By Cary Anderson
Entertainment expenses can be pretty ridiculous. As a general rule of thumb, the more time you spend entertaining yourself at home as opposed to outside the home, the more money you're likely saving.
Cutting out entertainment expenses altogether is pretty impratical, not to mention unhealthy for most people. No matter your budget, you still need the balance in your life that entertainment outlets provide. So let's go over some tips for reducing your entertainment budget without having to reduce your entertainment hours.
By far the best recommendation for lowering your overall entertainment expense is to subscribe to Netflix. By adding a $15 (or so) per month bill to your budget, you'll notice other expenses disappear immediately. Netflix is a great and cheap way to rent movies and have them shipped directly to your door. Getting in a car and burning up gas and time in order to drive to a Blockbuster where you'll pay considerably more for a movie rental is avoided thanks to Netflix. Watch a movie a couple of nights per week, or heck, every night of the week. There are an endless amount of movies out there, so this form of entertainment is unlikely to leave you high and dry anytime soon.
DO Subscribe to Cable TV
Some people try to reduce their budget by not subscribing to cable TV. But what happens is that they get bored since they can't watch TV and wind up leaving the house during which time they spend more money than their monthly cable bill is in the first place. Give yourself lots of reasons to stay home! A good cable subscription is certainly one such reason.
If you have a family, board games are a cheap and fantastic way to have hours and hours of entertaining, family-bonding time together. Stock your house with board games. If you don't have the money to buy a bunch of board games, ask for some for Christmas; they make great gifts! Remember, games are meant to be fun. Who wins and who loses isn't as important as everyone enjoying themselves and feeling comfortable in their home which should be a positive and relaxing environment.
If You're Going to Drink, Drink at Home
The cost of alcohol from a store versus the cost of alcohol from most bars is pretty absurd. Not only is alcohol marked up considerably at most bars, but you also have to tip someone for serving it to you. If you like to enjoy one or two (or ten) drinks from time to time, do it at home. Pick up a pizza while you're out grabbing beer; delivery expenses aren't cheap either. Or better yet, pick up a frozen pizza. Most of the time they taste just as good anyway and cost just a couple of bucks.
If you're enjoying a drink but are still feeling a little bored, turn on a sporting event. Even if you don't care about the two teams, you can make youself care about the two teams. Bet your wife/husband/son/uncle/whoever something small, like loser has to take out the trash and load the dishwasher, and then kick back and enjoy the game!
Remember, any night that you stay in is a night where you're saving money, so don't be afraid to spend a little to make staying in easier. Believe me, the savings from doing so add up and will more than pay for themselves.