I have to admit, I have cut back on my expenses more than usual lately. Not because my stocks have been getting hammered (which they are) or because I'm afraid the economy is imploding. No, I need to save money for a trip to my mom's house for Thanksgiving. One of the first places I look at when cutting back expenses is entertainment.

It's not because I don't think entertainment is important, because I do. All work and no play is no fun at all. It's just that there are plenty of options out there that are cheap or free, and entertaining at the same time. It's an easy place to cut back. Here are ten ways I have cut back on entertainment expenses and kept myself amused at the same time.

1. House Party! Why go clubbing when you can have the party at your house? Those cocktails will be much cheaper, and you don't have to tip anybody, either. Better yet, make it a BYOB affair and provide the mixers.

2. Watch Party. I'm an Ultimate Fighting Championship fan, but I'm not a fan of pay-per-view. Spike TV has regular fights that are free for the watching, and I have friends over and make a night of it. It beats paying $40 to watch the same type of fight. Alternatively: have your friends pitch in $5 each to help you cover the cost of the pay-per-view event. It's still a heck of a lot cheaper than paying for the event yourself.

3. Adventures in Eating. Why go out to a restaurant when you can experiment with new foods in your own home? My wife and I regularly try new recipes that we find online or see on the Food Network. Half the fun is cooking it ourselves.

4. Listen for free. I've recently been turned on to Jango.com, where you can listen to streaming music for free. I'm a classic rock fan, and there is a great selection at Jango.

5. Scope out Craig's List. Craig's List isn't just for trying to sell your cast-offs. It also has an events section which advertises free or cheap events going on in your own city. Alternatively, check out your local newspaper's web site and chances are it has an events calendar, too.

6. Red Box. If you are going to rent a movie, it doesn't get cheaper than Red Box. It's a dollar a night for movie rentals, and I never keep my rental longer than one night. Alternatively, check out movies for free at Hulu.com or your local public library.

7. Get a (cheap) hobby. Everyone should have a hobby, but sometimes those hobbies can get expensive. Believe it or not, my hobby is blogging. I enjoy writing. The fact that anybody reads it is a bonus, and it doesn't cost me anything. There are plenty of hobbies that can be done free or cheap.

8. Take a class. Local community colleges, learning annexes, community centers, etc. offer free or cheap courses in things such as desktop publishing, cooking, painting, etc. Alternatively, take some free courses online.

9. Volunteer. If you don't know what to do with yourself, do something for someone else. The holidays are coming up soon and volunteer organizations are always looking for extra people to help deliver meals to the homebound, deliver gifts to the needy, and help raise funds. Not only will you be helping someone else, but you'll feel better about yourself, too.

10. Board games. I know, your kids are glued to the TV playing their Wii or the latest XBox game, but I still have a lot of fun playing board games. My kids love playing Monopoly and Stratego, and we have spent hours playing these games. How long has it been since you've played a board game? They're still fun, even if they are a little "old school". I'll bet you have a couple in your closet at home. I have found some great deals on board games at thrift stores and garage sales. They have more than paid for themselves in the fun my family has had playing them...although my family won't play Trivial Pursuit with me anymore because I always win.


  1. dawn // October 25, 2008 at 9:53 PM  

    *Sometimes you can find free rental codes for redbox on some of the 'freebie' blogs!
    *If you live in a college town, an university can be an awesome source for free entertainment!

    I just discovered your blog - and subscribed via my reader!

  2. SavvyFrugality // October 26, 2008 at 2:27 PM  

    Hi Dawn,

    Those are great tips!

    Welcome aboard! I hope you find Savvy Frugality a helpful resource, and that you will continue to share great ideas with the readers!

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