- It’s possible to enjoy concerts, movies and sporting events without breaking your budget.
- Remember that being a student, senior citizen, member of the military or part of a group entitles you to discounted admission at many movie theaters, museums and theme parks.
- Choose credit cards that offer points or cash back when you purchase concert or theater tickets, or for other expenses.
- Be savvy about scouting websites that offer deals and shopping at warehouse clubs.
With rising prices on everything from groceries to gas, buying concert tickets or visiting an amusement park can seem like an extravagance. Yet enjoying entertainment and having fun have been shown to help us lead better lives. One study found those who enjoy music, video games, outdoor activities and sports had happier, more satisfying and healthier lives than those who don’t.
“Inflation doesn’t mean you have to give up doing the activities you enjoy,” says Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert. “A little research can go a long way in helping you find affordable and even free options to keep everyone in your family entertained.”
Follow these tips to fill your social calendar with fun things to do on the cheap.
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Look for deals at Costco and Sam’s Club
Your membership can go way further than just getting you a five-pack of toothpaste.
“Warehouse clubs are a great resource for saving on entertainment,” Woroch says. “You can often buy bulk passes to amusement parks, zoos and sports events at a discount.”
You can also save 20% to 30% on watching blockbusters and eating out by buying bulk packs of movie tickets and dining gift cards.
Check credit card offers
You might think your credit card is only good for helping you spend money, but it can help you save, too.
Log on to your credit card account and see if there are discounts if you book entertainment or travel through the site using your card. There could also be exclusive discounts or you might earn extra reward points.
For instance, says Woroch, “Bank of America’s ‘Museums on Us’ program offers cardholders free general admission to more than 225 cultural institutions in dozens of cities across the U.S. during the first full weekend of every month.”
Search venues for special offers
Thinking of taking your family to the aquarium, the zoo, a museum or other local attraction?
Check the venue’s website for discounts for AAA insurance members, active and reserve military and veterans, college students and staff, children, senior citizens and groups of 10 or more.
Many museums and other attractions also offer free admission days throughout the year.
Research employee discounts
Before you purchase tickets to Disneyland, check with your human resources department to see if your company offers employee discounts. Many companies partner with corporate entertainment providers such as Plum Benefits and Tickets at Work to offer employees exclusive discounts on amusement park tickets and more.
Earn free entertainment gift cards or cash back
Besides your credit card’s website, there are a number of other sites that give you perks when you make entertainment purchases on them:
If your idea of a perfect evening is getting cozy on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine to watch a show, the Fetch app can help you save on food and beverages and more. Simply scan all the receipts you have (yup, any receipt) to earn points for store gift cards and other rewards.
Join and you can earn up to 4% cash back on purchases at Ticketmaster. There are coupons for various types of purchases on the site, too, so you could save enough on everyday purchases to pay for a date night or movie outing.
When you purchase tickets to sporting events, concerts and theater shows through this site, you earn rewards toward free tickets.
Scan deals sites
Entertainment.com offers an annual membership for $24.99 that allows consumers to download discount coupons to restaurants, amusement parks and more. It serves 10,000 cities in the U.S. and Canada.
Goldstar.com offers deep discounts to theater shows, comedy, concerts and more. Check upcoming activities in your hometown or search for attractions in a town you plan to vacation in.
Stubhub.com is the go-to site for concert, sports and theater tickets. Fans sell tickets on the site, many at a discount.
Save money by seeing the next blockbuster movie during a matinee or on a designated day. At AMC Theaters, matinees are 30% less than evening tickets, while Cinemark Theaters offers Discount Tuesdays when you can see the latest shows for less.
Keep an eye out for free events
“Tap into your local library for savings,” Woroch says. “Not only are libraries a great resource for free books, magazines and even movies, but you can also stream videos and video games for free through their digital platform right from your computer or smart TV at home.”
In addition, libraries offer free family events like arts and crafts and reading groups, as well as free and low-cost passes to national parks and museums.
Also, check your town’s website to see if there are any upcoming free concerts, festivals or other events.
Looking to do something farther afield? Explore the great outdoors by taking advantage of free days at national parks. For five days each year, the National Park Service waives entry fees.