Reduce Living Expenses
Save on Entertainment Expenses

(Date posted: October 24, 2009)

This page shows how to save money by reducing your entertainment expenses. Entertainment expenses can be significant for many people. By reducing these expenses, you can have more money for other things.

These suggestions are offered for your consideration. Perhaps they can guide you to a better life style. But the final choices are up to you.

Here are the topics:

Dating
Ideas for low-cost entertainment
Miscellaneous expenses to omit
Movies
Television
Vacations

In order to reduce entertainment expenses you may have to do some planning and change some of your habits and preferences. Whether the money you can save is worth the effort is up to you.


IMPORTANT

Before using this information to reduce your living expenses be sure to read the following notice: Disclaimer.

Dating

Dating does not have to be expensive. You probably want to discover each other and have a good time while doing it. But you don't need to show that special person how much money you can throw around. Impress her with your attention, caring, and dependability. Forget those expensive restaurants for most of the time. Instead, delight her with your imagination and resourcefulness. (No, I don't mean those mud wrestling matches.)

Picture this -- you're sitting in a cozy little restaurant with a view of the setting sun. You've finished your meal (nothing fancy, just satisfying food and drink). You look each other in the eyes while holding hands. Is this to be the person for me, you wonder? (I'm going to stop here; you can fill in your own details, but notice that it doesn't have to be expensive!)

Here are some ideas for inexpensive dates. (Young people probably have some better ideas):

A picnic in the park

A tennis match (but don't spoil it by trying too hard to win)

A walk along the beach

Preparing meals for each other

Listening to music or watching a movie you both like

Sitting close together and talking about your childhood adventures (is a hot tub available?)

Giving each other a back rub or foot massage

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Ideas for low-cost entertainment

After cutting back on expensive entertainments, you need some inexpensive replacements. Here are a few ideas to ponder:

There are many ways to have inexpensive entertainment in your life. You can discuss your hopes and dreams with your loved ones, play cards, take a walk and enjoy the outdoors, test yourself with a crossword puzzle, try a new recipe to please yourself and your family, and just visit with friends.

Then there are hobbies and sports that can be pursued. You might enjoy doing things to improve yourself or planning for an exciting future.

Some people enjoy doing volunteer work at hospitals or charities. This gives them a chance to get out of the house. And they derive a special thrill from helping others.

Personally, I enjoy learning about things that interest me. Maybe you would enjoy learning about a possible new hobby or sport. Perhaps you would like to investigate your family tree or learn about a new recipe.

Is there someone you will miss when they pass away? If so, you could spend some quality time with them now.

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Miscellaneous expenses to omit

Gambling -- (Note: If you consistently make money from gambling you can skip this subtopic.) Stop all gambling such as bingo, cards, dice, lotteries, gambling houses, and racetracks. If you treat gambling as entertainment perhaps you could find less expensive entertainment. (When I play cards with my family the winner of a game only gets a quarter from every loser.)

Live events -- It can be very expensive to attend a live music concert, sports event, or stage play. Instead you could watch these events in the comfort of your home on live television or a video.

Long drives -- I used to enjoy going on long drives around the countryside. Now I enjoy taking long walks around the neighborhood. They both give me pleasure. But walking is better for me and doesn't cost anything.

Membership dues -- Belonging to a country club, health club, or gym can be expensive over a year's time. If you're not getting much value from a particular membership perhaps you should cancel it.

Subscriptions -- If you're like me, you may have magazine and/or newspaper subscriptions that don't provide value anymore. Which would you prefer? Keeping the subscriptions or saving the money?

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Movies

Going out to movie theaters can be expensive, especially if you visit their snack bars.

You can save some money at the movies by going to bargain nights, matinees, or less expensive theaters. Also, you could get filled up on snacks at home just before going to the movies. Then you can skip those expensive snack bars.

If you don't mind waiting several months after a movie has had its first run at the theaters, you can watch a video of the movie at home. You could rent the video, subscribe to Netflix, or borrow the video from a friend, family member, or library.

If you have broadband access for your computer, you can download movies to your computer screen from Netflix and other online services.

Netflix charges a monthly fee for movies they mail you or let you download to your computer or appropriate television set up.

Other online movie providers, such as Hulu and YouTube, are free.

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Television

There are many choices now in television programming. You can stay with what is available from the public airwaves. Or you can pay for cable or satellite television channels.

With cable or satellite television, you have a choice of various packages, with or without premium movie and sports channels. So it's up to you how much to spend. To save money, just cut back to one of the lower-cost packages or even go back to the public airwaves.

If you already have digital cable for television, you might see if you can save money by including your telephone and broadband computer access in a bundle deal.

If you are considering buying a high-definition television set or setting up an expensive entertainment center, you can save money by putting off the purchase or not doing it.

Maybe you can get a lower monthly charge from your cable or satellite provider by just asking them or threatening to drop their service. You can always give it a try. (This has worked for my relatives.)

Some people have decided to abandon television entirely. They have gone back to the old-fashioned ways of listening to radio, playing cards, reading books, talking to each other, or starting a sideline business. Without the relentless allure of television, you have more control over your life. And of course, you can save money every month.

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Vacations

You don't have to travel out of town to enjoy a vacation. You can explore your own city and its surroundings. You can rent a local hotel or motel room, go out to restaurants, and try some of those crazy or fun things you always dreamed about doing some day. This way you save yourself the expense and drudgery of traveling out of town, finding your way around an unfamiliar city, and spending money in all those tourist traps.

Here's another idea for an inexpensive vacation. Ship the kids off to their grandparents for a week. Pick up takeout meals or go to inexpensive restaurants. (Don't burden your mate with having to make meals or wash your clothes.) What do you do for excitement? Well you could just relax and enjoy the feeling of not having to do anything for a change. Maybe you could do some of those crazy or fun things you've always dreamed about doing some day.

Here's my last idea for an inexpensive vacation. Visit the Expedia website and choose one of their vacation packages. Have fun, but don't spend money on things you don't need or enjoy.

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