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Money-Saving Moves To Take Your Entertainment Budget Further

In today’s economic environment, “feeling the strain” may seem natural. Stretching your dollar further can feel like an even more challenging task, especially when it comes to your free time.

One common budgeting tactic is reducing spending on “non-essential” purchases, often luxuries like entertainment. However, it's important to remember that leisure activities are not just luxuries but essential for maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

Here are a few ways you can still incorporate recreational activities like reading, watching, and gaming into your life while staying mindful of your budget. Some of these strategies might even increase your savings.

Save on Books and Printed Publications

With big-box bookstores and coffee shops overtaking the literary landscape, it might be easy to overlook your humble local library. Funded publicly and accessible to all residents, public libraries remain a great place to spend free time.

Your library is a treasure trove of information, and all you need is a library card to access it. Some institutions may require that you be a resident of the county where the library is located to check out and borrow materials. To start an account, you need proof of residency, such as a government-issued ID with your current address (requirements may vary depending on where you live).

Once you have a library card, speak with a librarian to familiarize yourself with the amenities of your branch. You’ll be allowed to check out books and view periodicals. You might also be surprised at the technology available to you!

Your library might also have memberships with app services that are free to members. These apps can provide access to many items, like:

  • Movies
  • Television Shows
  • e-Books
  • Audiobooks

Best of all, since these resources are app-based, you can access your materials wherever you go.

Your public library can also be a hotspot for community events. Read-along events for children are relatively common. You might also catch special engagements, like author meet-and-greets or hobby gatherings where you can meet people with similar interests. Visit your public library’s website for more details.

Of course, if you love the thrill of having a library in your home, it wouldn’t hurt to find a local bookstore specializing in used hardcovers and paperbacks. Many of these places will also buy books you no longer need, which allows you to do some Spring Cleaning while making extra money.

Making Room in Your Budget for Movies

We’ve already suggested that your library can be a great place to borrow films and TV shows. However, their services might be limited to older releases for one reason or another. It’s understandable to want to catch new flicks or participate in the thrill of opening weekend. Here’s what we suggest to save some money at the cinema.

First, be familiar with your local theater’s discounts. Common discounts include:

  • Student
  • Military
  • Senior Citizen

Contact the theater or visit their website to learn about pricing and discounts.

Movie theaters often encourage traffic during “low periods” throughout the week by offering discounted ticket prices on specific days. Another typical price cut is the matinee, which is traditionally a showing during the daytime or early afternoon. Look up the booking information to find the days and times when tickets are lowest.

You can also sign up to preview movies for free at the theater. This is referred to as advanced screenings. When you sign up, you’ll receive notices of screenings where you can reserve tickets for you and a companion. In exchange for previewing the movie for free, you’ll provide feedback about your experience and enjoyment. Common advanced screening film companies include:

  • Warner Bros.
  • Lions Gate
  • Amazon

A quick search for “movie screening sign-up” or “advanced screening sign-up” will yield many great options.

Certain movie chains also offer a loyalty program for a monthly fee. This can provide cost-cutting benefits, like a monthly free movie ticket and discounts at the concession stand. You can “double dip” on the benefits by charging the subscription fee to a rewards points credit card.

Of course, loyalty programs are similar to subscriptions, which may be something you’re trying to reduce. In these cases, weigh the benefits against your situation before committing to anything.

Saving the Most Money on Gaming

Video games are an increasingly popular and growing form of entertainment. If you or someone in your family loves to plug in, then now might be a good time to be aware of as many money-saving opportunities as possible.

Compared to books and movies, video game purchases can be one of the most expensive aspects of your leisure budget (think up to 70 dollars for a major release, and that’s before the cost of microtransactions or added content). Knowing this, knowing where and when to shop to get the best bang for your buck is essential.

Try to shop online for digital copies of video games. Today, the major gaming consoles have their own online storefronts that allow you to buy and download titles directly. Adopting a “digital first” approach to game purchases ensures you hardly ever need to pay full price for a video game.

How is this possible? Online stores are most likely to host events that offer steep discounts—especially for games. Major sales events occur during the summer and winter holiday seasons. Some storefronts may also host sales during significant celebrations like Halloween or the Lunar New Year.

You can use your preferred platform’s wishlist feature, which is similar to getting pricing alerts from a department store. Save a title you like to a wishlist, and you can get real-time updates when something gets a discount or price change.

You may be surprised at how much further your dollar can go after applying these strategies. First Florida makes it easier to get extra perks for your everyday purchases. With rewards checking and our Diamond Rewards Visa Card, you have suitable options to match your lifestyle.


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