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How To Save Money On Entertainment

Updated on September 1, 2012


If you're like most folks today, you're trying your best to cut costs wherever you can to beat the high cost of living. 

Entertainment expenditures sometimes slip under the radar when it comes to saving money because we all tend to think we work hard and we deserve a break, right? 

Unfortunately, the price of entertainment can blow pretty big holes in the best constructed budget if you're not careful about budgeting for it. 

There are other ways though to have a good time without spending big bucks. 

Let's take a look at some of the things you can do to cut the high cost of entertainment expenses.


  • Play it close to the vest. Attend local concerts. They are usually free or a minimal charge. Some are outside in the park or waterside like in the Seattle or Bend area as examples. Check local papers and the Internet for details.
  • Read the book. Instead of going to a movie that's current, check the book out from the local library and read it. Then wait until the movie comes out on DVD and rent it from RedBox, make your own snacks and enjoy.
  • Be a star. Make your own movie. Get as complicated as you want. Write something and act it out or just video and narrate your own movie. For more fun, add text, add a song and post it up to youtube and see what happens!
  • What you see is what you get. Become a photographer and use your phone or digital camera, even an older model camera with film. Explore, learn, have fun! Figure out settings and cool things like black and white. Post up to facebook or flickr and see where it leads you.
  • Dead poets society. Go to a poetry reading. You might be surprised at what you feel and what you learn. Check out some poetry books and consider writing some yourself.
  • If you build it, they will come. Think of something you want to build. Keep it simple, and keep it within your budget. Or think of some project you want to try. Start small with a minimal outlay of cash and try it.
  • The natural. It's never too late to try a sport. Sign up for a city league or get some friends or family together. Even unstructured, you can have fun and do some exercising together.
  • Think thrifty. If you like skiing but can't afford the high prices, take up snowshoeing which is usually free (after the equipment). Same thing with cross country versus downhill. Think of the money you can save.
  • Dabble in the arts. Go to author appearances at local bookstores, check out the local galleries (they won't bite), or go hear a guest speaker on anything. As long as it's free, it's entertainment and it broadens your horizons.
  • Movie magic. If you have to go see a current movie, check the matinee prices.
  • A blast from the past. Go to a museum. No matter what kind of museum, you'll have a great time. Many are donation only and many have discounts. Kids love museums!
  • Read all about it. Check your local papers or the Internet. They always have things listed that are free from craft fairs to poetry readings to free concerts or performances.  You help support your local folks and you have a good time in the process. It's also a great way to find out about local festivals. Also check parenting or local magazines for more ideas as these are a great source for people of all ages.
  • Eating out. If you include that in your entertainment package, remember that drinks of any kind add to the bill so go with water if you're on a budget. Eat at "bargain times" or eat when they have "bargain menus". Check out what places offer kids eat for free. Also check newspapers and magazines for coupons or venues like the Entertainment Book.
  • Come up with a project.  Kind of like building something....decide on a project that is doable and that is totally affordable.  Then draw up the plans, buy the supplies and make something. It is a great thing to see an idea turn into a real thing.
  • Make a big production out of it.  Take in local theater productions or high school plays. These are often some of the cheapest tickets anywhere and you will be entertained. It is also a great way to support local economies and causes.  College level productions are even better and oftentimes you can see other performers for rock bottom prices. 
  • Sign yourself up.  Volunteer for the Sierra Club or the local parks and recreation department. This is a great way to be outdoors and contribute something to the world around you. It's also a great way to meet like-minded people.  You can do things from cleaning up a stream to filling sandbags and enjoy making a difference!
  • Take a hike.  Almost anywhere you live, there are loads of free public parks to enjoy or hikes to go on. Take your camera and a lunch and enjoy what nature has to offer you.
  • Old fashioned fun. Remember when you wiled away hours playing board games, cards or doing jigsaw puzzles? These things are just as relaxing as they were years ago and are great ways to spend no money and still have some great times.


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