6 Low-Cost Entertainment Ideas

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How to Have Fun Without Breaking the Bank!

On average, Americans are working nearly nine hours each day and spend much of their free time caring for others, driving around town, and completing household chores.  With our busy lifestyles and fast-paced schedules, quality entertainment is more important than ever before. We need entertainment and non-work activities to clear our mind and provide a little work-life balance.

Yet paying for entertainment can be extremely expensive; in fact, the average American spends $2,504 on entertainment according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. From concerts to movies to sporting events, hiked up ticket prices make it difficult to fork over the cash it takes to have fun. So here are six low-cost alternative ideas that leave you with something to do, without breaking the bank:

Break Out the Board Games- Whether you’re a fan of Monopoly or Euchre, or want to try something new, revive your childhood experiences by breaking out the board games. Extremely cost effective, or even free if you already own the game, board games are a great source of entertainment for groups of friends and families with children.

Pack a Picnic- In 2010, the average consumer spent $2,505 eating away from home, according to the United States Department of Labor. While many eat out for the sake of convenience, going out for leisurely meals is a popular form of entertainment. To save a substantial amount of money, try packing a picnic instead. Not only will you pay less than you would at a restaurant for your meal, but you’ll enjoy the change of pace and spending time with friends and family.

Go Camping…in Your Backyard- When the weather is nice, camping and similar outdoor activities serve as a great form of entertainment for many. Yet by the time you pay for meals, transportation, a campsite and the proper gear, the price-tag on your weekend really adds up. Try something new and camp in your backyard. You can still have the whole experience—s’mores, campfire, sleeping bags and all—for a tenth of the cost.

Take a Trip to the Zoo- Most zoos are either free or reasonably priced considering the wide variety of animals you’ll have a chance to spot. Zoos can entertain young couples and families alike. Try taking a trip to the zoo the next time you need an alternative to a pricey concert or ball-game ticket.

Swim, Bike, Run. Don’t feel pressured to train for a triathlon, but swimming, biking and running are fairly inexpensive activities, especially if you set out the intention is to have fun. Community pools offer reasonably priced one-day passes. Renting a bike, if you don’t already own one, can be an entertaining way to spend a day exploring your town. And if you have the proper shoes, take a jog with the dog, spouse or even your kids.

Sign up to Volunteer. You never have to worry about monetary costs when it comes to volunteering, because it’s typically free and a great use of free time. If you sign up to volunteer for an organization that supports something you are passionate about, whether it be hunger or local kids that need tutoring, you’ll find that giving up your extra time to help others is the most rewarding form of entertainment.

Saving money on entertainment is not always the easiest thing to do because the opportunities that present themselves are typically the most costly of the bunch. You’ll have to do some digging in your local paper and blogs if you are interested in discounted, local entertainment. If you’re willing to be creative and go along with the flow, you’ll have no problem finding low-cost alternatives to high-priced entertainment.