We all want to save money and there are lots of ways to do this. You can negotiate down your bills, reduce your energy consumption, buy your clothes secondhand, trade your car in for a bike, etc. One of the best ways to reduce your spending and save more money is to cut back on what you spend on entertainment.
Before you get defensive, understand that we are not telling you to go without entertainment. On the contrary! Everybody needs to be entertained! What we’re telling you is that there are ways to get the entertainment you want for a fraction of what you’re currently spending. It’s true. Here are some of them.
Bundle Your Services
Do not pay separately for your television/cable subscription and your internet service, bundle them together and save on both of them. For example, people who live in Raleigh, North Carolina can bundle their services together into a package deal that costs around $50/month–get more info here. There are similar promotions running in your city, we guarantee it.
If you have an extensive cable package why are you going out and dropping $40 on a trip to the movies every week or so? You’re already paying for movies and television shows, so why not put on your comfy pants and watch from the comfort of your own home? This is especially a good idea for theatrical releases that make their debut (for a small pay-per-view fee) via On Demand or on Amazon before they are released in theaters.
Second Run Theaters
Second, Third, and Revival theaters are great places to catch a movie when you’re itching to get out of the house. These lower tiered theaters sell tickets for a fraction of the price of a new release ($3-$5 as opposed to $10-$12 respectively). Their prices for snacks and food are also much more reasonable. Another selling point for many movie goers is that a lot of the second, third and revival run theaters now also serve beer, pizza and other pub basics alongside traditional concessions like popcorn and candy.
Combine Your Activities
Instead of going out to dinner, then taking in a show, why not go see a show in a venue that serves dinner, like the aforementioned lower tiered movie theaters? Another great way to do this is to go out for group activities like pub trivia or to presentations that are given in pubs and restaurants. For example there is a lecture series that happens in many cities called Science on Tap that sets up in popular pubs in the city and entertains/educates attendees while they have their dinners. Sports bars are another example of this: grab dinner while you watch the game with your buddies. Attend art gallery openings that serve hors d’oeveurs.
Skip the Liquor
It’s fun to go out for a pint with your friends now and again, but multiple pints can get expensive very quickly. Order one and then switch to water. Your bank account and your liver will thank you for it!
Does your family really love going to your local zoo or children’s museum? If you find yourselves heading there a lot, consider purchasing a membership. Obviously you’ll want to do the math on this, but if you’re regulars anyway, why not get some of the perks that come with a venue subscription?
Use Your Library
By now, almost everybody knows that the library is a great place to get books to read, music to listen to and movies to watch all for free (unless you return them late and have to pay fines). Libraries are also great sources for family programming. Most have storytimes for kids, movie nights and even art fairs and lecture series. Plus, libraries lend eBooks as well as regular books now so you Kindle users can save some money too!
Take a look at the libraries offered by all of your streaming media services. Chances are there are some major overlaps there. Why are you paying for separate services to show you or play the same stuff? You do not need Rhapsody, Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, Netflix, Hulu, CBS, HBOGo, Showtime, Amazon, M-Go, etc. Choose one or two streaming movie/TV services and one music service. Heck, you might even be able to cancel your music streaming services completely since everything is on YouTube for free now anyway.
The point is that there are lots of ways to reduce your spending without having to feel like you’re trapped at home with only the entertainment you already own. Start poking around your city. You’ll be surprised by how much reasonably priced or even cost-free programming there is to entertain you.
Image from http://appsplit.com/blog/2012/04/ikea-uppleva-the-rise-of-the-home-entertainment-furniture/