Archive for the ‘ Entertainment Savings ’ Category

How to Save on Sporting Events

This time of year many people love getting together with family and friends, piling in the car and taking off to watch your favorite team score a dramatic win? Sports events are intoxicating – the energy of the crowd, seeing your favorite players up close and personal, and even the overpriced junk food has a certain appeal. Attending live sports events can get expensive in a hurry though. Score big savings on future games with the tips below.

Use your Email for Savings

Create a free email account and sign up with all of your favorite local sports teams and box offices (visit the team website and sign up for their email newsletter). You’ll be notified of upcoming games, special promotions and much more before anyone else even knows the event is going to happen. Many teams offer fan-only promotions that they send out to their mailing lists. It could be anything from members-only discount tickets, to a free kid’s night, free team apparel or a free hot dog.

Financing the Food

Unless you consider the hot dogs, peanuts, and sodas a truly important part of the sports experience, do everything you can to avoid buying food at the game itself. Eat before you go, sneak in a snack (we always take our own peanuts to baseball games!), make plans to meet up for a pre-game tailgating party or eat together at home once the game is over. Don’t make plans to go out to a restaurant after the game, or you’ll wind up spending almost as much as you would have at the event! You’ll save a considerable amount of money per person by not craving those nachos as the concession stand, and it shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of the game itself.

Don’t Drink Your Money Away

Depending on the venue, you may be able to carry in a bottle of water or soda. Some large arenas and ballparks will check your bags when you enter and make you toss out your bottle of water, but if this isn’t an issue where you live and someone is willing to carry a bag or a purse, you can save $5 per drink. Hold off on the beer til after the game. It’s pricey to drink alcohol at sporting events, so tell yourself you don’t need a beer to enjoy the game and instead get together with friends afterward to celebrate the victory with a couple beers from your own fridge.

Avoid the Merchandise Trap

Game merchandise is so hard to resist. Jerseys, foam hands, and other “official” products are all piled into a kiosk that calls your name the moment you walk by it. Young children are especially prone to wanting anything that flashes as they walk by. To avoid coming home with a ton of expensive disposable items, shop around before the game. Check out eBay, Craigslist, sporting goods stores clearance racks, and even your local toy store. Stash your treasures until the day of the game and then bring them out and give them to your family. Everyone will be just as happy, and you won’t come home with an empty wallet and a lot of regrets. And of course… if you go to a lot of games… save the treasures for the next game!

Watch it on TV

If the game is televised, why not buy some soda, hot dogs, and popcorn at the store and have “game night” at the house.  You’ll still get the benefit of family time if you make a night of it and get all the same food attractions as a concession stand, without concession stand prices.  Also, if you have a DVR, you’ll never miss the “play of the game”. During football season, you can trade off hosting a game-watching party with your friends and go to a different house every week. Many times, it’s more fun watching at home with a group where you can see every play clearly, avoid weather extremes, and show-off your game-calling skills.

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Want Free Movie Tickets?

A simple movie night can be quite an expense when you add the cost of tickets, snacks and drinks. Newly released film tickets are especially pricey. Many times, you can attend movie screenings of films for free.

Movie Screenings are the advance showings of a film to a select group of people and the general public is not allowed to attend. These screenings are for research and promotional purposes. These advanced screenings are free and usually targeted towards specific people and areas. Besides a free movie, many times you will get cool swag.

Tickets generally go quickly and are restricted to certain cities. There are many different companies that give away tickets to screenings, so the first step is to find one in your city.

When you receive your tickets it’s good to remember the following tips:

  • Read the ticket. Many tickets are valid for 2 admittances.
  • Screenings are ALWAYS overbooked, so arrive early. As much as an hour early if then film has a lot of pre-release hype.
  • Take an ID, especially if the film is rated R.
  • Drinks and snacks are not included (sometimes you can bring your own!)
  • Cell phones and recording devices are not allowed. Especially with new phone technology – usually your bag will be checked and if you have a phone, you must return to your car and leave it there.
  • You should never pay for an advance screening ticket – they are always FREE.

Some screening tickets found online are first come, some are contests, some are random. These sites are ALL FREE to use.

Film Metro – screenings in 40 major U.S. cities

Free Movie Screenings – mostly in Boston (this site also sometimes has tickets to other non-movie events)

Gofobo – Movie Screenings, Movie Events, and Sweepstakes

Nielsen Movie View – Research company film screenings

Entertainment Weekly – Periodic free screenings of movies and TV series

Fox Searchlight – email newsletter alerts about screenings.

Poptimal – infrequent free movie screenings

The Village Voice – New York only movie tickets & other giveaways

Scene Stealers – Movie passes for Kansas City

Chud – movie-related giveaways and film passes

Good Luck and enjoy your Free Movie Tickets!

Free Date Nights: Part 1

Think it’s hard to plan a fun or romantic evening without dropping a lot of cash? Well, we have lots of suggestions for FREE and Cheap things to do for all different types of daters. Whether you’ve just met someone new or you’ve been married for two decades, whether you like adventure and unusual dates or you prefer a romantic evening at home there is an inexpensive date for everyone to enjoy.

