3 Ways to Cut Your Entertainment Budget Without Cutting Entertainment

Posted Feb. 24, 2014, at 11:43 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 25, 2014, at 11:43 a.m.

Are entertainment expenses at the top of your monthly budget? Rent, mortgage, and utilities are must-dos, but believe it or not, some families pay tons of

money to eat out, attend concerts, and visit the movie theater. Here are three ways to help your entertainment budget shrink each month while still

entertaining yourself.

Find Free Local Events

Many cities and towns (or neighboring areas) offer tons of free things to do, especially on the weekends. Some things to look for include:

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Free symphony performances or concerts

Art shows

Events at parks, libraries or other public buildings

Visits to museums

Family free or discount days at restaurants, theaters, etc.

You may have to do some research to find these events

or use the Internet and search for “Free things to do in (your city) this weekend.” Many TV stations and online directories offer tons of information on free or low-cost activities and events.

Cut the TV, Satellite, Phone and Internet Expenses

All those ads you see where cable and satellite companies compete for your business offering low monthly fees sound great, but many of them are just for new customers. In addition, the low pricing they offer may only be for a certain period of time and then your monthly charges explode and become very expensive.

Bundling TV, phone, and Internet also sounds like a great offer, but with all the new technology out there today, there are ways you can cut down on these entertainment expenses as well.

Check out phone systems that utilize a USB jack to save on telephone calls. Look for these in big box stores or search for companies that offer them on the Internet.

Choose an off-air TV antenna and eliminate cable and satellite expenses. With analog television a thing of the past, you can take advantage of the technology developed from necessity.

These antennas pick-up signals from HDTV television stations and stream them into your home. Antennas are available in short, medium, and long ranges to meet your needs. The one-time price you pay for an off-air antenna will save thousands of dollars each year.

If your monthly Internet charges are high, there are a few things you can do. Check your bills and see how often the charges rose. Next, call you provider and ask why there was an increase and see if they’ll discount your monthly charges. Many consumers simply pay the bill when Internet charges are increased without finding out why — a call to your provider and a nice attitude may help to get those costs slashed back to the affordable price

You may also want to check out various providers, especially if your contract with your current provider has expired or you have no contract. You’d be surprised at what some companies are charging for you to send email, browse the Web and play games compared to what others charge.

Cut Down on Eating Out

The Huffington Post asked Dr. Mark Hyman about the importance of eating at home and skipping fast food. Not only will preparing meals at home cut down on food expenses, it may just save your life. According to Dr. Hyman, “One in five breakfasts is from McDonald’s. The most important and the most powerful tool you have to change your health and the world is your fork.”

Those are pretty powerful statements but they are both true. Fast food is high in fat and cholesterol and both are bad for our bodies. And, eating in can be fun. Ways to make your family want to eat at home and skip dining out include:

Start a home garden and get the kids involved in its care, harvesting and cooking grown foods and spices.

Join a food co-op and find innovative ways to cook vegetables and fruits you’re given each month.

Instead of just watching TV cooking shows, try out those recipes. The Food Network, morning TV websites, etc.

Have a Q&A with your kids on which foods are healthy for you and which aren’t. Explain why the bad foods are bad. After the Q&A, cook something the entire family can get involved with like a healthy salad.

Cooking and eating at home is not only healthier for you, it will save you money on dining out.

If you follow these three ideas to cut down on entertainment expenses, you’ll still be fully entertained and your budget will reap the benefits

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