When you’re on a budget and trying to reduce discretionary spending including items such as meals at restaurants and other forms of entertainment, you will need to look elsewhere for more affordable ways of enjoying life.  The good news is that it is definitely possible, as long as you are willing to step a little bit outside of your comfort zone.

The great part of this is that it often leads people to discover new areas of their city and sometimes even contributes to health benefits such as weight loss. 

If you are looking for new forms of entertainment, one of the first places you should look is the great outdoors.  It might mean looking no farther than your backyard and spending time outside there or perhaps venturing to a nearby national park.  There may also be beaches, lakes, and public pools.  Either way, there is a lot to do in your area that is waiting for you to discover.

If the outdoors is not for you, consider what else your city or town has to offer.  A lot of us have never been to the museums that are only a short distance from our homes.  Museums can be expensive so check out their schedules to see if they have free nights, student discounts, or other ways to get discount passes.

Another place to check out in your town is the library.  There are public libraries everywhere and in addition to books they also have DVDs, magazines, and sometimes even events like book groups and wine tastings.  The good news – all of this is usually absolutely free of charge.

If you do want to go out to restaurants consider coupons and other ways to get discounts on food.  Or maybe, instead of going to a restaurant, you can invest in a cooking class to learn how to cook better food for yourself at home.

The movie theater is also still possible – but learn a few basic tricks to avoid paying full price.  Look for apps which offer discounts or going at less popular times.  By doing this, you may not be able to see the movies on opening weekend but otherwise there are no real differences.

Finally, consider activities you can do at home.  Get out the board games you have hidden away forever and relearn them.  Board games can be great for large groups and may be the least expensive form of party entertainment available.  This has the advantage of taking everyone away from the cell phones for a while and getting some real quality time! The lesson to take from all of this is that sometimes making a change means getting out of your comfort zone and learning more about where you live.  You may think you know it all but there is always something new to learn.