Q: With inflation driving up costs on everything imaginable, my monthly budget has really taken a hit. I’m trying to trim it wherever possible and I’d love to cut back on the money I spend on recreation. How can I save on my entertainment costs?
A: Being proactive about a budget that doesn’t work any longer due to current prices is commendable. Fortunately, there are ways you can trim your recreation budget without feeling the pinch. Below, we’ve listed eight ways you can save on entertainment costs.
- Attend Amateur Sporting Events
Instead of spending big bucks on professional sporting events, get your fix at local high school or college games. You’ll get the same excitement and a game that features high talent without the high price tag.
Volunteering your time and services at local organizations won’t cost you a dime, but it will provide you with an outlet and the opportunity to meet new people. Reach out to local soup kitchens, animal shelters, food banks and hospitals to find out how you can help. You’ll make the world a better place while enjoying free social events hosted by the organization.
- Turn a Hobby Into Income
If you’re crafty, you can make money through your hobby by selling your creations. Set up a seller’s account on sites like eBay and Etsy to market your products. You can use some of the money you earn to purchase new supplies and improve your skills.
- Get Your Workout at Home
There’s no need to drop a ton of money on gym memberships or fitness equipment. Get your workout at home by designating a small corner of your home for exercise and checking out online workout videos on YouTube. Stock up on a few pieces of inexpensive fitness gear like jump ropes, a fitness ball and weights to take your at-home workout up a notch. Shop secondhand sites like Craigslist for great deals on your workout equipment. You can also get your heart pumping by going for a run in your neighborhood and choosing to take the stairs when possible.
- Spend Less on Dining Out
You don’t need to stop eating out and buying takeout food, but there are ways to cut back on these costs. First, don’t walk into a restaurant without checking for coupon codes and discounted gift certificates on sites like Groupon and Restaurants.com. Next, when choosing what to order from the menu, look left. Most people automatically look right, and restaurant owners knowingly place the most expensive items on this side of the menu. Finally, take a break between courses before ordering more to give your body a chance to feel satiated from what you’ve already eaten.
- Buy Season Passes
If you find yourself visiting the same museum, amusement park, zoo or another entertainment center often, consider purchasing a season pass where available. These often run for as little as just two one-time entrance tickets. You’ll need to splurge at the start of the season, but once you’ve paid it off, you’ll have your fun outing for the rest of the season without it affecting your monthly budget.
- Attend Local Art Shows
There’s no need to pay big-ticket prices to enjoy a beautiful work of art. Check out local galleries for free events and shows for a night of fine art. Some towns also host monthly art walks featuring several galleries on display at no cost to the viewer.
- Catch a Performance at a Local College
If you live near a college town, be sure to find out about performances and concerts they may be hosting. Many artists and performers include colleges as part of their tours. Score an inexpensive ticket to a big-name concert by attending these venues.
Inflation doesn’t have to fully deflate the fun in your life. Use the tips outlined above to save on your recreation costs.
Your Turn: How do you save on entertainment costs? Tell us about it in the comments.