Ultimate Penny Pinching Guide Part Three: Entertainment

Hi there income streamers! The ultimate penny pinching guide is back, and this week we’re tackling a common target of budget cutters: entertainment. Unlike many financial independence bloggers, I really believe entertainment is an essential component of any happy lifestyle, and I don’t think someone should feel guilty on spending money on methods of entertainment that are constructive and fulfilling. These entertainment methods can be solo or in groups, and I think alone time as well as socialisation are important parts of any healthy schedule. With that, let’s dive in on ways to entertain yourself on a budget:

1. Consider a free, social option first

If you’re simply bored, it can be a lot more fun to fill that free time with one of these activities rather than spending money!

2. Stay in rather than going out

A $300 Xbox may not seem like a frugal financial decision, but if it stops you from going out and dropping $50 at a bar it will pay for itself in no time.

3. Buy unwanted gift cards for your toys

Like I said, Raise.com is a great resource for buying up unwanted gift cards at a discount and saving on what you planned to buy already. I always do a quick search on their site before buying games or other playthings.

4. Be sure to check for age specific discounts!

Movie theatres, restaurants and event venues often have discounts for high school students, college students, seniors, and more. Always be sure to check out their discounts before buying a ticket.

5. Use the library!

First of all, no one needs to buy a book. You pay taxes toward a library, so go ahead and use it! If you really need the material long term you can always take notes. But even for non-readers, libraries hold a ton of entertainment value. Many of them carry DVDs, CDs, and games, and these materials can often be accessed online. Check your local libraries website to score some free fun.

6. Try free online games

I’m in the process of compiling a big list of free games, but the first ones to come to mind include incremental games like Venture Capitalist and Cookie Clicker, and some MMPOGs like Clash of Clans and a multitude of phone and tablet apps. If you’re itching to game, definitely give a free game a try before dropping money on something else.

7. NEVER shop for entertainment

I’ve often heard my friends talk about going shopping as if it were some activity in itself. That’s ridiculous! Why would I spend my money, purchased with a sacrifice of my limited time on this Earth, needlessly as a source of entertainment? If the value of a “shopping experience” comes from trying on new clothes, you could do a quarterly clothing swap with friends or check out a thrift store. Those experiences tend to have much more genuine and wholesome fun involved, anyways.

8. Pregame.

This one’s pretty self explanatory. I see the social value of going out to a bar or club and drinking some there, but if the goal is to get smashed, you can do most of the legwork at home and save in the process.

9. Brew your own beer!

Microbrewing has gone from strange hobby to thriving industry in America and with pre-assembled kits it’s never been easier to save money and learn a valuable skill by brewing at home. Just be careful to follow directions and keep things safe for consumption.

Well, those are the tips I have for now. With all the activities I listed a week ago as well as these extra strategies for shaving cost off entertainment, I’m sure we can all enjoy ourselves on our journey to financial independence. Do any of you have more tips? Do you disagree with what I’ve got to say on lifestyle balance? Let me know in the comments!

For more fun and frugality check out @StevesStreams on Twitter!

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