How to Reduce Entertainment Spending

We know you don’t have a lot of free time. After all, it seems like you and every other UC Davis student you know spends every blessed waking hour in the library or lab. But somehow when you tote up how much money you’ve spent every month, the all-encompassing “entertainment” category always sucks down the lion’s share of your budget. Well, after all, Thirsty Thursday has to be celebrated. Then you just had to go see that new movie and since you studied through dinner, you decided to pay an arm and a leg for the theater’s hot dog/nacho/drink combo. Money just seems to slide out of your bank account. (We know, we have the same problem. We should just open a tab at Thai Nakorn.)

Happily, there are a lot of ways you can cut the fat off your entertainment budget without feeling a significant pinch. did a thorough post detailing several ways to pare down your expenses.

If you must go out to a restaurant, do some research to see if you can discover some good, inexpensive options in your area. Find out if there are any good happy hour or weekly specials near you. Look for coupons or special deals online before you go [both online and in the local papers]. In some cases, you might be able to find an early-in, early-out special. When eating out, one budget conscious approach is to share meals and to have a variety of side dishes rather than more expensive main meals.

Stay out of bars. If you drink alcohol, you can save hundreds of dollars by drinking at home instead of at the bar. Even better, if you still love the socializing (and who doesn’t), cut down on how much you drink and intersperse all drinks with water, a wake-up latte and good conversation.

Think local. You can find quite a bit of low cost entertainment locally, if you know where to look. Some things to consider in the way of local entertainment:

  • Local musicians, comedians, and performers can be seen in parks, concert halls, outdoor theaters, community centers, and bars on almost any night of the week, and they cost less than half of what a concert or Broadway show does.
  • County fairs and city carnivals offer inexpensive, close-to-home entertainment throughout the summer.
  • City and community activities such as ice cream socials, free concerts or shows in the park, and covered bridge festivals are offered by many small and large towns. Check your city’s website, or check with City Hall for information on activities offered by your community.
  • High school college games and events. Many high schools offer admission to games, band concerts, talent shows, and dance performances at little to no cost. Colleges and universities also offer plays, music concerts, and ball game tickets at inexpensive prices.

The latter tip is especially true here in the Davis area. There is a ton of free/nearly-free stuff to do every weekend and many weekdays. Read The Davis Enterprise or do a Google search. You’ll be amazed!

Want more ideas? There are plenty of others in the original post.