How to Save Money on Entertainment

How to Save Money on Entertainment

With the temperature heating up and COVID cases on a sharp decline, the interest in in-person events is growing. According to the recent Spring & Summer Spend Survey by Bread Financial, 55 percent of consumers plan to spend more money on concerts, 50 percent plan to spend more on sporting events, and 51 percent plan to spend more on outdoor recreational activities, compared to last year. If you’re dying to get out there but don’t want to spend a fortune, here are 10 easy ways to save and be in the know! 

Look for free/inexpensive events in your community

The NextDoor App, Eventbrite, and your local community groups on Facebook are all great places to look for free or low-cost community events. Summer is a popular time for events so there will be lots to choose from, including garden tours, craft fairs, parades, and free concerts.

Consider events beyond your community/city

If you live in a metropolitan area, look for concerts or events outside of your city. Even traveling an hour away – by car or public transport – can open up a broad range of less expensive concerts, sporting events, or theatre tickets. 

Sometimes, it pays to wait

If you’re interested in an event, but it’s not make or break, you can sometimes get lucky by waiting until a few days before – or even the day-of – to purchase tickets. People who purchased tickets but who can no longer attend might be looking to offload their tickets at a lower price than face value. This is more common than usual these days because many of us have tickets for shows that were rescheduled because of Covid, and the new time doesn’t work. Ticketmaster offers the ability to transfer tickets to others, as do sites like Vividseats and StubHub. 

Save with discount sites and travel hubs

Check out a site like Groupon for discounted event tickets and passes for activities. Travel aggregators, like Expedia and Trip Advisor, will have special offers on activities as well.   

Use deal sites for discounts and cashback

Make sure you’ve installed the browser extension of a deal site or two. That way, available discounts will pop up automatically as you browse. For example, I’ve saved between 10-20 percent on road trip activities on my recent road trip because I had the Sidekick by installed on my laptop. When I searched for tickets, the Sidekick popped up with savings that I simply clicked on to activate.   

Sign up for email lists

If you’re an art buff, install the app of your favorite local museum. Have a few favorite bands? Sign up for their emails.  This way, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming happenings and you might have access to exclusive discounts as well.  

Buy for the season

If you don’t like to miss a game, purchasing tickets for the season makes financial sense, even if you miss a game here and there (and you can often sell tickets you don’t plan to use). Every sport/team is different, but season ticket-holders may also have priority access to away games, discounted merchandise, cheaper concessions, and exclusive events where you can hobnob with fans and even players. Season tickets are also available for other things, like the opera, the theatre, and theme parks. 

Membership has its privileges

If you regularly go to your local botanical gardens or museum, it probably makes sense to become a member. The calculation is easy – estimate how many times you go and compare the cost of tickets purchased per visit vs. an annual membership.  Also, like with sports, your membership may come with perks, like members-only viewing times, advance access to popular events, discounts at the gift shop, free guest passes, and free access to sister locations. 

Buy for the group

Most theme parks, water parks, and festivals will offer a group ticket option, which will be cheaper than if everyone were to purchase tickets individually. There are sometimes specific hours of access, so pay close attention to the fine print. 

Stay on budget on-site

When you finally get to the event, you’ll likely find that concessions and souvenirs are overpriced. Before you go, find out what you can bring in. For example, you’ll save a bunch just by bringing your own water and snacks, if that’s allowed. Be very clear on the rules, which can be strict. Some places require clear bags or they don’t allow glass.  Or some don’t allow outside food/drink, so you may have to dump what you brought or walk all the way back to the car.  

When it comes to souvenirs, don’t buy any onsite without a quick Google search on your phone. You may find the same tee shirt online for less than at the event.  One less thing to carry and you saved!!

Related post:

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Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who has specialized in smart shopping, personal finance, and retail for more than a decade. She has appeared on TV over 1,000 times; including Today Show, GMA3, NBC Nightly News, Inside Edition, and network affiliates nationwide. She has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn, and her expert commentary has appeared in Forbes,, Kiplinger, Yahoo Finance, and numerous others.