Your Entertainment Budget Should Be Less Than $1/Day

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The average American household spends $2,482/year on Entertainment and consists of 2.5 people. We can then reasonably estimate the average North American spends about $1,000/year on Entertainment by themselves. This is less than optimal. I’m about to show you how to get by on $1/day and be more entertained than ever. If you’re 30, your savings from this could amount to $93,925.05 extra in your retirement account by the time you’re 65. (Ask me for the math on our Facebook and I’ll happily show you.) Ready? Let’s kill your Entertainment bill.

First up, no more cable TV. TV subscribers are dwindling, and that seems to be driving prices up: “The average TV subscriber’s monthly bill ticked up from $65.25 in 2014 to $66.08 in 2015.” It’s just getting worse. Meanwhile, Netflix humbly asks for only $8-$12/month depending on your package and offers you immediate commercial-free access to “3 years, 202 days, 12 hours and 14 minutes” of Entertainment. Now, I get that you’re never gonna marathon Paw Patrol, but that’s fucking unreal. If you sleep for 8 hours and work for 8 hours on weekdays AND watch every waking minute you’re free including weekends, you’re looking at 8.3 YEARS of Entertainment for, like, $8/month. Meanwhile, I’ve spent hundreds building my paid iTunes library, but Spotify memberships range from full-of-ads “Free” to $10/month, and they both offer 30 MILLION SONGS. If each of those songs is just three minutes long, that’s 171 YEARS OF MUSIC! IF YOU STARTED LISTENING IN 1846, YOU’D BE DONE NOW. I really don’t understand how paying for individual songs is still a thing. Streaming services are obviously the future. (I like to think most of you know this already.)

Netflix and Spotify together? Even if you paid the individual maximum, that’s $22/month, or $264/year. Wanna get even spendier? Burn your money with a PlayStation Now membership for $100/year and stream 500+ PS3 and PS4 games. That adds up to $364/year, or just under $1/day. It’s almost like I planned it.

If reading’s more your jam, use your local library. You’re already paying for it in taxes, so use it. It warms my little nerd heart to know millennials are using their local libraries more than any other generation. Keep it up.

What I don’t advocate though is piracy. If you’re stealing something, you don’t deserve it. I place a lot of value on art – especially movies – so don’t do it.

Finally, MAKE your own entertainment! Some of you roll things like dining out into your Entertainment budgets, but cooking at home is better. While you’re at it, learn to draw, or play the guitar, or pick up a camera and take pictures of every stray cat in the neighbourhood. I know too many people who can tell me every plot point of Breaking Bad, but when I ask them for the last time they went swimming in the ocean or hiking up a mountain, they draw a blank!

The point is $1/day on Entertainment is already first-world luxury at its finest. Your ancestors didn’t have screens and they did a lot more than just stare into a fire. Realistically, with libraries and nature, your Entertainment budget could actually be ZERO, but $1/day for everything I described above seems like a fair trade. Just don’t spend an ABSOLUTELY INSANE $1,000/year on Entertainment like everyone else. This family can buy one person’s groceries for half a year on that.

Watch a Movie* in 10 Minutes

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For those of you who read “Read a Book* in 10 Minutes”, don’t worry. I’m not suggesting you read a synopsis instead, or scrub through a video at 10x speed with the subtitles on. As a former filmmaker myself – I directed my first short at 17 – I fully understand the craftsmanship and attention to detail involved in making a film, and would never suggest any sort of diminished experience over what the filmmaker intended. In what I suggest here, you’re still getting the real deal. It’s just a way of making our consumption of entertainment more efficient, and arguably, more free! It’s already saved me hours this week, and I’m more entertained than ever!

First off, I’m a bit of a horror nut, and though I love the genre, a small part of me wishes they could just cut to the good parts. Show me the asshole teenagers, then get straight to the killin’! Superhero movies too. Most of the time, I’m like “I KNOW HOW DEADPOOL BECOMES DEADPOOL! GET TO THE KILLIN’!” (I grew up with hundreds of Marvel comics.) We can worry about how much I like onscreen death some other time, but the point remains: I was looking for more efficiency in my entertainment! I didn’t want a movie to waste my time. Now, how the heck do I solve THAT?!? It’s not like I can just skip the first 45 minutes of every movie. I might miss something!

Enter, shorts. After years of suffering through the same setup tropes in horror movie after horror movie, I finally had what I needed. In all the shorts I’ve seen, their narrative arcs were distilled down to their most efficient. Most of them were less than 15 minutes long, and by golly, I was ENTERTAINED. Does one short suck? Screw it, it’ll be over in 10 minutes and it might even get better. Okay, but did it REALLY suck? Watch five more in the time it takes you to watch a full-length feature! I can’t even tell you the amount of times I’ve struggled with poor movies and just sat there like an idiot while 90 minutes of visual trash flowed over me. This way, I’m getting told multiple stories in a shorter amount of time, and I have more control over when I want to stop watching, leaving me more time to get important things done!

Even if the idea of cutting down on overall entertainment time doesn’t appeal to you, free entertainment should. I know some of you are thrifty enough that you don’t even have Netflix, so let me link you to countless hours of entertainment! I use Short of the Week most often, and particularly love their horror selection. Film Shortage is also good. Obviously, you can find a lot of these shorts on sites like YouTube or Vimeo, but the two sites I gave you are expertly curated and get you to what you’re looking for in seconds instead of minutes. Even though I have Netflix, I still find myself watching shorts far more. It’s allowed me to reclaim more time, get more entertainment for less money, and support smaller filmmakers as they tell great stories.

Here, check out “Exit”. This is the kind of thing you’re missing out on. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather watch 10 shorts like this at home over spending $15 on a movie ticket