Thursday, October 22, 2009

Frugal Friday: Save Money on Entertainment

It's the weekend and time to relax! When the weekend hits, our family loves to get out and do things away from our house. We love to be entertained on the weekends.

But who can relax when some forms of entertainment cost so much money?!

You don' have to break the bank when it comes to entertainment. It just takes a little bit of effort and creative thinking to save money on entertainment.

Here are some frugal ways to save money on weekend (or weekday) entertainment:

  • Wait until the last minute! You can save all kinds of money by purchasing tickets to theater a few hours before the performance. They may start selling "rush" tickets at a fraction of the asking price. They would rather sell all of the seats at a bargain than let them go empty. Look for consolidated discount ticket booths (popular in the big cities) or call your favorite home-town theater to see if it offers price cuts directly to the public before show time.

  • Watch for discounts. Many theaters, museums, galleries, zoos and parks offer special discount days, such as standing room only or pay-what-you-can nights. Some even offer free admission on certain days of the month. For performances, ask about free or drastically discounted admission to dress rehearsals.
    Check out the library. Your local library is a wonderful (and free) resource for books, dvds, music and activities. We have really become acquainted with our local library and my kids enjoy finding out about all it has to offer! During the summer, our library had free movies and popcorn for kids ages 4-12. They frequently have arts and crafts and story time for children. They even offer free educational seminars during the year for adults.
  • Work or Volunteer. Here's a great way for cash-strapped teenagers and college students to have some fun and make a buck at the same time. Check out part-time jobs at a sports venue, concert hall or theater. You may have to empty a trash can now and then or tear tickets, but you might be able to catch a good portion of the show. Or volunteer. In exchange for passing out play bills at the door, for example, you may be able to sit in on the performance when your work is done.
  • Team up for babysitting. As any parent knows, a good chunk of any entertainment budget can be eaten up just paying the babysitter. Join forces with a relative, neighbor or friend and trade off watching each other's kids. Form a babysitting co-op. For example, you watch their kids one Saturday evening and they watch yours the following weekend. If you spent $10 to $20 a week on a babysitter, you could save $560 to $1,120 per year with your co-op.
  • Grab a meal and a movie. Matinees aren't just for senior citizens or little kids. You can often get cheap tickets to movies, theater productions and other shows if you attend in the early afternoon instead of the prime evening time slot. Daytime is also a good time to try out a hot new restaurant. You can get lunch-menu prices for dinner-quality entrees.
    Who do you know? As with many things in life, getting a deal on entertainment can come down to whom you know. You could score discount tickets to amusement parks, sports arenas and other events through clubs and associations you belong to, such as AAA, AARP, a credit union, alumni or professional association or even your job. Flash your membership card; save money. And if you're a student, always ask about student discounts with your ID.

  • Fire your local movie rental store. Spending $5 for a movie at the corner video store can add up quickly. And mail-order subscription services can be costly, too, unless you watch a lot of movies every month to make the expense worth it. Instead, look for DVD kiosks in your neighborhood, like Redbox or Blockbuster Express, where you can get movies for $1 per night. They carry new releases and are located nationwide in thousands of convenient spots, such as fast-food restaurants and grocery stores. If you're a once-a-week renter, you could shave your movie costs from $20 a month to a mere $4.

What creative ideas do you have for saving money on entertainment?

~ Written by Elizabeth

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