Saving on Entertainment

Having fun doesn't have to cost a fortune. There are a variety of activities that cost little to no money, yet offer great entertainment value.

The Great Outdoors

For people who like spending time outside, nature offers a variety of options. Walking, hiking, bike riding and rollerblading are great ways to spend time with others or alone while getting healthy at the same time. Other options include playing a game of catch, Frisbee or team sports.

For those who prefer to watch others play, try catching a local team. Minor league, high school or college teams, even little league teams, offer the same high-energy excitement of the major leagues for a fraction of the cost - or even free! Added bonuses are better seats, less traffic and more flexible schedules.

Outdoor activities don't have to require sports, however. Try packing a picnic and eating at a park or by a lake. Or act like a kid and check out the jungle gym. Many local organizations offer free concerts at nearby parks as the weather gets warmer. When the heat becomes unbearable, hit the beach or the local pool for a mid-summer cooldown. When the sun goes down, try a little stargazing.

Warm weather also brings out the fairs and festivals. Look for local events that provide low-cost entertainment. Plan your excursion for a time between meals to cut down temptation on pricey fair food.

Going Out

For those who prefer a night on the town, check out clubs, bars and restaurants in the area to find happy hour specials or off-peak savings. For a quieter excursion, try checking out local cafe or bookstore events. Many will offer musicians or readings at little to no cost. Enjoy a beverage and just relax.

Rather than pay a fortune for the latest headliner's concert, check out local bands for less expensive options. Discover a new group and try something new. From classical to rock, concerts take place on a regular basis. Look in your local newspaper or classified paper to get the info.

Museums can offer opportunities to broaden horizons, and you can find museums just about everywhere that are either completely free or offer free or discounted days. Search the internet for museums offering free passes, or check out your local library to borrow or purchase discounted passes.

Speaking of libraries, browse websites or newsletters of nearby libraries to find tons of free entertainment, from children's programs to book clubs, concerts, lectures, and more.

If you're a AAA member, discount tickets to movies and other area attractions can often be purchased at your local office, as well.

Staying In

When the weather gets cold, or you don't feel like going out, there are plenty of at-home options. Instead of zoning in front of the TV, try watching a movie. OnDemand choices or Netflix are low-cost alternatives to the box office, or check out the library for a large selection - for free. Check out a new TV series or recent blockbuster.

The library also offers books and CDs that can provide entertainment value for no additional cost. Borrow a book and spend an evening curled up at home or outdoors. Check out cookbooks and try a new recipe for dinner or dessert. Listen to a new musical artist or a bestselling author on CD.

Keep your mind active by trying out a jigsaw puzzle or crossword puzzle. Get some friends together for a potluck dinner and game night. The large variety of board games available means there's an option for every personality. Or try a video game instead. Get a group together and have a marathon to see who gets the farthest or earns the highest score.

Arts and crafts can be entertaining, too. While supplies can get pricy, there are often low-cost kits that can get you started. Paint, knit, draw or sew to your heart's content. Have a camera? Spend some time getting creative with the lens and put together a scrapbook with the results. Collect items in nature and search the internet for a variety of creative uses.

General Tips

Low-cost entertainment options are everywhere. Keep your eyes open for newspaper ads, signs around town and posters hung at local establishments. Search the web for free events and activities in your area or within driving distance. The sheer number of results will astound you!