Something for the Weekend?

Do more with less challenge: Part 1

I need your help!

I’m usually quite good with money. I normally begin Christmas shopping around about the 1st of July. In all honesty I have occasionally started before then… around May time, sometimes even earlier. The January sales have intermittently provided a bargain or two but I’ve been banned from talking about Christmas shopping until the beginning of July.

The main benefit of starting early is that I can usually spread the cost. This time last year I checked my account and was delighted to discover a healthy bank balance. I had somehow managed to pay off Christmas before the New Year had even begun.

Not so this year. I foolishly left shopping until November and my credit card is still crying as a result.

Do more with less

I need to find ways to do more with less this January. I can swap the expensive options for something cheaper and stretch what little I have as far as possible, whilst still getting out and about and having a great time in Manchester.

There are so many free (or low cost) events and activities in and around the city centre, including numerous free museums, galleries and parks. All it takes is a little research.

£50 Challenge

I have been set the challenge of seeing how far I can stretch £50 in the city I love. I have a plan and if all goes well I have an activity packed, food and fun fuelled weekend ahead of me. I know what I can do with £50 but what would you do?

What would you do with £50?

I plan to tackle this challenge over a weekend but there are plenty of ways to save during the week too. In fact, there are more offers available on week nights than there are for the weekend. For example, if you visit you’ll see a list of restaurants with money off offers which are valid from Sunday to Friday. One voucher I’ve downloaded for Sunday is 40% off at YoSushi in the Arndale Centre. Oh, how I love sushi!

Below are a few ideas of how to stretch your entertainment budget. I would love to hear your ideas and tips too. Please comment below if you have anything to add!

Frog And BucketFree Comedy

Subscribers to the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club newsletter can often pick up free tickets for Thursday and Sunday nights. All you need to do is respond to the email as and when it arrives – First come first served. If you’re quick enough your Thursday night can be spent laughing raucously at five comics; whereas Sunday’s audience will titter and groan as Comedians test out new material prior to going on tour.

I frequently attend and can recommend both nights. I don’t think I’ve ever actually paid to go there and I’ve seen several big name acts. Throw in a cheap pitcher of beer and you’ll wonder why you’ve never been to the Frog and Bucket before.  

Cinema Combo

I mentioned my £50 weekend challenge to a colleague and he suggested I combine my Spinningfields Yellow Card with Orange Wednesday at The Great Northern Cinema (AMC). The last time I checked Wednesday didn’t fall on a weekend but it’s a great weekday deal if it works!

My friend couldn’t remember exactly how much he paid when he combined the 2-4-1 offer with the discount card but he swears they only paid about £3 each. At that price I might start going every week.

Live Cinema – aka Theatre

I do love the cinema and I might be tempted to catch a film at The Cornerhouse or upstairs at the Black Lion but this week I’ve been curious to know what’s on at the Contact Theatretheatre:

I had hoped my £50 would stretch to a matinee at the Palace Theatre or at the Opera House, or even at the Contact Theatre (left) which in my experience is home to some extraordinary and mind-blowing performances.

However, my tip for this weekend is to check out the Library Theatre’s re:play festival at The Lowry in Salford Quays. If you missed the Manchester Fringe Festival in 2011 then you’re in luck as the re:play festival is giving you another chance to catch some of the best shows from as little as £8 per person

Amateur Theatre

Dracula PosterAs tempted as I am to revisit the performances from the 24:7 Festival I’m even more tempted to visit a panto. Yes I know people usually watch pantomimes on the run up to Christmas but reading about this one made me laugh out loud:

The Manchester Road Players are performing ‘Dracula – the Pantomine’ at The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre in Chorlton this weekend. For only £5 each it promises the ‘usual array of batty antics and bloodcurdling jokes’. Go on, admit it: You’re curious to know how they’ve turned Dracula into a panto! 

I could go on for hours telling you about offers and events I’ve found but I’m interested to hear what you have found too.

How do you plan to save money this January? How far could you stretch £50? Let me know your money saving hints and tips. 

If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

All comments are welcome 🙂


8 thoughts on “Something for the Weekend?

  1. I spend most of January in the dark crying, and it costs me nothing. I don’t suggest others try it though. I’m still considering some cool stuff around Manchester, is Victoria baths still open on sundays for visits? Oh and that Stockport tunnel tour was only £4 wasn’t it? Oh and with a day ranger thing you can join the MAD walkers in the Peak District which was fun, but you run the risk of blowing your fifty at the end of the walk on lamb shank and a pint of Moorhouses in a posh country pub. I still haven’t been to the police museum in the northern quarter, I think that’s free. Oh and I’d defo do one of Manchester Artistic Son’s famous lomo walks, they only cost £5 and you get a free camera to take home and a slap up dinner* (*extra charges might apply to the slap up dinner option)

    • Hi Dave. Stockport’s Air Raid Shelter tours are £4.05 pp – an odd number but hey. Try to go when it’s empty – It’s more fun (and eerie) when you’re down there alone. I would visit it again without question.

      I keep meaning to go to the Hat Museum in Stockport too (The Hat Works). It doesn’t sound very appealing to me because I have no interest in fashion but I can’t judge it until I try it. It’s just a few minutes walk from the Air Raid Shelters so if you’ve gone to all the effort of getting to Stockport from Bolton you might as well make a day of it.

      I think Victoria Baths is closed until April now. 😦 That sucks. Have you been there before? I’ve only been once and that was because my friend was performing live art in the baths. I didn’t get to appreciate the building properly because there were too many people, too much noise and too much art!

      I still think you should visit John Rylands Library on Deangate – Not the John Rylands University Library on Oxford Road. You want the historical building, not the book-lending one!

      If you go to the right one you’ll only be a three minute walk away from the People’s History Museum. I haven’t been but I’ve heard it’s really cool.

      If that 3 whole minute walk is too long in one go (lol) you can always stop off in the Gaslamp for a pint as its half way between the two.

      What did you think of the Gaslamp? I accidently crashed a wedding there last summer. I knew something was going on because everyone was dressed in 1940s fashion – I just didn’t realise it was a wedding until it was too late. Ooops. The Bride didn’t speak to us but no one else seemed to mind us being there.

    • Yeah I’ve been to John Rylands on Deansgate, and I’ve seen the peoples museum, but where it is puts me off, all M/C rahs with their Ruperts and Harriets on a Saturday afternoon. It can’t be very W/C which is my understanding of ‘peoples’ if its where it is. Stockport is defo on my list.

      • Don’t let the brand spanking new Spinningfields redevelopment put you off! If you don’t like the Saturday crowd go during the week! Even better – don’t walk through Spinningfields if you don’t want to! :-p

        This blog post I found gives you an idea of what’s there: I think it looks interesting.

        Have you been to the Pankhurst Centre (birthplace of the Suffragette movement) over near Manchester Royal Infirmary? I haven’t been there since University. I really should go back.

    • Hi Chrissy, Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I read your blog posts the day you posted a message. 🙂 You managed to fit a lot of travelling in and around Manchester for your £50! You were here there and everywhere!

      I had a lot of fun planning the challenge. Did you? Did you find yourself going to places you don’t often go to or are all your weekends that full?

      Do you have big plans for this weekend too?

  2. Pingback: My Manchester in 52 words | Manchester Meanders

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