Smart Ways to Save Money on Entertainment
Saving money doesn’t have to be all about budgets and serious business. If you keep a sharp eye out and apply yourself even a little bit, you can find services and resources that will let you have fun for less. Here are some suggestions:
The Good Old Public Library
Today’s libraries aren’t just about books. If you’re not a regular member, you’ll be amazed at the selection of movies, TV series, music, and, yes, even video games that you can check out for free. Some libraries have audiobooks you can download directly from their website, too. You can even check out Overdrive.com to search for top audiobooks and eBooks at local libraries and bookstores.
Bargain Theater Movies
Don’t forget, almost all movie theaters have matinee pricing for the first few shows of the day, so you can reap the rewards of being an early bird. Also, many movie theaters have discount days, where tickets to most shows are offered at a low price. Check first, though—some shows might be exempt from the discount.
Rental Movie Alternatives
In addition to the library, many services offer movies (and even TV shows) for less than most movie rental stores:
- Redbox—Pick up a rental DVD (movie or game) from any one of hundreds of kiosks, usually for just $1, and return it the next day. You can find a location or check availability on their website. You can also sign up to receive e-mails for monthly promotions.
- Hulu—You don’t necessarily need a cable account to see brand-new TV and movies, and you can watch them any time you want. Hulu offers plans that provide video over your laptop, your smartphone or tablet, or bundled with your cable service.
- Netflix—If you have a broadband connection, a low monthly subscription can make a huge library of films and television shows available right on your PC. With a set-top box, you can view directly on your TV.
Most movie and game rental stores have a selection of used titles available for a discount. Most stores will take back previously viewed DVDs or other items that don’t work, but ask about their return policy, and check the DVD for scratches or damage before you buy anyway.
If you are a gamer, GameFly is a service worth checking out. As the “NetFlix” of video games, they offer a mail service where you can keep games as long as you wish and they even offer unlimited download and play for PCs starting at $6 a month.
Many video rental stores offer both console and PC games to rent in addition to movies. If you go the traditional rental route, try to pick games that don’t require a big time commitment; if you need to renew the rental a few times to finish the game, you could eat up your rental advantage!
Most stores that sell or rent computer games have a discount rack of less expensive titles—some as cheap as a few dollars each. If you take the time to rummage through, you might find something you like for less.
Free to Play Games
Online game services like EA Games and Steam offer games that you can play for free. These games often have premium services, like additional abilities, levels, or in-game equipment that are only available at a cost. At least part of the game, however, is available to all players. Be sure to read the fine print before signing up.
Support Your Regional Theater
Do a little looking around, and you might be surprised to learn your community has a theater company right near where you live. It might be connected with a school or college, or just a locally–run community center. Many such theaters are non-profit, and offer an alternative to Broadway prices. Not only that, you can feel good about supporting local talent close to home. Many listings of regional theaters are available online, including the League of Resident Theaters, and the Open Directory Local Theater List.
It’s important to remember that saving money doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your quality of life. In fact, you may not even have to give up the fun things you already do. Have fun, while you save! After all, life is for living, isn’t it?