Going out to restaurants, the movies, clubs… paying for baby sitters, parking, tips. Being frugal and having fun can be a challenge. There is such a thing as frugal entertainment, however, really there is!
What you chose to spend on entertainment is also largely a function of how you chose to entertain. This depends on your family situation, where you live and your personal preferences. I much prefer having dinner with friends, to going out to a club. As most of our friends also have small children, our get-togethers often take place at somebody’s house.
This is one of the most often cited frugal entertainment tips: eat with friends at your house or theirs. It’s a great idea; you bring salad and dessert, they do the rest. Two weeks later you switch. Another popular suggestion is to have a picnic. Potluck picnics are even more frugal and informal as everyone brings a dish and anyway the whole point of a picnic is to be outside frolicking in the grass, not eating.
The French have a very different way of entertaining from Americans, much more formal and proscribed. Dinners, especially, can last for many, many hours and are spent eating a variety of foods which are not the least bit frugal!
The French do have two great times for entertaining however, which are both very frugal and both of which I would like to share with you.
The first is to meet somebody pour le cafÃ© or at coffee time. While for you and I this might not mean a set time of day, for the French it means right after lunch. Often times you will be invited to somebody’s house pour le cafÃ© instead of for a meal. This is entertainment at its most frugal as you might only serve tea, coffee, soft beverages and perhaps a cake or some cookies. The whole point is not to eat, however, as you will have just finished lunch, but to spend time together.
Another popular time for entertaining in France is for the goÃ»ter or snack time. This is at about 4pm and dates to prendre le goÃ»ter (have a snack) are most often made by parents of young children. Again, this is frugal entertainment at its best.
I am personally a huge fan of potluck gatherings. These are anything but normal in France, but my French friends and family are now accustomed to my strange ways and they go along with me. I usually try to throw at least one big party per year, this year’s was for my husband’s birthday. I don’t spend a lot of money on food or drink and the decoration budget is usually next to nil. After all, the point of entertaining is to spend time with those you love, not to spend money!
Feel up to a group writing project? How do you like to entertain frugally? Does your family, neighborhood, culture or group of friends have any special frugal entertainment traditions? What about the traditional ‘big’ days for entertainment: birthdays, anniverseries, Super Bowl Sunday? What’s your best frugal entertainment tip? Write a blog post (if you link back to this post, we’ll automatically link back to you to follow in the conversation), or leave a comment.