First Person: We Spend Less Than $50 a Month on Entertainment

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Cable packages, movie tickets and amusement park fees are expensive. As a result, it's easy for a family of four to spend hundreds of dollars on entertainment. Yet, having fun doesn't have to cost a lot of money. In fact, with some careful planning and bargain hunting, I only have to spend about $50 a month on entertainment.

Television

A few years ago, we were paying about $100 a month for extended cable and a DVR. This was too expensive. Thus, we cut the cable and purchased an online streaming service for $7.99 a month. We can still watch the majority of our favorite shows at a fraction of the cost.

Movies

When I was in college, I used to go to the movies a lot. Now, tickets prices for an adult matinee are $10 in my neighborhood. Although I can get discount tickets at AAA, this can still add up quickly. Thus, unless we have a gift card, we skip the theater. Instead, we have a streaming Netflix movie account for $7.99 a month. I also use promotion codes for Red Box movies so I typically get the rental for free.

Free Activities

Our community has a lot of free, family-friendly activities. There are movies and concerts in the park. Free story times, nice parks and holiday events keep my kids busy at no cost. In addition, we have some free museums in the area that we occasionally visit. In the summer, we go to the beach for some complimentary surf, sun and sand.

Dining Out

About once a month, my husband and I go on "dinner" date. We usually order water while abstaining from appetizers and dessert. For anniversaries and birthdays, we may eat near the beach. However, we go at lunchtime to keep the costs down. Even at a nice restaurant, this allows us to eat for about $30.

Passes

Each Christmas, we ask my children's grandparents for passes to the zoo or an amusement park. This year, we received passes to the zoo and Safari Park. We also took advantage of a special promotion for teachers to receive a free pass to Sea World. Thus, every time we go to one of these destinations we don't have to pay. Along with seeing the animals, there are shows, special exhibits and holiday festivals to keep everyone entertained. Parking is either free or included in the pass.

It's great to spend a little while saving a lot on entertainment!

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