Everyone needs a way to kick back and relax, but entertainment can get expensive. Between tickets to movies and sporting events, specialty hobby equipment that costs a bundle, and entertainment services that may seem to charge more than they’re worth, it can seem hard to have fun while staying within your budget. Fortunately, there are ways to save on entertainment costs. Here are a few creative tips to get you started.
Turn a hobby into income
Do you have a secret passion you can monetize? Maybe you’re sensational at sewing, or you have a unique talent for bottle-cap art, and people would pay for your creations. You can save on entertainment costs by selling your products on sites like Etsy. You’ll earn the cash you need to fund your hobby — and maybe some extra pocket change, too.
Buy season passes
If you have a favorite amusement park, zoo, trampoline park or another entertainment center you attend multiple times a year, it may be worthwhile to invest in a season pass. These often cost as much as, or even less than, two one-day entrance tickets.
Give up cable
These days, there are so many fantastic alternatives to cable service, and at great prices. A video streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu can be a great replacement for cable. Some services, like Sling TV and HBO Max, will even allow you to stream a specific channel online.
Stream your music
Downloading from iTunes is rapidly going the way of the CD and cassette tape. Today, it’s all about streaming music services, which allow the user to listen to virtually any song, for a modest monthly subscription fee. Some popular options include Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Google Play Music, most of which cost an average of $10 a month.
Ask for a discount
Before paying for a hotel stay, amusement park ticket, or even a rental car, find out if you qualify for a discount. Lots of entertainment venues will offer discounts for older adults, students, or members of AAA, AARP or the like.
Split entertainment memberships with family or friends
Share the cost of a music, movie or video game subscription with a friend or a roommate. Some services even allow you to add a user living at the same residence at no cost, so you can pay one price for a full service of something like Netflix for half the cost.
Take a virtual tour
Thanks to COVID-19, you can now get an up-close look at the most fascinating places in the world. From famous museums like the Guggenheim in New York City and Musée d’Orsay in Paris, to safaris you can take from the comfort of your home at places like the Houston Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, there’s no shortage of entertainment you can get for free.
Keep your eyes and ears open for local festivals, sporting events, and performances at no charge, or for just a nominal fee. You can get your entertainment fix at a fraction of the usual cost while supporting your community. (For now, these might be outdoor-only.)
Watch for happy hour
Lots of museums and recreation centers offer discounted entrance tickets during their slowest time of the week, or of the day. Plan your visit around “happy hour” for the most savings.
Volunteer at special events
Offer to volunteer at theater and music productions in exchange for free tickets. This can mean helping to usher people toward their seats or assisting with setting up and breaking down the set before and after the show.
Purchase group deals online
Before taking a trip anywhere, check if you can get discounted tickets on sites like Groupon, LivingSocial or TravelZoo. Why pay full price if you don’t have to?
Keeping yourself entertained doesn’t have to cost a bundle. Use our tips to find creative ways to cut back on entertainment costs without sacrificing any of the relaxation or the fun you need. It’s doable!
Your Turn: How do you save on entertainment costs? Share your best tips with us in the comments.