“Hello everyone! Today I have a guest post from Steven, which is a personal finance guru with more then 20 years experience helping individuals and families improve their financial situation. Let me know if you would like to guest post on Finance For Geek.” – Vincent
Even though we may work a full-time job, eight hours a day, five days a week, we all have several hours each day plus weekends in which we are left to our own devices, using our down-time however we see fit. This leisure time presents us with some rewarding and relaxing opportunities, like engaging in hobbies, going out with friends, or consuming media on the Internet, television, etc. Leisure time is absolutely necessary for our overall well-being, but it can also become expensive if we don’t watch out. Here are a few ways to save on your entertainment budget.
1. Cancel all your print publications
Many love the feeling of having their favorite newspapers and magazines delivered to them. Leafing through a publication is a relaxing experience in and of itself, but if you have several paper subscriptions, you’re essentially throwing away hundreds of dollars, especially if you don’t read every single article (which most of don’t, despite our best intentions). Switching to online subscriptions is not only more economical, it’s more environmentally friendly, too.
2. Still buying CDs or DVDs? Welcome to the world of free streaming and downloading
For audiophiles and serious movie buffs, purchasing DVDs and CDs makes some sense. But if you aren’t in the business of collecting movies or music, then stop buying these items in stores. You can find nearly any album, song, or movie online for free. At the very most, you’ll pay a marginal fee. If you prefer watching movies on a bigger screen, invest in an adapter that hooks your computer to your television.
3. Instead of hitting the clubs, bars, and restaurants, consider throwing dinner parties
Entertainment venues, especially if you live in a large urban area, are wonderful places to convene and socialize, but after all the cover charges, drinks, valet parking, etc., having nights on the town becomes an expensive habit. You can have just as much fun hosting potluck dinners with friends. Take turns playing host, encourage everyone to bring an entrée or drink to share, and there you have it cheaper, healthier, more creative socializing without all the extras.
4. Before investing in a hobby or activity that you aren’t yet serious about, go cheap
You know the story you decide you want to start exercising regularly, you buy that expensive piece of gym equipment, and a few months later, it’s collecting dust in a garage or storage unit. Despite our vivid visualizations of having a toned six pack or being the lead guitar man in a rock band, we don’t usually put in sustained time and effort into a new hobby or activity. Not to sound discouraging sometimes we do.
But before you’ve reached the point in which you’ve consistently incorporated the new activity into your routine, spend as little money as possible. Instead of investing in a treadmill, start jogging every day. Instead of buying a brand spanking new electric guitar, amps, and paying for lessons from a pro, buy a used acoustic and a how-to book. Once you’ve reached a certain level of mastery, then you can logically invest more money as your interest grows.
These are just a few ways to save on our entertainment budget. While many people equate leisure with money, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a simple change of attitude and spending behavior, you can save and have as much, or even more, fun.
Steven is a personal finance guru with more then 20 years experience helping individuals and families improve their financial situation. Make sure to visit his personal blog, Credit Zeal, for free help and advice with credit repair and debt management.