11 Ways to Save Money on Entertainment

Everyone loves having a good time, but few people truly enjoy spending a fortune for this pleasure. In fact, having a good time during the recent economic downturn has become critical for one's mental health, but difficult to achieve because of the stress on one's wallet. And yet, there are still many ways in which savvy spenders can save money on entertainment- and even entertain others without spending too much.

One of the easiest ways to save money on entertainment is to forgo expensive movie tickets and enjoy a movie night at home. Not only will you get the best seats in the house, but you'll be able to enjoy a bathroom break when necessary and speak to your friends as loudly as you want without disturbing the strangers next to you. For an even more affordable evening, consider borrowing a classic from the library. Or, sign up for a movie rental service that will deliver the flicks straight to your door.

Ask your friends what they do for fun, read local publications to get ideas and consider trying new things.

If you prefer spending your downtime participating in more active pursuits, consider purchasing a membership to your local network of museums or zoos (some locations even offer joint memberships that cover both zoos, aquariums and museums). Visit a different attraction each weekend and you'll definitely get great mileage out of the membership. Many times you can get additional discounts by showing membership to an organization such as AAA or AARP upon signup. Similarly, many local attractions offer coupons that can be found online or in free weekend publications. Keep an eye out for these deals, and you should be able to enjoy the best attractions in your area at deeply discounted prices.

Of course, those who enjoy nature-based activities can find a plethora of ways to spend time outdoors without spending a penny. Go for a bike ride in a new area, enjoy hike on a nearby nature trail, or explore the local state park by foot. There are many attractions right in your area that you've probably never seen- but would really enjoy.

One of the most delicious ways to save money on entertainment is to invite your friends over for a potluck dinner. Not only will you get to try out new recipes, but you'll be able to share the expense of hosting a crowd. If you prefer to do the catering yourself, pare down your expenses by altering your standard menu. Instead of serving meat, consider chicken, fish or a dairy entrée. Instead of preparing expensive vegetables such as asparagus, add affordable options such as zucchini and fresh green salads to your menu. And, of course, if you want to save money on entertaining children, consider making your own pizza instead of ordering a pie or serving a make-your-own-sandwich bar instead of a full-blown barbeque.

Likewise, if you enjoy entertaining friends at your home, plan a game night where you can kick-back comfortably. Have each friend bring their favorite game and vote upon which game should be played first. Mix up partners and teams regularly to keep the excitement going.

Sports-lovers may not want to give up their tickets to the game, but they can save money by purchasing less-expensive tickets or brown-bagging food instead of purchasing food at the concession stand. Watching your favorite team on a day where they give out free giveaways is another great way to get the most out of your money. Similarly, if you enjoy going out to eat but don't want to spend on the lamb chops, consider checking out new (and more affordable) eateries. You may pleasantly surprised to learn that you enjoy calzones as well as steaks.

If you enjoy going out but don't want to pay for a babysitter and an activity, consider a babysitter swap in which you'll watch your friends' children so that they can go out, and they'll watch yours when you want to escape for a few hours.

There are many ways in which creative thinkers can save money on entertainment while still thoroughly enjoying themselves. Ask your friends what they do for fun, read local publications to get ideas and consider trying new things. You will be surprised at how much you enjoy your area- and how much you can save.

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