivingSocial equally good. I use this often and can just view deals and buy directly via smartphones. The good thing is when you refer 3 friends to get the same deal like you do, you’ll get yours for free. This is actually great! Isn’t it?

  5. Love the vodka drinks! Nice choices. I have a “Minnesota Businesses” list on my Twitter that I check from time to time. Companies will typically post their deals on their Twitter accounts. An easy way to see if there is any good offers out there. I’m sure if people built business lists for where they live they could do the same thing.

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