Have you ever felt out of the loop? Not the gossip about your friend’s poor tattoo decision. I’m talking about pop culture – movies, music, TV shows, books, etc. Is there anything that brings people together more than talking about our favorite entertainment? (I mean aside from love, humor, chemistry, sports, and alcohol). Discussing and quoting movies and TV is a big social activity. The more you know, the more people you can connect with. The same goes for music and books. So, it can be difficult to cut entertainment out of your budget when it could hurt your social life. However, here’s a way to stay in the loop and under budget.
- Go Back to the Classics: Going to the movies is expensive. A ticket alone costs at least $8.00 nowadays. Even renting on-demand through your cable provider can add up quick, with movies costing up to $6.00 a pop. However, your cable provider likely offers older movies as well at no additional charge. There are also options online like Hulu.com. Like cable, you won’t find the latest releases available for free, but you will find tons of classics, and those are the backbone of any good social commentator. I mean, you have to be able to quote the Godfather and Caddyshack to survive in this world.
- Use the Library: A lot of people don’t know it, but your local library stocks movies. Yeah. Some even stock CDs and video games. Before spending money on a new DVD or an album from iTunes, visit your local branch and see what they have to offer. Many library systems have websites where you can browse their catalog and reserve something online.
- Trade: Say you have a friend who won’t shut up about how awesome the show Game of Thrones is (and it is). But you don’t want to pay for HBO or buy the 1st season on DVD. This is a pretty obvious tip… Does that friend (or any other friend) own the DVDs that you could borrow? Maybe you could trade something from your collection. This is also a common practice for avid readers… trading books. You could have a party once a month where all your friends bring books, movies, CDs, etc. that they’re willing to trade or lend to others.
- Trade (continued): No friends? There are online communities like craigslist.com and paperbackswap.com that have trading/bartering opportunities.
Again, you’re not going to find the latest/trendiest titles using these methods, but you can at least build up a foundation of pop culture knowledge. So, go on… watch Cocktail. Listen to the Ramones. Read some older David Sedaris books. Watch Lost. You may be late to the party, but you’ll still be able to mingle.