Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Entertainment on a budget

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How do you define 'entertainment'? Is it seeing a stage show, a live band, seeing the latest movie at the cinema? However you like to entertain yourself it can be quite costly these days.

Prior to kids, I never missed the latest superstar touring the country or the latest theatre production. I even liked going to the ballet and would never miss some of the big productions. When our income was cut in half when I stopped work to have children, all of these kinds of entertainment came to a grinding halt. As much as seeing some of the big name music acts was completely unaffordable for us, I didn't want to give up on this kind of entertainment completely and would treat myself to an annual theatre production. I'll never forget leaving my newborn daughter with her father while I went off to see "Phantom of the Opera" and had the mobile phone in my hand and I was phoning him during every break to check if things were okay.

Here's a few ways to save a few dollars on different entertainment options.

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Movies
  • Here in Australia, some cinemas offer half price or cheaper movie tickets on specific nights of the week .
  • Some children's movies offer adult tickets at cheap prices.
  • The cinemas may also offer a special deal on the 'movie of the week' or the matinee session.
  • Take your treats from home. I can remember a time where they'd check your bag for food brought from home. I wouldn't be taking in a meal of Chinese food from your local takeaway but a few lollies and a juice box from home for the kids will save you a bucket load.
  • You might be lucky to have a drive-in near you. Some still do exist. I know one near me has 'free' movie nights with the condition that you purchase an item from the kiosk. I used to go with the family to the drive-in when I was young and it was a great family night out. We used to wear our pyjamas. (Thanks Clare Maree for the hint.)
  • Wait until it comes on DVD and hire it, watching it in the comfort of your own home with your own homemade treats.
  • Swap or borrow latest DVD movie releases with friends.
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Theatre, Opera and Ballet
  • By subscribing to your State theatre, opera or ballet company you will receive significant discounts on productions throughout the year. You'll enjoy 'behind the scenes' evenings as well as assisting the company with funding.
  • For example, Queensland Ballet offer a full season subscription for $350 per adult which includes productions such as "Don Quixote", "Sleeping Beauty" and many more. You'll have access to good seating, discounted tickets to extra events during the year, complimentary drink vouchers and an invite to the Christmas Cocktail party.

Concerts
  • Most of the big name ticketing agencies (here in Australia at least) don't offer discounted tickets. You get to hear about upcoming acts through joining online newsletters and that's about it. This might be a good way to get yourself saving for an act that you really, really want to see.
  • By following a few basic budgeting tips, cutting back on takeaway, giving up that daily coffee bought at the shop or just eating for the week from what you've already got in the pantry, will save you a few dollars each week to put towards a concert ticket.
  • In most cases you'll need at least 2 tickets so it could prove quite costly but if you just can't miss it, you'll find a way to go.
  • Also, a lot of these ticketing agencies and performing art complexes offer gift certificates. Maybe you could ask friends and relatives to give you vouchers or certificates for birthdays and Christmas to give your entertainment budget a boost.
I like to have an 'entertainment' budget. It could be something as low as $5 per week put into a jar or bank account. Over the course of 52 weeks that's $260, more than enough for a good seat to something like Elton John (if that's your thing) or the live production of "Jersey Boys" (the one I'm hoping to get to). Look out for a 'group buyer' of tickets to theatre and concert tickets. They often buy bulk tickets and can pass on small savings. Every little bit helps.



This post is part of domesblissity's THRiVING - Thrifty Living feature.

12 comments:

  1. Hi Anne. For movies, don't forget the drive-in. We discovered one near (25min drive) to us relatively recently, and it offers a HUGE saving for a family - $28 for a car load vs around $70 for a family of four to the cinema. I don't think we'll ever step foot in a cinema as a family ever again.

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  2. Oh, this is great! We were driving through Brisbane the other day and I remembered back to before kids... we would go to galleries and movies and productions or just drive to Brisbane to have lunch and a walk through Southbank. We told ourselves that this wouldn't stop once we had children... but it has. I have been thinking of ways to get back into this stuff again, and include the children - this post has come at a very good time for me. Thank you!

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  3. Excellent advice. The movies are so expensive these days so we always go through Coles for our snacks before we go to the cinema. Rachel x

    #teamIBOT was here

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  4. We have cut back on many things since having children, but seeing live music is not one of them. We both light up from within at a concert and go to a few over the summer months. It's a non-negotiable in our house. There are other things we miss in order for this to occur, but we're both fine with that :)

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  5. Great tips! I wish they had cheaper tickets for watching children shows here though.. but then again, movies here are much cheaper than in Aust so I really shouldn't complain ;p

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

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  6. Thanks Anne. Don't forget that some auto clubs (like RACQ) sell heavily discounted tickets to movies as well to members! We love our entertainment. :) x

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  7. love the tips!!! Off to find if WA has a drive in!!!

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  8. Thanks for the suggestions.... Now I just need to find a babysitter :)

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  9. These are great tips.. some of the movie ones I already use regularly and they do really help to cut the costs! Nice to stop by your blog and meet you here!! xx

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  10. Excellent tips Anne.
    Most of our entertainment is in the form of free trips to the park, or possibly a camping trip.
    We go to the movies once a year, but when we do, the emphasis is on the fun family night, not the movies. To be honest, we actually prefer, buying the movie on DVD, and watching it at home eating pizza in the lounge. It's cheaper for a family of six, and so much more comfortable. The kids love it. :)

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  11. Great tips. Also Lasttix is a great way to get discounted tickets.

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  12. Awesome tips Anne! There is always a way to save a few buck if you look and are flexible

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