The Best Bang for Your Buck: Stretching Dollars on Entertainment

The Best Bang for Your Buck: Stretching Dollars on Entertainment

Most of us want to experience entertainment, but few enjoy spending money on so-called entertainment we don’t enjoy. It can be a gamble sometimes, especially when the fun budget is slim, but there are many ways to crackdown on overspending on entertainment without risking a decrease in enjoyment:

Movies & TV

Shop around for different providers in your area and see the package options. Check to see if there are any appealing DIRECTV bundles for you and compare prices. If you’re not locked down to a competitor, consider making a switch. Most of the time you can negotiate the first year terms and come back with your own offers to further lower the price because they don’t want to lose you as a customer.

Of the leading streaming services, deciding the one that will maximize your dollar depends on your preferred content. Going to local theaters that show old movie runs can be an inexpensive treat. Attending amateur film festivals will be a different experience. YouTube and Vimeo have some solid talent creating web shows.

Factor all the different options and you’ll stretch your dollar. Even if you do go out to the movies just compare it to other expenses like if you bought an expensive coffee or picked up lunch that day versus bringing it from home for a fraction of the price.


To stretch your entertainment dollar in this area, I would recommend joining clubs and groups. Here you can share the items associated with hobbies & activities or buy used or find cheaper suppliers. You’ll also have time to spend around others so what would have been an hour sewing session by yourself could turn into an entire afternoon which truly adds hours of entertainment.

Bonus Savings: Embrace your inner DIY. Consider creating something from scratch or repurposing an item rather than buying the equivalent from a store. You’ll have loads of entertainment with the hobby or activity plus the added time building something which really stretches the dollar per entertainment.

Video Games

People complain about video games because new releases are generally $60 but when you consider that most of these games you’re getting hours upon hours of gameplay (and replayability) from them it’s incredibly cheap. It really comes down to avoiding the hype for games and holding out or when they go on sale. I’ve found that is a great place to hold out, dig through the backlog, and grab up deals when they’re economically sound.

Steam, Origin, Ebay, GoG, GreenManGaming, Gamestop, flea markets, and the like, are going to have games that you’d enjoy. Use sites like to see how many hours you can get out of a game, divide that into the price, and you’ll see that you’re saving a ton of money by being selective.

Bonus Savings: Try joining an online community for swapping games. Here you can find others that are willing to trade their games for ones you own. You skip the middleman of the reseller stores and often you can “trade up” for games higher than your normal budget.


Reading is, perhaps, the biggest bang for your buck considering that we have so many used bookstores, ebooks, fan fiction, countless blogs, and more. Let’s say you went ahead and bought a new book for $15; if it took you 10 hours to read through it then you’re spending just $1.50 on that hourly entertainment.

If you feel you’re not the “book type” it might just be that you haven’t found the type of genre or author that keeps you interested. Try GoodReads for recommendations and I bet you’ll find something you’d like.

Bonus Savings: Get a library card! No, really. It’s fun owning books but with so many of them out there and the fact you could get half way through and hate it you may as well use a public service which gives you virtually unlimited options. It’s free!

How do you stretch your dollar to get the most entertainment value?