“Baby, I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight.” - Cheap Thrills, Sia
And she’s right, having good entertainment doesn’t always have to come at a steep price. Of course, money can buy us some luxury like travelling the world with first-class flights, having Omakase in the heart of Tokyo, or enjoying a ski ride across the frozen lake underneath the northern lights, but there are other ways we can entertain ourselves without breaking the bank.
Our grandparents never had tablets, PlayStations, or flat-screen TVs in their days, yet they still found ways to get by. With that, we’d like to reintroduce you to some ways to enjoy your time off without expensive gadgets.
1. Reduce eating out
One of the first things to cut down on is eating out or ordering takeout. Obviously, this would be much more expensive compared to cooking food at home. And the difference between buying ingredients for cooking and eating out is astronomical.
Don’t get us wrong, eating out is cool; you get to enjoy different types of cuisines, especially the ones that are hard to make at home. But if you’re not careful, those bills can add up really quickly.
Ideally, have a schedule of how often you’ll eat out, whether it’s once a week, or once a month, depending on your budget. Some credit cards offer a great dining deals. If you're a foodie and love eating out, make sure to subscribe to credit cards that can benefit your lifestyle. This way, you can actually earn cash back and points or get good discounts every time you eat out.
Click here are a few suggestions on the best dining credit card.
2. Go for a hike
Instead of looking for something to do indoors, look outdoors.
Get together with your friends and go for a hike. There are plenty of nice hiking spots all around Malaysia that do not have any entrance fees and a nice waterfall somewhere along the trail. Plus, a little digital detox can always help with our mental health.
It’s not just limited to hiking; you can also go for extreme sports (if you’re capable), go fishing, go camping, or even just for a picnic at the park. The idea is to spend less time at the malls or in front of a screen. Get closer to nature once in a while.
Related: 6 Ways To Stop Impulse Shopping
3. Share subscriptions
It’s unreasonable to think we can fill our days with just free entertainment. Sometimes, we just crave to watch the latest movies. And that shouldn’t come at a high cost.
The good news is most of the subscriptions can be shared. Netflix, Spotify, and Disney+ all have family packages that reduce your per-head cost. If you don’t have a family yet, you can always look for a few friends who are also trying to save and share it with them.
For the subscriptions, you don’t need anymore or have lost interest in, however, just cancel them. There is no point keeping them alive and you can always re-subscribe if you really need to.
4. Borrow books
Stop buying books. Borrow them from a library.
Books are a fantastic source of both entertainment and knowledge, but they often carry a hefty price tag with them.
The next time you’re tempted to grab a book at the bookstore just because they are new and look nice, check with your local library first. Most of our libraries have many literary classics and popular books already.
Not only will you save a lot of money doing so, but you’ll also be more likely to finish it quickly because you’ll have a set timeframe.
Related: The Best Personal Finance Books For Beginners
5. Listening to podcasts
Today, there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of podcasts on the Internet readily available. Ranging from personal finance to crime discussions, to book reviews, to comedy, you’re sure to find a few podcasts that really fit your tastes.
Having podcasts as your source of motivation can even help you cut off your cable TV subscription altogether.
We’re not talking about which one is better, instead, podcasts stand as an alternative to expensive entertainment.
6. Reducing the internet bill
A 4K movie uses about 25Mbps to stream or download smoothly, without any lags.
In Malaysia, our average Internet speed is about 100Mbps. Of course, this also depends on the environment, how many people are using it, and server speed. But for the most part, there is a huge opportunity for you to save on your Internet bill.
While high-speed Internet is convenient, you’re really not getting anything more if you can surf the Internet without any delays. So, double-check if you’re paying more than you need to and that’s extra cash in your pocket!