A night out with your spouse or the family should never impact your budget, that’s if you plan it right. Whether it’s catching up on the latest release at the movies, or taking in a production on stage, there always a less expensive approach to entertainment.

Plan an outing to your local movie theater during matinee hours, which at many theaters nationwide can run from 9 in the morning until 3 or 4 in the afternoon and expect to pay close to half of the price of a regular movie ticket. If you’re eager to see live theater, there are two less expensive ways to gain admission. Call the theater office or search online for contact information for the production office of the show you’d like to see and ask if you can be a theater usher for the evening. Your reward for cleaning the theater—free admission to the show. Another way to get in the door for less is to search online ticket exchanges for tickets close to show time and for tickets that are available in odd quantities. These tickets always are priced less.

Libraries are increasingly becoming better at offering entertainment. Check the websites of libraries in affluent areas or a large cities. In addition to picking up a copy of your favorite author’s title, time your visit to coincide with performances at the library. The genre of entertainment available at libraries can range from character read-alongs for the kiddies to famous novelist visits and live piano performances for adults.