While I’d love to be out playing sports or hanging out with friends in the evenings, the reality is that after 12 hours outside the house all I want to do is relax infront of the TV or with a good book most evenings.
But just because I’m not in a bar somewhere doesn’t mean that I’m not spending money. Whether it’s renting DVDs, watching premium sports broadcasts or buying the latest must-have thriller, all this home entertainment can still add up surprisingly quickly.
Today I’d like to give some advice on how to entertain yourself at home on a small budget – and still have the time of your life.
Give Up The Premium TV
One of the biggest “budget killers” in terms of home entertainment are premium TV services; here in the UK we’re talking Sky and Virgin. While its nice to have all the latest TV shows this comes at a considerable premium; would your life really be much worse if you watched that show a few weeks or even months later? Probably not.
Thanks to widespread high speed Internet there are ever more low-cost streaming TV services. From Amazon Prime to Netflix, a monthly subscription costs next to nothing yet provides you with hundreds of movies and TV shows. While, I will admit, my experience is they don’t add enough decent shows each month, there’s still probably more than enough to keep your entertained for a long time into the future.
Utilize Free Catch-up TV
All the major UK TV channels now have a free catch-up service. From BBC iPlayer to 4OD, there are thousands of great shows just waiting for you to explore. Watch on your computer, download the app to your video game system or use one of the low-cost streaming gadgets like ChromeCast and you’ll be well away – and for next to nothing too.
Give Now TV A Try
Over the years I’ve tried most of the streaming TV services. Last Christmas, however, I started a new experiment and bought a subscription to Now TV, which promises me Sky Movies for as little as £10 a month. Realistically this is a small price to pay for all those movies, and Now TV benefits from having far newer movies than you’ll find on Amazon Prime or Netflix.
The problem, as with so many other streaming services, is that they just don’t add enough new stuff. So, after a few months I found that I was watching it less and less. Eventually I decided it was time to cancel. And this is where the magic happened…
I went onto their website, clicked the cancellation button and was immediately offered a special deal. Indeed, the deal was so good that I have kept Now TV for the moment. The best part? I’m paying just £4 a month for Sky Movies! Bargain!
Take A Free Online Course
Home entertainment doesn’t just have to revolve around TV of course; there are all sorts of other options. One of the best are the range of free online courses you can take to learn a new skill. To give you an example of whats possible, Udemy currently hosts over 2,000 free courses which you can sign up for and enjoy at your leisure. To see what’s available simply click here.
Join The Library
You might think of libraries as musty old buildings filled with ancient books, but more and more are entering the modern world. From brand new titles arriving all the time, to low-cost (or even free) magazine and DVD rental, joining your local library can be one of the best sources of low cost home entertainment.
Download Free Magazines
If you’re anything like me then the cost of new magazines just makes you want to cry. But there are a range of solutions. One of my favorites is downloading magazines off the Internet (legally) to enjoy on your tablet or computer at home.
I’ve written extensively about ways to save money on magazines in the past, but for a quick win why not visit https://issuu.com/ where thousands of top-quality titles are just ready and waiting for you.
Swap Your Books
Lastly, rather than buying books brand new, why not consider swapping them with others? You’ll only pay the postage charge, and will be able to exchange the books you’ve already read for brand new titles. Check out Paper Back Swap for more information or take a look at a whole host of ideas for saving money on books here.
Related: Check out 70+ places to get free stuff online