Part 1 is a listing of Free Date ideas for new daters

If you’re just getting to know each other it can be especially hard to get together in a budget, but don’t be intimidated. Here are some ideas for free dates that will allow you to really connect and learn more about the person you like.

  • 20 Questions & Truth or Dare – playing ice breaker games is a great way to get to know someone quickly. Take turns asking 20 questions about the other person that they have to answer. Try to make most of them open-ended to get a good discussion going, then add in some “what is your favorite…” to get to know their likes and dislikes better. If you are more adventurous, you can play Truth or Dare. You still get to ask the questions, but get some fun dares in along the way. Make sure not to dare anything that will embarass the other person. You can turn this into an outing by walking around town or the park and playing while you walk. It will give you more opportunities for dares (“I dare you to take off your shoes and run through the fountain,” “I dare you to ask that guy with the guitar to play your favorite song.”) and it will let you people watch along the way.
  • Teach Each Other Your Hobbies – do you play an instrument? Are you crafty? You can spend an afternoon teaching your guy to knit or teaching your girl to play the bass. This lets you talk to each other about something that you’re passionate about and what your history is with your hobby. You’re sure to get close and to have some laughs during your instructions. Make sure to keep it light-hearted and fun – you’re not a professor! Enjoy spending time with someone new and doing what you love. Maybe your date shares the same hobby as you, too.
  • Take a Hike. If you like to be outdoors – and you know that your date does, too – plan a local hike. Tell your date to dress casually and head to a local scenic point. If you’re not sure where to go, check your city’s resources to see what parks, bike and walking paths are in the area. If you both own bikes or rollerblades, you could try that, too. Many cities also have free Frisbee Golf courses at local parks. If you both have dogs, invite your date (and her dog) to join you at the local dog park where your pooches can play together, or go on a run with your pets.
  • Explore Your City. If it’s great weather, but you aren’t particularly “outdoorsy” – take an urban hike! Become a tourist in your city. Walk downtown and look at the architecture; sit on a bench and watch the people passing by; walk down to the river and feed the ducks. Many cities have free brochures of walking tours with information about historical spots. Point out your favorite building, or talk about your memories of particular spots.
  • Share Your Childhood. If you’ve lived in your city all your life or close to where you grew up, take your date on a tour of your childhood. If you live a short drive away, drive past the home you grew up in, the schools you attended, and the playgrounds you used to play at. It can conjour up a lot of neat memories for you to share and help your date to learn more about you.
  • Rainy Days. If the weather is poor, don’t cancel your date. It’s a perfect opportunity to stay in. If you have a library card, you can rent DVDs free of charge from your local library branch. You can both go to the library together and each choose a film, or you can choose the movie and fix your date dinner to go along. If you choose a foreign movie, you can pair the cuisine to the film location.
  • Free Summer Events. Many cities have a variety free events during the summer. Do a little research (online or in the local paper) for upcoming events near you. There may be free music at a shopping center, free movies screened in the city park, or free fireworks near the water. Many events are series that repeat on particular days throughout the summer. If something free is happening on a Wednesday night that sounds fun, don’t wait for Saturday for a date! Sometimes it can seem more spontaneous to go out during the week, and make your date feel like they couldn’t wait to see you. They don’t need to know that you’re saving money by taking them out on a different night.

Check the blog again tomorrow for more low-cost date ideas.

In the meantime, feel free to add a comment! Are you dating someone new and trying to find creative ways to save money? Post your inexpensive dating ideas here – we’d love to hear from you!

How to Vacation When Your Budget doesn’t Allow Travel.

Vacation at Home without breaking the bank

Summer Fun can be Cheap

Everyone wants their family to have fun during the summer. If you can’t afford to take your kids on a week-long vacation to Disneyworld or the beach, you can still have a good time without overspending and make it a summer that they will remember.

For much less money than flying or driving your family cross-country for a summer getaway, you can explore your own backyard by becoming a tourist in your city. With a little effort you can get out of the rut of watching TV all summer and being immersed in your daily routine and instead see the adventures around you with new eyes.

Your town may have certain days during the summer that offer free admission to the zoo, museums, arboretum or botanical gardens. By doing things close to home, you can offer your family an entire summer’s worth of adventures instead of just a week away. Your kids will enjoy spending more time with you and being able to do many different things. When staying close to home, it is possibly to make every weekend a “staycation.”

If you have a camera, let your child take photos of the places you go. There are always coupons for photo processing that will let you print pictures for pennies. If you don’t own a camera, buy a disposable and let your child take a few photos at each place you visit. Give them a notebook that they can journal in. At the end of the summer, they can turn the journal entries and photos and create a scrapbook of their summer fun. They won’t feel left out when they go back to school and the teacher asks everyone, “what did you do for your summer vacation.”

Resources:

  • Do an internet search for your city or county to find the official government website. On the website for your city, you should be able to find links to interesting events and free summer activities.
  • Do an internet search for “your city” + day trips. You can find interesting places to explore with your family that are a short drive (2-3 hours at the most) from your town.
  • Visit your public library and/or bookstore and ask if they have a “local” section. Many times there are books featuring day trips, hiking trails, outdoor excursions, and interesting locales that are near you.

