by Kevin Gibbons
When most of us plan our vacations, we take some time to figure out where we are going, when we are going there, what we will do once we get there, and how we can do it most cost-effectively. In fact, The Savvy Life offers a full webinar on just that topic, full of planning tips and money saving resources. This is important to many of us because our time and money are valuable. If we are going to invest them in a big-ticket item like a vacation with travel, hotel, transportation and activity, we want to make sure we get the most out of that investment. We don’t want to spend valuable time and money standing around New York, or Yosemite, or London wondering what to do next. So why not treat our “regular” entertainment similarly?
Most of us work hard at our jobs (hopefully, we like our jobs, but that doesn’t mean we don’t work hard at them). When we set aside the time and money for weekend or evening entertainment, we should to get the most out of it. You can do this by being purposeful. Before the weekend or evening out rolls around, decide what you want to do. If you’re planning on going out, look for deals and specials at the candidate bars, restaurants, clubs and theaters. Your time is as valuable as your money, so make reservations if possible. Nothing kills an evening out like being turned away from a restaurant or two due to lack of seating. Don’t forget to look for bargains on transportation. If you’re driving your own car, a fantastic resource for parking is SpotHero. It will find reserved parking near any location and let you comparison shop.
Keeping to the travel/vacation analogy, when we travel for pleasure, it’s usually because we want to see something or someone specific. It’s true that some of us will just throw darts at a map and then pack our bags, but most people go somewhere with a specific purpose, to see friends and family, to see certain physical objects like museums or amusement parks, or to engage in specific experiences like safaris, rafting or enjoying a different culture and environment. Look at your smaller scale entertainment the same way. What is the purpose of your evening out? To enjoy a good meal, prepared by someone else? What type of food are you interested in? What type of dining experience?
One common reason for seeking entertainment is to hang out with your friends. Friends are important, and socializing with them is a great way to spend leisure time. But again, if all of you are going to dedicate time and money to this activity, get the most out of them. Instead of just heading to the local bar or club out of habit, try to find something distinctive to do for entertainment. This does not mean it has to be expensive or fancy. Rather, be open to trying a new place or experience, so that going out, even for something inexpensive, is an event. You may be surprised at how creative you and your friends can be with just a little bit of planning and investigating.
Does this mean that you can’t be spontaneous and just go for “a night out?” Of course not. Being purposeful just means making the decision as to what you want and then taking the steps necessary to achieve that goal. If you want to explore and just see what happens, then do it! But do it knowing that things may not go smoothly. You may spend more time walking or driving around and waiting for things. And, you may spend more money than you would on a planned evening. If you’re OK with that, then have fun! The important thing is to be purposeful with your time and money so you are getting the most out of your experiences.