Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cheap Entertainment

Sometimes the hardest part about being broke is that you aren't able to spend money on "frivolous" entertainment, and that can be depressing, as you sit in your living room starting at the computer screen all weekend b/c you can't afford to do anything fun. So I am always on the look-out for cheaper activities to do with my family on weekends.

Yesterday afternoon we went to the Contemporary Arts Center for Family Saturday. (4th Saturday of every month from 1-4pm). We got museum admission for free because Jon had received an email at work with a free admission pass. Occasionally he gets things like this, and it is awesome. (For my Birthday he took me to see the Burn the Floor dance show using tickets he bought for 50% off thanks to one of these emails!). The CAC's top floor is the UnMuseum, which is geared toward children. They can touch and interact with all of the art. Yesterday they had a special art activity for the kids to do, based on the Keith Haring exhibit which was on the 5th floor. The kids painted pieces of cardboard with black paint, and then once it dried they were able to do chalk drawings on it. Penny really enjoyed herself. So the CAC was free for us, but we did end up having to pay $5 to park in a garage. That's the big bummer about downtown. All of the meters we found had a 60 minute limit, so we couldn't find any on-street parking.

Yesterday evening we planned to go to a Cincinnati Cyclones hockey game. They only have a couple games left in the season, so I wanted to catch one before it was too late. I had a coupon for B1G1 tickets, which I got from a Cincinnati coupon book that my MiL gave us for xmas. I originally looked up the price of tickets and had thought they were around $7, but I was mistaken. So we paid $13 for one ticket (2nd one was free, and Penny was free b/c she's 2 yrs old). We also had a parking dilemma for this event. We could not find any on-street parking, and almost all the garages were $10. We settled on paying $5 to park in a lot, but only had $3 in cash on us. We had to get money from an ATM which had a $3 fee!! So with the fee added, we basically ended up paying $8 to park...I guess we can say we saved $2 by not parking in a garage.... but we were really mad about having to pay the fee for the ATM. I have learned my lesson and will try to keep more cash on me for times like these. It's just something I never think about b/c I hardly ever need it...

However I got burned last week by not having cash on me when Penny and I went to the Danbarry Dollar Saver Cinema to see Tangled. I was psyched b/c I had a B1G1 coupon from my Entertainment Book, so we were only going to pay $3 total to see the movie, but it turns out they only take cash there too, so I had to get money from an ATM and lost a $2 fee on that, meaning I ended up paying $5 total, which means that my coupon ended up only saving us $1.

My point in this entry is: you can definitely do things cheaply if you do some planning ahead and keep your eyes and ears peeled for free and cheap events in the city, but just remember to keep some cash on you so you don't end up ruining your deal by incurring ATM fees!

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