Harry N. Stout
215- Ideas to Save on Entertainment Costs
Summertime has arrived and the restrictions of the pandemic are lessening throughout the country. Most of us are restarting the entertainment aspect of our lives. To give you some ideas on how to save money on entertainment, here are 15 ideas taken from my book on cost saving ideas.
Buy video games that have a lot of replay value and don’t acquire new ones until you’ve mastered what you have. What’s the point in playing a video game just once? My daughter focuses on games that can be played repeatedly. Good targets include quest games—they maximize the value of your gaming dollar. Lastly, once you’re finished with a game for good, take it to a video game resale shop like GameStop and see if you can trade it in for store credit or use it to purchase another game.
Consider cancelling club memberships. With the recent pandemic restrictions, this can be a good idea. Look at what you are spending for your gym, local country club or other recreational activities and make a hard decision as to whether you will use them going forward. On the other hand, you may want to keep them to help the organizations weather the financial impacts of the pandemic.
Cut down on television viewing. One way some have saved money is to drastically cut down on the amount of television they watch. There are several financial and health benefits to doing this, including less exposure to advertising, a lower electric bill and perhaps a lower cable bill if you downgrade your subscription allowing more time to focus on other things in life, such as going outside to take a walk.
Don’t spend a lot of money on entertaining very young children. They won’t likely remember that trip to Disney when they are age 3. Instead, give them home-based experiences, including playing ball in the backyard, visiting the local park or planting a garden. These experiences will stay with them. When they are old enough, take that family trip to Disney. Realize that what your children want most of all is time with you.
Get free eBooks to read. Go to Project Gutenberg to access over 60,000 eBooks that you can download for free.
Go outside and take in the fresh air. The great outdoors is almost always free, and, with the added benefit of free exercise, the outdoors is an incredible resource. During the pandemic, many people began to walk through their neighborhoods and found all sorts of points of interest.
Instead of cutting the cable cord completely, just cancel the cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Many people with cable services are often paying for a premium package that they don’t really need. For the longest time, my wife and I were subscribed to movie channels we did not use. We decided it was easier and cheaper to just pay for the movies we wanted to watch.
Join a volunteer program. Volunteering is a meaningful way to spend your free time that allows you to meet new people, get some exercise and involve yourself in a positive project that can lift your spirits. It usually doesn’t cost much and can provide a lot of entertainment and a fulfilling day when you’re in the right mindset. I have done this with Habitat for Humanity several times. You also might learn something, and the physical exercise is an added benefit.
Meet for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner. If you’re overdue for a catch-up with friends or looking for a more budget-friendly date with your other half, consider going out for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner. It’s usually much cheaper.
Read more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the aver-age adult reads only 10 minutes per day compared to spending over 2 hours per day on social media. Reading is one of the cheapest and most beneficial hobbies around. Most towns have a library available to the public—visit and check out some books that interest you. The Internet and services such as Google and Amazon Prime can provide you with more than enough subject matter to keep you engaged. You’ll learn something new, improve your reading ability, enjoy yourself and do it all for free.
Seek out less costly entertainment options. This would include looking for local free art shows, festivals, performances and exhibitions. Look for websites for the area you live in. You may be surprised with what you find available for little or no cost.
Spend less to see movies. As movie theaters reopen, you can save money by buying tickets in bulk at warehouse clubs or straight from theater chains, by attending matinees or by going on discount days and avoiding the overpriced snack bar.
Stream movies for cheap or for free. Instead of paying for a pay-per-view or movie ticket, stream one from your Amazon, Netflix or Hulu accounts. Many libraries now have movies on DVD and Blu-ray that patrons can check out. Also, check whether your phone or cable provider offers free streaming, like how Comcast offers Peacock or Verizon provides a year of Disney+. Also take advantage of free trial periods, such as Netflix or Hulu for a month. Apple also offers one year of Apple TV+ with the purchase of any Apple device.
Try a “staycation.” In these times of pandemic uncertainty, you may really need a break from your daily routine. Instead of taking your family to the islands, try being a tourist in your own city. Not only will this keep you safer, it will save you hundreds (or potentially thousands) of dollars. You can also explore your area with fresh eyes and have some fun while doing it.
Utilize free online courses or webinars as much as you can. You can save money on tuition, fees and transportation by using the ever-growing inventory of online educational content available. If you want to spend a little, splurge on the Greatest Courses avail- able on Amazon Video.
Even though you have saved a lot of cash during the last year, there is no need to overspend now that the pandemic restrictions are over. Now is the time to exercise your new thrifty habits as you begin to adjust to a more normal life. I hope these ideas help.
If you're looking for ideas on where to find cash savings, please check out The FinancialVerse Guide to Savings – 600 Cash Savings Ideas. Cash Savings provides practical suggestions on where you can save money in your day-to-day life. For most households, I believe they will find at least $600 in annual savings.