8 Ways to Get More Bang for Your Entertainment Buck

by Miranda Marquit · 4 comments

Getting a deal is all about spending money on things you would buy anyway. If you truly want to save, you need to look for discounts and deals on items you would probably purchase anyway. One of those is things is entertainment. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house and do something fun. But, at the same time, you don’t want to blow your budget. The good news is that you don’t have to. Here are 8 ways to get more bang for your entertainment buck:

  1. Consider Timing: The matinee at the theater is less expensive than the evening show. Galleries, zoos and museums often have promotions in which they have discounted days during the year — or even a free day. Check the schedules of local attractions to see when the discounts are. You can also get some off-season discounts at local amusement parks, water parks and public pools.
  2. Return to University: I live in a college town. There are always shows, musical concerts and recitals, art exhibits and sporting events going on for between $5 and $20 a ticket. There are also many free events, open to the public, provided by the university. If there is a college campus near you, find out what is available. You could be surprised.
  3. Hit the Rec Center: If you like playing sports or working out, you can get relatively inexpensive access to facilities through your local rec center. No need to pay for an expensive gym membership. You can also get information on local sports leagues, and sign up to play sports with others. (If you are a college student, or the spouse of a student, you can usually find these facilities on campus.)
  4. Buy Discounted Certificates: It is possible to buy discounted gift cards and certificates to restaurants, movie theaters, and other businesses. Look online to see what’s available, and check with local business owners to see whether they are willing to offer a discount on certificates. You can also buy discount cards from fund raising kids that allow you access to deals all over town. Look online for coupons before you head out as well; many organizations have special deals if you visit their web sites.
  5. Go to the Library: You probably know that you can rent movies and music at the library, in addition to checking out books. Most libraries are free, although some come with a minimal fee that you pay once, or yearly. If you prefer to have your entertainment come to you, inexpensive services like Netflix.com can help you get access to movies and TV shows, and Hulu is a great place to go online for episodes of your favorite shows. If you don’t mind spending a little more up front, you can buy an electronic reader, and pay less for books and newspapers.
  6. Club Discounts: If you have a membership to different organizations, you can often score discounts and freebies. AARP, AAA and some credit unions offer special deals all the time. Professional associations do as well. And, if you are a student, don’t forget the student discount. I have a spouse card at the university my husband attends, and I get the student discount, too.
  7. Cut the Cable/Satellite: Many TV shows are available free online now. Just go to networks’s web site, and see if your favorite show is available for free as a full episode. Other sources online can also provide free TV watching pleasure. Even if you don’t go whole hog and get rid of the cable/satellite subscription, double check your package. Are you paying for premium channels and a bunch of stuff you don’t even watch?
  8. Babysitting Co-op: Many people spend a great deal of their entertainment budget paying a babysitter so that they can go out. Consider a babysitting co-op. Get with two or three others, and set up a rotating schedule so that you take turns watching each other’s kids. I’m not overly fond of the babysitting co-op (I’ve got one reasonably well-behaved boy, and everyone we know has at least three kids), so I don’t do it, but I know some folks who swear by it.

There are plenty of ways to trim your entertainment budget while still having a great time. So, take an inventory and look at what you do, and what you would like to do. Then start looking for ways to save money.

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

JoeTaxpayer March 26, 2010 at 9:03 pm

I’m finding Netflix to be remarkably frugal. With a single ticket over $10 at the theater, and even a redbox dollar rental still taking the time and 2 round trips worth of gas, the Netflix is good for about 8 rentals in a month and streaming of older shows as well. I’ve been using it a few months and if all I did was order latest releases, I’d be getting my money’s worth. On a side note – the “Now Playing” app on iPhone/iPod let’s me add a new movie to the NF queue well before it hits DVD, so while I’m hearing Avatar is breaking records, I can note that I’d like it when it’s on DVD. (Disclaimer – I saw it in 3D in theater, this was just an example)

BibleDebt March 27, 2010 at 2:03 am

Look at all the features on your phone and cut back on the ones you rarely or never use. Paying attention to your bills will go along way toward putting more money in your pocket.

Thanks for the tips!

MMarquit April 2, 2010 at 3:53 pm

We love Netflix. Although I still like to go see a movie on occasion. There’s something about the experience…which is why we hit up the matinee. I agree that you can save on cell phone bills fairly easily. We have a prepaid plan that has been immensely helpful to us, saving us quite a bit each month.

Monica October 13, 2010 at 1:00 pm

My problem with NetFlix is that is still essentially a bill and I don’t want another line item added to my “have-to-pay” list. If there was a way to “pay-to-play”, then I’d opt in. There are times when I’m busy or whatever and won’t watch $10 a month worth of movies. If I didn’t have to pay it every month, regardless of whether I use, I might try it.

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