Spending money on entertainment, such as movies, television, and special events, can add up to a significant amount of money over time. The average family spends thousands of dollars on entertainment each year, a figure that can be significantly reduced by creating a budget. Whatever your situation, whether you’re trying to stick to a budget at home or while travelling, you can reduce your entertainment expenses if you know where to look for savings opportunities. Maintain a record of your spending and compare it from one month to the next to see how your spending habits have changed.
Method 1 Budgeting At-Home Entertainment Expenses
1. Purchase an alternative to cable television. The first step toward lowering at-home entertainment costs is to discontinue use of cable television. Instead, opt for a streaming service that is available online. Subscribing to one of these services can provide you with access to hundreds of movies, television shows, and original content for a monthly fee that is typically less expensive. Examine your most recent cable bills and look for a streaming service that has a lower monthly subscription cost.
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Acorn TV are just a few of the popular video streaming services available.
If you have a particular television channel that you enjoy watching, look for a service that allows you to stream specific channels online (like Sling TV, CBS All Access, HBO Now, or Select TV).
2. Streaming services allow you to listen to music. Instead of purchasing every song you listen to, try using a music streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music. The majority of services function as an online library containing songs that users can listen to without having to download them. Although many of these services have an ad-free subscription option for a low cost, many of them also provide a free alternative.
Test out popular streaming services such as Pandora, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Spotify, Slacker, and iHeartRadio to see what you think.
Before purchasing a subscription, take advantage of a free trial period.
3. Obtain a library card by filling out an application. Even if you’re not a big reader, having a library card can save you hundreds of dollars on at-home entertainment. Books (on paper, in audio, or on electronic format), movies, magazines, newspapers, and music are all available for free or for a small annual fee at the Library of Congress website. Some libraries even have video games and hobby supplies available for loan (like cooking tools or board games).
Library programmes and services include free community events such as children’s read-alongs, book clubs, personal development workshops, and holiday celebrations, among other things.
4. Instead of purchasing video games, you can rent them. You don’t have to spend your entire paycheck to play the latest video game release; instead, use a game rental service to play for a fraction of the price. This option is particularly advantageous if you don’t tend to replay games and don’t want to risk reselling the game for less than it is worth.
Some services (such as Redbox) charge a small daily fee for games, whereas others (such as Gamefly) charge a monthly subscription fee, similar to movie streaming services, in exchange for access to their library.
5. Share the cost of entertainment memberships with your family and friends. A music, movie, or video game subscription can be split with a friend or roommate to reduce the overall cost. Family discounts are available at a reduced rate if you are interested in bringing your immediate relatives along.
Many services (such as Netflix) allow users to add additional users without having to pay additional fees.
Method 2 Accessing Local Low-Budget Entertainment
1. Check for discounts for students, seniors, and other groups. Many entertainment venues provide special discounts to senior citizens, students, members of certain clubs (such as the AAA or AARP), and active military personnel. Inquire about discount options to see if you are eligible for any of the available options.
Inquire at your high school or university about student discounts offered by local retailers, movie theatres, attractions, and restaurants that cater to students.
Keep government-issued or student identification cards on hand in case you need to show proof of identity.
2. Choose matinees over evening movies whenever possible. If you go to the movies at a time when they are less popular (for example, on Monday afternoons instead of Saturday nights), you can save as much as half the cost of the ticket. If you have the ability to wait, avoid seeing movies until they are released in discount theatres to save even more money.
If you purchase your tickets online, you will be eligible for additional discounts and snack coupons.
3. Keep an eye out for free community events. Starting today, start reading your local newsletters and searching online for free events in your city. Guests can attend no-cost or low-cost seminars, holiday festivals, music concerts, and theatre productions.
Areas near universities or high schools frequently host free or low-cost performances, concerts, and sporting events that are open to the entire community.
4. Keep an eye out for discount days or happy hour specials. Some museums, recreation centres, and other public attractions offer free or reduced-price days to the general public on a yearly basis. Other establishments (such as swimming pools, bowling alleys, and restaurants) offer “happy hours,” during which their prices are reduced on a daily or weekly basis for a set period of time. Monitor the establishments you frequent on a regular basis and inquire about upcoming discount opportunities.
4. Season passes to your favourite destinations can be purchased. If you or your family frequently visits the zoo, aquarium, museum, or amusement park in your city, consider purchasing a season pass. Many season passes are the same price as going to a place twice or three times. Paying a little more up front could result in significant savings over the course of the year.
5. Participate in special events as a volunteer. Volunteering is a rewarding and fun way to give back to your community while also receiving free admission to performances, concerts, and festivals. Volunteers are frequently used in theatre and music productions to usher people into the theatre or to set up and break down sets after the show. Before purchasing your ticket, get in touch with the venue and inquire about volunteer opportunities.
Method 3 Spending Less on Vacation Entertainment
1. Travel during the off-season of your destination’s season. By taking your vacation during the off-season, you can avoid seasonal tourist traps and save money on activities and attractions. Some entertainment venues may be able to reduce their admissions costs if there is a significant influx of travellers into the area. You’ll get a better sense of the city’s culture while saving money in the process.
2. Purchase tickets to an event or a plane ticket several months in advance. People who purchase tickets in advance may be eligible for discounts of up to 20%, according to some organisations. You should check how far in advance you can purchase plane tickets or attraction tickets, and whether you are eligible for any discounts once your vacation is scheduled.
3. Purchase group discounts on the internet. Look for entertainment deals in the city you’re visiting on the internet before you go. Group discounts for popular entertainment options are frequently available through coupon websites. Searching for group discounts may lead you to discover low-cost entertainment options that you had not previously considered.
Groupon, LivingSocial, TravelZoo, and Local Flavor are some of the most well-known group deal websites.
A number of vacation apps (such as Foursquare or Scoutmob) alert vacationers to city discounts and, on occasion, provide coupons to travellers.
4. Bring plenty of water and snacks with you. Food and drink prices at tourist attractions may rise as a result of increased demand, so bring food and drinks with you to save money. Snacks that are portable and will be easy to consume while walking around or participating in the attraction are best. Always check with the venue ahead of time about their policies on bringing outside food in to avoid having to throw anything away.
5. Spend your vacation time in the great outdoors. Make sure to spend some time outside while you’re travelling, especially since many nature-related activities are completely free. Trails in the area can be explored, as can a run or a bike ride, as well as asking locals about their favourite outdoor activities.
To save money on lodging, consider renting a campsite.
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