18 ways to save money on entertainment

We all love to enjoy dining out and events, but there are ways to save money on entertainment if you want to cut costs and keep the family budget under control.

When you’re looking to cut back on expenses, entertainment is one discretionary area of the budget that can be reduced. The average Australian household spends $4500 a year on entertainment, so there’s definitely room to change our habits and spend less on entertainment.

I’ve shared below my top tips on how to save money on entertainment. There are lots of ways to cut back but it’s also important not to cut everything out though – you still need to have some fun! Choose what’s most important to your family and make some cuts in the areas that are less important.

entertainment

With all the streaming services, dining options and entertainment on offer, it can be so easy for these costs to get out of hand without you realising. Try these tips to cut back on expenses on entertainment.

  • Catch up with friends at home instead of going out. You can enjoy a BBQ, have a movie night or even get out the board games for an old-fashioned games night.
  • Borrow books and audiobooks from the library or from a friend, instead of buying them. If you have a friend who is a reader, share the books you’ve already read with them and ask to borrow some of their favourites. You can do this with kids’ books too – swap with a friend when they’ve read them or have moved onto a new reading level.
  • Limit the number of streaming services you subscribe to. It’s so easy to sign up to a free trial of a new streaming service to access a TV show, and before you know it, you’re paying three of four monthly subscriptions. I suggest cutting this back to your favourites. The beauty of paying monthly is that you can swap around each month to mix up your viewing options. One mum I know turns Disney Plus on but only for the school holidays – during term time she switches it off so the kids can concentrate on their school work.
  • Cancel paid apps and subscriptions you don’t need, such as fitness and lifestyle apps. Again, it’s easy to subscribe to these services and think it’s only a few dollars each month, but they do add up. If you’re not using them regularly, you’re probably not getting your money’s worth so hit cancel and keep those dollars in your account.
  • Enjoy movies at home. Cinemas are fantastic but it can be expensive, especially if you buy food while you’re there. Try having a movie night at home with the family instead – choose a film from your streaming services or rent one. If you do go to the cinema, try to go in off-peak periods and take your own snacks.
Ways to save money on entertainment

Kat’s tip: Sometimes it’s just impossible to attend every weekend away, party, race day or event you’re invited to. Don’t feel obliged to go to every event, especially if it’s going to put pressure on your budget. Sometimes it’s okay to just say no.

  • Make your own cocktails or adult slushies at home instead of going to a bar. Plan your night ahead of time and make sure there are enough ingredients to make your favourite cocktails – you can ask everyone to bring a bottle to contribute.
  • Attend free events – check your local council website and events calendars to see what’s on for free. You can often find outdoor cinema nights, family fun days and live performances being offered free of charge.
  • Visit the museum or art gallery – many of these public spaces are free to enter and offer a great day out. 
  • Explore nature – pack a picnic and go and explore your local nature reserve. You can enjoy a whole day this way, taking a bushwalk and reconnecting with nature. Other free ways to spend time in nature are hiking, kayaking or fishing.
  • Look for discounts – you can often find discount coupon codes for things like theme parks, zoos and other attractions on sites such as Groupon. Sometimes there’s also a local’s discount you can access for cheaper tickets.
  • Buy secondhand games, gaming consoles and other entertainment equipment. 
  • Don’t buy rounds of drinks – you’re not obligated to buy drinks for others when you’re out.
  • See local bands and shows – Seeing those big budget productions is certainly an experience to treasure, but unless it’s your favourite ever band or show, skip buying those pricey tickets or be more selective in what you go to. Try seeing local bands, stand-up comics and theatre shows instead.
  • Have dinner at the pub – Pubs and taverns these days usually have an affordable, family-friendly menu with good specials. Sometimes taverns offer fun experiences such as trivia nights and live music too. Some local pubs have free craft activities or face painting for kids on Friday and Saturday nights. Dinner at the pub is often cheaper than many fine dining restaurants.
  • Try podcasts – there are so many podcasts being produced across just about any area of interest you can think of and they are generally free to access. Podcasts are great entertainment when you’re driving, walking or doing the cleaning/ironing. Find them on AppleSpotify or Google Podcasts.
  • Have a staycation – instead of taking a holiday, holiday at home. This might mean you stay somewhere within driving distance, or it might just mean having a few days to explore local sights and fun.
  • Share a holiday – You can also share a holiday with family or friends – booking a big house to share will often make it more affordable for everyone. Try Airbnb for cheaper accommodation options.
  • Turn your hobby into a business – If you love making candles, ceramics, making jewellery or body products, why not try selling some of your creation on Etsy? This will help cover your costs of materials and maybe earn you a nice side income too.
Ultimately, saving money is about shifting your mindset and choosing what you want to prioritise. I hope this has given you some helpful ideas to save money on entertainment.

Want more budget tips?

Read my blog 18 ways to save money on food.

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