The Living Stipend: Strategies for Saving on Entertainment

Okay, so, entertainment can be a big reason why budgets fail. Entertainment, housing, and food. Just because money is tight (read: I’m broke) doesn’t mean the only social option is to sit in the corner and color, and just because food is scarce doesn’t mean you have to be alone, hungry and mean. I learned in grad school that even the broke chick can have serious entertainment savings and still give the crew life. I thought I’d share a few of my strategies with you.

Budget for it. Decide how much you want to spend and stick to that amount. I know– it sucks. How do I put my great on a leash like that? Let me be the first to acknowledge the buzzkill. However, let me also be the first to recognize that in order to experience life like I’m brand new, I need to sacrifice like I‘m brand new. This means setting a limit to my current greatness so that my future greatness can be without limits. #LetsGetIt

Cut the cord. Yea. I said it. Get rid of cable. You still on that?

Get active. Bruh. People go to jail and come out with body for days on the low-low. Nobody paid $150 a month for access to some sports club. Do like Gramma used to say and Go-Outside! Yes. Outside. It’s still there for you. It may help you stay sane, too.

Search for free and low-cost events and things to do. A lot of people forget that gathering with like-minded people doesn’t have to cost anything and, instead, can be about Meetups, Facebook groups, community events, or even your own listserv of friends (or friends of friends) who share ideas, deals, and plan trips.

You can also look for low-cost hobbies and develop a new community. I remember I moved to Baltimore and knew no one. When I got there, though, a community Cuban dance class changed my life. I picked up something I never knew I could be passionate about, and then once I was masterful enough, I shared it with others. When I moved back to Boston, I picked up meditation, and the same thing happened. Why not pick up a community sport, art form or a new language and indulge yourself in a community different than your own?

Attend Happy Hours! Happy hours can actually be a great way to catch a low-cost meal, meet people and socialize with people you may already know. You can catch some low-cost appetizers, and if you’re a drinker, try something new at the bar.

Change your alcohol. That is, switch it up. Consider a switch to wine. After all, there are some GREAT cheap wines available and there’s a culture attached to the full taste. You can find community tastings and education courses, local wineries, and even themed travel. Wine really can be social. Host or rotate hosting regular events with friends: a monthly “cheap wine” tasting where everyone brings a $15 bottle to share, or set a friends potluck dinner every Friday and set up a rotating list where a rotating list of maybe four people bring wine each week. Frankly, you can participate in the wine world without dropping thousands on a wine cellar for your basement.

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