[Each Monday for the next couple months, I'm going through many of the ways to save money. Read the whole Save Money series.]
I'm opening up the Save Money series with some tips on common forms of entertainment: television, movies, music, and books.
- Television - Most people pay some kind of monthly subscription for television. We are no different from the norm. We even pay for a package that includes a high-definition DVR and HBO (it was cheaper with the HBO included - odd but true). This is one area where we splurge since it saves costs in other areas. If you don't watch a lot of television one way to save money is to cut your cable tv completely (figuratively of course). Another option is to call up their cable company and threaten to cancel to get a discount. I don't like to give an empty threat and the satellite options aren't very good for us.
- Movie Theaters - With Comcast OnDemand shows saved on DVR, and free HBO, my wife and I almost never go to the movies. We've seen 3-4 in the three and a half years that we've known each other. We did notice at Costco you could get discounted movie tickets with no blackouts or exceptions. We'll likely grab a couple of passes to keep around the home. Of course not going to movies also means that we don't spend money on overpriced candy or popcorn.
- Movie Rentals - Many people have a subscription service like Netflix or rent movies at Blockbuster for $3 or $4 a piece. We can substitute television like the movie theaters in many cases. In the rare case, we hear about a fabulous movie on DVD, we take advantage of the DVD Play at the local Safeway, which has $1.50 rentals for one day. We wish there was a local Redbox so that it would be just $1.
- Music - Pandora fulfills most of my everyday music needs. I supplement it with free radio. I also have many CDs that I converted to MP3s from my college days when I wasn't as frugal. In retrospect, I was fairly frugal. I used those BMG offers of 10 for the price of 1 with only limited required future purchases. When I did make a future purchase, I made sure that it was a monthly buy one get two free. By the time I was done buying my 5 required CDs, I ended up paying around $115 for around 20-25 CDs - not a horrible price considering what Tower Records charged.
- Books - My wife likes romance novels (and recommends Review Romance Novel as a great blog if you are like-minded). I don't know what kind of romance she see in me, but that's a different story. I like business books. We find that we can get both types of books and more from PaperBackSwap.com. You offer up some books that you are willing to trade and in return, you get to borrow books from other people. The sender pays the shipping and gets reviewed. You earn credits by either making books available or lending books out. You spend credit every time that you request a book be sent to you. I was able to pick up Dave Carnegie's How to Win Friends & Influence People for free, but will have to send out a book at the cost of a $2-3 in the near future. That's still cheaper than buying the book myself - a lot cheaper. Another great option is your local library. We prefer PaperBackSwap since we aren't sure if we are going to finish a book 3 months from now.
Please add your own suggestions in the comments.
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