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How to Get Cheaper Entertainment Without a Cable Subscription

Following my post about getting music downloads for less, I’ve been thinking about how to cut entertainment costs in general. If you’ve had to tighten your belt recently, luxuries like a cable subscription were probably one of the first things to be dropped. Entertainment costs can quickly become excessive, but you don’t need to spend lots of money to have a good time. Here are some ways that you can get cheaper entertainment without having to sign up for cable again.

Books/DVDs

As well as being able to read books for free, your local library may also allow you to check out DVDs for free or for a small fee. The library has become a hidden treasure of sorts but don’t forget about it! The movies probably won’t be the latest bestsellers and blockbusters, but you can still access some fairly recent offerings amongst the older titles. As a bonus, you can also widen your horizons and watch some of the great classics which are surely to be there.

DVD Rentals

Going to the movie theater isn’t conducive to keeping the budget on track, but renting movies from a video store can leave you open to late fees if it’s not convenient to return them on time. Fortunately, there is another option. Netflix makes it easy to rent movies in the comfort of your own home, with the movies landing on your doorstep and no late fees heaped on top. Prices start at $9 per month for unlimited rentals. If you’re only looking for certain movies that you couldn’t afford to see at the movie theater, there is also a free trial that you can take advantage of and then cancel.

Movie Tickets

  • Time it right: Matinee performances can be much cheaper, so book to see films in the afternoon rather than waiting for the evening showings, which are almost always the most expensive option. Depending on the movie theater, there may also be a specific day on which tickets are cheaper. These discounts are often kept under wraps, but if you call the movie theater on various weekdays and inquire about the price of afternoon showings for that day, you might be surprised at how much you can save by going on the right day. Weekend evenings will always be the more expensive time to go.
  • Preview Tickets: Typing a phrase such as “free movie tickets” into Google will bring up sites that offer preview tickets for new releases. To be one of the lucky few who get their hands on such a ticket, you’ll have to either check the site on a regular basis or sign up to a newsletter to be informed when new tickets are made available.

Cheaper Concert Tickets

  • Single Seats: If you don’t mind being separated from friends or family during the concert, it can be much cheaper to look for single seats (rather than seats that are grouped together). As the date of the concert draws closer, the price of single seats can be discounted quite a bit as the venue looks to get rid of them. It can be a great way to save money, and you may even get a better seat than if you’d booked group seating.
  • Radio Station Competitions: If you regularly listen to the radio, you’ll often find that stations will give away concert tickets in competitions and these will frequently be for popular artists. To win, you’ll obviously need to enter the competition, but if luck is on your side, you can get your hands on some great tickets.
  • Book Online: Buying concert tickets online can work out cheaper than buying them directly from the venue, but you need to know where to look for the best deals. Some of the places that I like to browse are CheapTickets, FanSnap,Ticket Loot, and eBay and I also came across Stub Hub, while researching for this post.

couple buying movie tickets

Being on a budget doesn’t automatically mean not having any fun in your life, but it does mean being more clever with your money and limiting your trips to concerts and the movie theater. Create a specific entertainment budgeting category so you can put money aside for special entertainment events on a monthly basis.

(photo credit: Little Silver)

Sally Aquire
Sally is a UK-based freelance writer. As well as personal finance, she also writes on health & beauty and lifestyle topics. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, shopping, hanging out with friends and generally making the most of her downtime!

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