How to save money on entertainment
Entertainment may not be a biological necessity like food or shelter, but finding ways to relax and have fun is vital to a person’s mental health. When living on a budget, staying entertained takes a bit more thought and creativity, but it really is possible to enjoy life without spending a fortune. Here are a few ideas for finding cheap or free entertainment:
1. Use the library.
Your local library has books (both print and audio), DVDs, magazines, and even software that you can check out for free. You may have to put yourself on a waiting list to get the latest bestseller or order the item you want through interlibrary loan, but in the mean time you can probably find books and movies you didn’t know existed but will love one you experience them.
2. Buy and sell used.
If you do want to purchase a book, video game, or DVD box set, try finding it used at Amazon.com or at a local used book or game store. When you are done with an item, decide whether you are likely to get any further enjoyment out of it. If not, try reselling it in order to partially recoup the cost. Buying used is also a good way to get a discount on entertainment items such as electronics and sports equipment.
3. Attend local events.
Check out your local paper for events like concerts in the part, high school sporting events, and community theater performances. These types of events are usually low-cost or even free, and you will be supporting your neighbors when you attend.
4. Cancel the cable and watch TV online.
The website Hulu.com offers free, ad-sponsored access to popular television shows from many of the major networks. For under $9/month, a Netflix membership allows access to hundreds of commercial-free movies and TV shows as well as the opportunity to request virtually any DVD mailed to your home.
5. Brown bag it.
A picnic lunch or dinner can be significantly less expensive than a restaurant meal. When you plan an outing, bring an ice chest full of snacks, drinks, and sandwiches instead of a wallet full of cash for fast food.
6. Find hobbies that save money.
For gardeners, tasks like turning over the topsoil, pulling weeds, and applying fertilizer are an entertaining way to spend an afternoon. Gardening can also help put food on the table for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the supermarket. Cooking is another fantastically frugal hobby. Have fun experimenting with new low-cost recipes or learn how to make your favorite restaurant dishes at home, for less.