‘Entertainment’ covers a wide area. It can mean going to a movie, having dinner, seeing a sporting event, and much more. In that broad sweep lies the secret for lowering expenses on an important part of the good life.
For example, if movies are your passion, think about the many ways available today to see one for nearly nothing. You can sign up for a Netflix subscription for a few dollars per month and still see two movies a week or more. You can watch many for free on any computer with a high-speed connection. Save gas and time by skipping the theater and making your own popcorn at home.
If going out to the local cinema is a must, you can still skip all the hyper-expensive candy and drinks. Attending a matinée is another way to save, since lower prices are still offered for earlier shows at many movie houses.
Dining is always a delight and we all love to go to a fine restaurant to be treated like kings and queens. But there are options that trade off only a small amount of that attention for a much reduced price. Good restaurants are defined not just by good food (though that’s important) but by good service. Ask friends where they have received exceptional service at a mid-priced place and give them your business instead.
To save the most in this area, consider dining at home – but with some delightful differences from the normal, everyday meal. Invite some friends and ask them to bring dessert, wine, or a special dish. Provide great lighting and a carefully prepared dish based on a recipe that is a world away from what you usually try. That lends a great mood and a sense of adventure that turns dinner with friends into a lavish evening of gourmet entertainment.
Tired of seeing sports events on that TV at home? Just have to go out and enjoy the experience in a crowd? Well, there are lots of ways to do that and still save a bundle.
Sports bars abound that offer huge, high definition screens for soccer, football, baseball, ice hockey, or even horse dressage and Olympic-style jumping. Whatever sport you enjoy, there’s a sports bar that caters, at least on select days, to your favorite. Use a social networking tool online to coordinate who, what, when, and where and turn an ordinary day of watching tennis into a once-in-a-year event.
Another way to get a big discount on a sports event is to engage in a little old-fashioned barter. Your friend, a neighbor, or even a total stranger will certainly have tickets to that basketball game some time when they can’t go.
But rather than pay scalpers prices, offer a little of your expertise and labor in exchange for them. Maybe you’re terrific at tuning computers or developing a financial plan. You might be an excellent do-it-yourself carpenter. Whatever your skill, just about anyone can use it.
Be creative and look for those unusual circumstances and out-of-the-ordinary events and arrangements. That offers the best chance to enjoy entertainment that doesn’t drain your wallet.