Cutting the Entertainment Budget

From movies, books and magazines to dinners out, we spend a fortune on entertainment. If you have the budget for it, that’s wonderful. Not everyone does though. Taking a family of four to the movies can cost close to $50 and that doesn’t include the refreshments. So how do you cut costs without going stir crazy? Let me show you.


Most major magazines and newspapers have online versions you can read for free so start by cancelling those subscriptions. You can get all your news, weather and gossip with the click of your mouse. Most libraries carry popular magazines and local newspapers too.

A paperback book used to be such a deal you didn’t mind throwing it away or passing it on when you were done. Now, with an average cost of $8 or more, an avid reader could be throwing away quite a fortune by the end of the year. There are other options. Invest in an e-reader like the Kindle and download your books at half the cost. Plus you don’t have the clutter or disposal problem that you have with paper books. You could also just get the books from the library or a local book swap. Don’t have a book swap in your area? Start one!


If you can stand it, avoid eating out altogether. If not, limit your excursions to just once a month. Make it someplace you really enjoy so that you’ll look forward to it and not feel deprived. Try splitting an entrée with someone when you eat out. Have young children split entrees. Eat at home but make some entertainment nights out it like a “Make Your Pizza” night or family game night. Find other families and rotate houses for cooking get-togethers.


Cancel your cable or satellite subscription and subscribe to a service like Netflix. You can watch recently aired television shows and movies for about $10 a month instead of $60, $80 or more per month. When you want to watch new releases, rent those on $1 night from your local video store or order them from Netflix. When going out to the show, attend matinee showings. Ask if your theater has a “cheap” night. Many do on Mondays or Tuesdays in order to draw crowds out to normally dismal attendance days. Some cities have discount theaters that charge less than the big name theaters. They show new releases later than the others but you can still enjoy the theater experience. Eat a meal before you go so you are less tempted to purchase snacks.