Do’s

  • Encourage your kids to help you plan where to go. Get them excited about vacationing close to home by getting them involved in the process.
  • Pack a lunch. If you’re taking a short drive for a day trip, or visit to the arboretum or park, pack a cooler with sandwiches, snacks, and drinks. Eating out is expensive, and food kiosks at the zoo or other spots can be particularly pricey. Make it fun by having a picnic outdoors on a bench or under a tree. Don’t forget to pack plates, plasticware, and a trash bag!
  • Explain to your children why you can’t take a traveling vacation this summer. If they understand that money is tight they will be less likely to pout and more likely to get involved with the summer plans.

Book Budget Burning Holes in Your Pockets?

How to save money on books.

So Many Books, So Little Money.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/coyotejack/ / CC BY 2.0

Are you an avid reader, but don’t currently have spending money for books?
Check out these money-saving tips that will help you keep up with the best-sellers without draining the bank.

1. The Public Library

Most people are familiar with their local public library, but if you haven’t yet taken advantage of this great, free resource, here are some reasons why we think you should.

Public libraries are plentiful. Wherever you reside, there is bound to be one in easy driving distance to your home or work.
A library card is free. Just show your state ID and get a free library card. There is no charge to check out books from a public library, and there are only nominal fees if your book is overdue. Check with the library about due date extensions and ways to avoid fees if you’re concerned about not getting a book returned on time.
Not just for studying. Libraries aren’t just for studies anymore. While you can still find the dusty reference books in the back, libraries are packed with popular fiction of every genre. Find brand new best-sellers, recommendations from library workers, magazines, books for children and teenagers, and more. You can even join a book club through the library or check out book club selections on display for suggestions of popular reads.
Entertainment Triumvirate. If you’re like most people, books are not your sole (or even your primary) form of entertainment. Did you know you can also checkout DVDs and CDs for free from your local library? It’s true! At some libraries, the return date may be less than the standard 2 weeks, but you are able to take home DVDs, VHS tapes, CDs and both books and music on Cassette Tape. Why rent a movie for five bucks when you can get a selection for the entire family for free?
Order Books. If the selection at your local branch of the library is less than desirable you can have books transferred from neighboring branches or even request titles to be carried by your library branch. Check with the information desk or the library website for details on how to get the exact titles or authors you really want.

Find a public library near you.

Stack of library books.

Library books make for free reading.

2. Book Swaps

If you’re lucky enough to have a plethora of already-read books on your bookshelves, one of the many book swapping opportunities may be right for you.

PaperbackSwap.com

When you register and add at least 10 books of yours that you’re willing to “swap,” you will get two credits for free books from other members. Just search for a book you want, request it, and the owner will ship it to you for free. When someone requests one of the books you’ve listed on the site, you will ship it to them via USPS media mail (usually around $2 per book). After you’ve sent a book to someone, you will receive another book “credit” allowing you to pick out another book for free. Essentially, it works out to about $2 per book trade with 2 freebies given to you when you sign up. If you’re an avid reader and like to keep some of your books instead of returning them to the library, this is the service for you.PaperBackSwap.com - Book Club to Swap, Trade & Exchange Books for Free.

Bookins.com

When you register at Bookins, you automatically receive 15 free points, good for about 3 books. All you pay for is shipping, currently $4.49 per book that you receive – free for books you send to others. Books are worth different point values depending on how popular a title is.

SwapTree.com

Similar to PaperBackSwap, this online service lets you add items to a “have” list and a “want” list. The powerful matching software then finds someone who has something you want and sets up a trade between the two of you. No need to purchase packing materials; just print out a shipping wrapper and ship via Media Mail. By referring friends to the service you also earn free shipping. What’s more, this website trades not only books, but also CDs, DVDs, and video games.

Bookcrossing.com

BookCrossing is earth-friendly, and gives you a way to share your books, clear your shelves, and conserve precious resources at the same time. Through our own unique method of recycling reads, BookCrossers give life to books. Here’s how it works. Register with BookCrossing, take the books you don’t need anymore, register them on the site, then mark the books with a unique tracking code. Pass the coded books along to a friend or “release” them into the wild. If someone finds your book and visits the site, you get to “track” where your book has been and follow its adventure all over the world. You can also use book crossing to “hunt” for books near you. Just select your state and city from a list and you can see where people near you have released books that you can go find and take home for yourself. There are also BookCrossing Zones all over the world where books get exchanged on a regular basis.

Need to save money on costly College textbooks? Use SwapBooks to cheaply buy, sell, and swap textbooks.

Trade for books and everything else (and I do mean, everything!) on sites like TitleTrader.com and BarterQuest.com. TitleTrader lets you earn trading points to redeem for what you want and BarterQuest is a cashless trading site. A trade occurs when a user makes an trade offer, another user accepts the offer, and the first user confirms the trade. Trades can be for any type of good, service, or even real estate.