SAVE MONEY ON ENTERTAINMENT - Slide Show
Slide Show

SAVE MONEY ON ENTERTAINMENT

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Having fun doesn't mean you have to blow your budget.

If your recent "nights out" consist of a walk to your mailbox to pick up your latest Netflix movie or browsing the shelves at your local Wal-Mart, it's time to get back in the saddle.

Here are 12 fun ways to get more out of your entertainment dollar:
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WAIT TO THE LAST MINUTE

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When it gets down to a couple hours before the performance, the theater may start selling "rush" tickets at a fraction of the price. It would rather sell the seats at a bargain than let them go empty. Consolidated discount ticket booths are popping up in cities nationwide. Or call your favorite home-town theater to see if it offers price cuts directly to the public right before show time.

Of course, there's a good chance a show will sell out. So it pays to keep your plans flexible.
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CHECK OUT THE LIBRARY

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Dust off your library card and enjoy DVDs and books for free. If you'd normally rent a movie a week and buy a book a month, you can cut costs by $30.

Plus, check out library-sponsored events, such as book readings and clubs, film screenings and lectures.
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WORK OR VOLUNTEER

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Here's a great way for cash-strapped teenagers and college students to have some fun and make a buck at the same time. Check out part-time jobs at a sports venue, concert hall or theater. You may have to empty a trash can now and then or tear tickets, but you might be able to catch a good portion of the show.

Or volunteer. In exchange for passing out play bills at the door, for example, you may be able to sit in on the performance when your work is done.
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WATCH FOR DISCOUNT DAYS

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Many theaters, museums, galleries, zoos and parks offer special discount days, such as standing room only or pay-what-you-can nights. Some even offer free admission on certain days of the month.

For performances, ask about free or drastically discounted admission to dress rehearsals.
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TEAM UP FOR BABYSITTING

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As any parent knows, a good chunk of any entertainment budget can be eaten up just paying the babysitter. Join forces with a relative, neighbor or friend and trade off watching each other's kids, instead. For example, you watch their kids one Saturday evening and they watch yours the following weekend.

If you spent $10 to $20 a week on a babysitter, you could save $560 to $1,120 per year with your co-op.
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SAVE MONEY ON ENTERTAINMENT - Slide Show | Slide 7 of 13

CATCH A MATINEE

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Matinees aren't just for senior citizens or little kids. You can often get cheap tickets to movies, theater productions and other shows if you attend in the early afternoon instead of the prime evening time slot.

Daytime is also a good time to try out a hot new restaurant. You can get lunch-menu prices for dinner-quality entrees. (Get more tips to save money on dining out.)
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GO WITH A GROUP

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When it comes to finding cheap entertainment, more really is merrier. Buy tickets in bulk to get a 10% (or more) discount to many exhibitions and events. Team up with friends, co-workers or relatives to get the lower rate.
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GET MOVING

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Forget the $40-a-month gym membership that'll cost you almost $500 a year. Instead, check out community centers in your area. Some may be free or charge a minimal fee, such as $100 a year.

Or buy a good pair of running shoes, or dust off that bike and work out the old-fashioned way.
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GIVE THE SECRET HANDSHAKE

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As with many things in life, getting a deal on entertainment can come down to whom you know.

You could score discount tickets to amusement parks, sports arenas and other events through clubs and associations you belong to, such as AAA, AARP, a credit union, alumni or professional association or even your job. Flash your membership card; save money.

And if you're a student, always ask about student discounts with your ID.
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SAVE MONEY ON ENTERTAINMENT - Slide Show | Slide 11 of 13

GO BACK TO COLLEGE

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College campuses are a trove of quality entertainment options, from student musical performances, film festivals, art exhibits, theater productions, dance recitals, sporting events and more.

The best part: Many are free or incredibly inexpensive to attend.
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FIRE YOUR VIDEO STORE

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Spending $5 for a movie at the corner video store can add up quickly. And mail-order subscription services can be costly, too, unless you watch a lot of movies every month to make the expense worth it. Instead, scope out DVD kiosks in your neighborhood.

For example, for $1 per night, you can rent a DVD from Redbox kiosks. They carry new releases and are located nationwide in thousands of convenient spots, such as fast-food restaurants and grocery stores. If you're a once-a-week renter, you could shave your movie costs from $20 a month to a mere $4.
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HEAD OUTDOORS

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There is plenty of free and cheap entertainment to be had at the hands of Mother Nature. Go hiking, picnicking, bird watching, fishing, kayaking or camping. You could even host a campout and hotdog roast in your backyard.

The sky's the limit.
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