How to Save on Entertainment Costs

Authored By: Community Financial Credit Union on 4/26/2022

With inflation driving up costs on pretty much everything imaginable, monthly budgets have really taken a hit. With higher costs come increased stress as households struggle to rebalance their budgets and reassess what costs are truly necessary each month. And while we all need to stay entertained in our free-time, recreation and entertainment is usually the first item to go when it comes to cutting costs. However, there are plenty of ways to trim your entertainment budget that don’t include fully cutting it out!

Below, we’ve listed eight of our favorite ways to save on entertainment costs and get your budget back on track.

1.      Opt for Amateur Sporting Events

While it’s always fun to see your favorite sports team live, tickets can really take a bite out of your budget! Get your sporting fix at a local high school or college game to save money. Tickets, concessions, and swag are all generally less expensive on the amateur level.

2.      Volunteer

Another great way to get entertainment costs down is to volunteer! Volunteering at local organizations won’t cost you a dime, and will provide you with an outlet for social and recreational fun while you meet new people and help others. Reach out to local soup kitchens, animal shelters, hospitals, or more to find out how you can help.

3.      Turn a Hobby into a Side Hustle

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 or Etsy to market your products. Even better, you can use some of the money you earn to purchase new supplies or improve your skills further with cheap, online classes.

4.      Embrace Working Out 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 or stores 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. 

5.      Spend Less When 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 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. 

6.      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. For Michigan residents, the Detroit Zoo offers an annual family membership package for around $100. And, if you’re local to the surrounding counties, you can always visit the Detroit Institute of Arts for free!

7.      Attend Local Art & Craft 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. 

8.      Catch a Performance at a Local College or Playhouse

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. 

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