The following is a guest post from Wayne at Young Family Finance. He writes to educate young families on the financial challenges of life, like paying your bills on time or choosing between daycare or stay at home parenting.
Have you ever felt bad about spending so much money going to the movies? Should you feel guilty about spending so much money on a date with your significant other? If you are aren’t making a lot of money, going to the movies can be a huge financial burden. What if there were better ways to enjoy the full entertainment options without breaking the bank?
Our Old Way of Saving on Entertainment
My wife and I have always tried to be economical with our money. We have tried to limit our regular expenses so that we can afford to do nice things every year for our anniversary. This type of mentality worked pretty well. We set our limit based on how much we wanted to spend each month. My wife wasn’t making much money at the time, so this often meant that we were limiting our entertainment fund to $25 per month. I am sure at first glance, you would say that this doesn’t allow for much fun… and you’re right! We were able to go to a movie about once a month. If we tried to watch a 3D movie, we would often break our limit (but only by a few bucks, so we let it slide). To compensate, we would play a lot of board games, hang out with friends, etc.
Our New Way of Saving on Entertainment
The problem with our old way of saving money is that it wasn’t getting us the ‘most bang for our buck’ as they say. In other words, we were wasting our entire entertainment fund on one night. Actually, on just a couple of hours. Because we felt like we had to go to the movies, we blew our entire monthly budget on one night.
Instead of going to the movies once a month, my wife and I now do other things. Even though we have more income, we still don’t spend as much as we did when we were going to the movies once a month. We have learned other ways to replace the movie-going experience. Here are some cheap replacements for going to the movies:
- Netflix – We had a netflix plan for some time. This allowed us unlimited movies for half of the price of both of us going to the movies.
- Redbox – We also tried redbox because we realized that we weren’t watching “unlimited” movies and it would be more cost-effective to pay $1 per movie than $11 (or now $16) for the month.
- Public Library – Our last and greatest find was our public library’s HUGE collection of DVD’s. The best part about this is that it is free. All it takes is a 5-10 minute walk to pick up a DVD. Cha-Ching!
The best part about finding cheap ways to watch movies is that we are able to spend our entertainment fund on other activities. We are able to maximize our entertainment money and spread out the enjoyment throughout the month – not just one night. Why waste your entire budget on one night? For us, it makes more sense to enjoy our budget throughout the month instead of trying to keep up with those who go to the movies.
What do you do to maximize parts of your budget?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.