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How to live large on less

Don't hurt with the pinch

Many people are cutting back in some way right now - whether it's out of immediate necessity or due to the fear of what could be around the corner. It's not usually a bad thing to try and scale back a bit anyway, as you'll be surprised with what you don't -œneed.- But if you're used to living a relatively comfortable lifestyle, giving up that trip to the spa or your daily latte can feel like more of a cutback than it really is, especially when you consider the sacrifices some people have to make. SheKnows Living columnist, Alexis James, opens up on how she incorporates cuts into her budget, yet still gets the best out of life.

 

My husband and I are both self-employed so this means not knowing exactly what our income will be from one month to the next. We live in San Francisco, which is relatively insulated from the nation-wide credit drama, but during this economic crisis, we've still felt the ramifications a bit in the form of clients cutting back, reducing our hours, etc. Add to this the fact that my husband is planning on quitting his paying work at the end of the year and focusing full-time on his start-up. Needless to say, we've had to do some heavy duty evaluating. But there are a few ways I've managed to maintain an enjoyable lifestyle while saving some cash as well.

 

 

Use third party services to access events

I'm all about taking advantage of the culture offered in one of the best cities in the nation, and I'm not going to let a little pesky cash crunch stop me! I've utilized things like rush discounts and sites like goldstar.com to get heavily reduced prices for theater tickets, shows, concerts, etc. Goldstar.com offers tickets to events in your city, often for half the price of the box office. And many theaters hold some last-minute rush tickets at discounted rates. You just have to be flexible. Another option is to buy tickets early and get the cheapest seats available. I've watched many Broadway musicals from the nosebleeds, but I only paid $25 for my seat. I'd much rather have seen it from far away than not seen it at all!

 

Happy hour is truly happy

If you need a night out, plan ahead to take advantage of drink or food specials during a happy hour. My favorite happy hour is a sushi place near me that offers a happy hour menu where everything is five dollars. We can each get a drink, a sushi roll and split an appetizer for $25. Sounds good to me! Prix Fixe is another good way to go, if you're looking for quantity AND savings! Deals exist at even the trendiest spots, you just have to seek them out.

 

Become a member

My husband and I are members at several museums around the city. This means we get virtually free entertainment. All our memberships have been $100. Memberships include admittance for the member and a guest. Considering most museums cost about $25 per person for a one-time entrance, we just have to go together twice, and we've paid for it. In some cases, we frequent the museums a couple times a month. It's a great way to experience the culture of a city without putting up much cash.

 

By doing a bit of planning and evaluating, there's no reason you have to choose between spending a ton of money, or staying home on a Saturday night!

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