As the festive season draws to a close, many of us will be resolving to limit our spending in the New Year in order to recover from the financial impact of Christmas. Cutting back is not always easy, but you can still have fun while being frugal. Which? Money suggests ways to save on days and nights out in 2013.
1. Be in the audience
Instead of watching from your sofa, why not go and see your favourite TV and radio shows being recorded live for free? You can search for tickets to upcoming shows on sites such as www.bbc.co.uk/tickets, www.applausestore.com and www.sroaudiences.com.
2. Day seats
If you’re able to leave it until the last minute, some theatres keep a few seats aside and release them on the day of the performance at discounted prices. Day seats at the National Theatre in London are £12, while the Theatre Royal in Bath offers 40 seats at £6 each from 12 noon on the day of performances.
3. Swap your tickets
Concert tickets can be hard to get hold of, but there’s no need to pay over the odds. Online ticket exchange sites www.scarletmist.com and www.swapmyticket.co.uk allow you to buy or sell spare tickets at face value or less.
4. Free talks
Many colleges and universities across the UK host public lectures where you can enjoy food for thought without paying a penny. UCL, for example, holds ‘Lunch Hour Lectures’ twice a week which are streamed online if you can’t make it in person. Visit www.ucl.ac.uk/events to find out more. York University also organises free public lectures on a wide variety of topics each term. A full schedule is available at www.york.ac.uk/events.
5. Preview screenings
Film fans can see previews of new releases for free by registering with websites like www.seefilmfirst.com. Tickets are usually allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you check your inbox regularly to take advantage of emailed invites.
Older movie buffs have another way of cutting the cost of cinema tickets as many of the big chain cinemas like Odeon, Vue and Empire offer special ‘senior screenings’ during the day, with discounted tickets and often a few free refreshments too.
6. Get active
Have fun and get fit without breaking the bank by searching for free tennis coaching and courts at www.tennisforfree.com. And as part of the ‘Big Splash’ scheme, Kellogg’s is currently offering a free swim for kids when you buy one of its promotional packs of cereal.
7. Book exchange
If you have any unwanted books lying around, you can swap them for ones you’d like to read through sites like www.bookmooch.com and www.readitswapit.co.uk, both of which are free to use.
8. Maximise your loyalty points
Nectar points are worth double when you spend them on Merlin Entertainments’ attractions, which include Warwick Castle, Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers. You can also trade in Tesco Clubcard points for reward vouchers to get reductions on a wide range of days out. For more information on customer reward schemes, visit our guide to loyalty cards.