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7 Easy Entertainment Trade-Offs

New Ways to Entertain Yourself

-- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator

We all want to live our lives to the fullest. At every major life stage, whether a birthday, New Year, or even a tragedy, you likely ask yourself whether you’ve really been enjoying your life as much as you could be. Think about—or better yet, write out—a list of activities, items, interests and goals that you’d like to liberate from your daydreams and make a reality. Do you want to visit a tropical island, buy a new mattress, spend more time with your loved ones, or learn to salsa dance? After you write your list, then estimate the cost, in money and time, for each item.

Here are seven ways to cut costs, along with ideas to "invest" that money to yield a more exciting, fulfilling life—without going into debt to do so.

1. Cut your cable, save $10-$120 each month.
My local cable company actually calls their bare-minimum cable service “Lifeline.” Fortunately, there are so many other ways to stay connected to the outside world that don't involve staying inside to watch it on TV. Here are some amazing things you can do with all of that extra time and money you’ll have if you ditch the cable, movie channels, and/or satellite dish service:

  • Learn to dance. The cost of group dancing lessons range considerably, but can start as low as $7 per class. You’ll make friends, get exercise, learn some new steps, and still come out ahead financially.
  • Attend a gallery opening. These are usually free, and usually provide free refreshments and music. With the time you save not watching TV, you can meet people, please your eyes and ears, and have fun.
  • Watch a play or concert. Before radio, movies and television, plays and concerts were "it." Every performance is different and the energy is intense. Of course this costs more than your average pay-per-view, but quality is more important than quantity. Without paying for cable, you could attend at least one performance each month—talk about something to look forward to!
2. Stop buying magazines, save $5 or more per week.
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