Sunday, May 5, 2019

Frugal Entertainment ($0 a month budget)

One of the main ways we save money is by spending almost nothing on entertainment.   That does not mean we don't do things for enjoyment.

We don't have a television set (and thus no cable bill).  We do have a battery operated weather alert radio that is only for emergency use, i.e., when the power goes out in a bad storm.


We have Amazon Prime and I use it to watch videos for now but we will be cancelling it in September when it comes up for renewal.   We probably will not renew it until we are 100% out of debt in 2021.

Google Opinion Rewards (app is available from the Play Store) gives me regular surveys to fill out and pays me immediately for each one.  Thus far I have used it only to make purchases in the Sims Free Play mobile game but since this money can only be used for Play Store items, I may eventually use it to do something like purchase a season of something I cannot watch otherwise since we don't have a television.

YouTube is a major source of our free entertainment.  I love YouTube as it is also where I am able to connect with so many members of the frugal community and get great money saving ideas.

I also watch some of the free video that some of the networks, such as, make available online.


We each have our own games that we play.  One of my favorites is Virtual Villagers 5.  I purchased an electronic copy of it years ago from Amazon and still play it.   I also have an almost complete set of the Sims 2 which I play from time to time.     As noted above, I also sometimes play Sims FreePlay on my phone.  I only spend money on it though when I have money from Google Opinion Rewards.

Jamey here:  Like Doreen, I come cheap to entertain, other than the unlimited Internet.  Like her, I spend quite a bit of time on YouTube.  I also play a variety of idle clicker type games such as Cookie Clicker, resource management games such as Seaport (also available on Google Play), and I read quite a bit of fanfiction.  Fanfiction, for those who don't know about it, is stories written by fans of a book series, TV show, movie, etc.  Some of them can be quite imaginative, funny as rip, or heart breaking.  Some of the fandoms I follow include Harry Potter, Naruto, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Daria, Young Wizards, Vorkosigan Universe, original Battlestar Galactica, Calvin & Hobbs, Witch Mountain, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (big fan of Super-Xander stories), and a lot more.  I also follow a wide selection of webcomics, from the geeky such as XKCD and Freefall, to the sarcastic such as Dilbert and Two Lumps, to the sweet like Questionable Content and Between Failures.  There's even one, Scandinavia and the World, that opens my eyes to how other parts of the world view the world in general (I need to find a few more of these!)

Books (physical, ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts):

Overdrive is another major source of free entertainment for us.   Simply by having active library cards, we are able to use Overdrive to borrow ebooks, audiobooks and even some videos for free.

Jamey reads out loud to me on a regular basis.  We pick a book series that we both enjoy and Jamey reads to me for a little while most days while I am doing chores.  There is also a podcast, Talking On My Morning Walk (TOMMW), that we listen to regularly from one of our favorite authors, Nathan Lowell.  He walks on a somewhat regular basis while discussing what is going on in his life and the status of his works in progress.


We do pay for unlimited internet usage as it is how we do our work from home jobs to earn the supplemental income that pays for necessities including our food and medical costs.   (I am on disability which covers the cost of the basics such as our rent, utilities and insurance but is not enough to cover food and medical needs.  Before he lost his job and then our car died, Jamey's check used to cover those things.    Please see Who We Are for more information.)

Finally, there is social media.   For example, I follow James Breakwell, Xploding Unicorn on Twitter.   Some of his conversations with his four daughters and reports on the antics of their two pet pigs literally make me laugh-out-loud.    He is just one of many I follow on various social media streams who provide a source of free entertainment for me.   (Jamey has his own folks he follows who entertain him.)


We also make each other laugh, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally.  Other times I have "brain hiccups" that cause me to laugh until my stomach hurts when I realize what I have just done.     Then, there are our cats, who can do the darndest things at times.

For example, Night loves to sleep on my bed while I am working on my computer or doing chores.  Recently, I went into the bedroom to put socks away after having done laundry.  Night was up on the windowsill but as soon as she saw me come in, she immediately jumped down and ran over to my bed to stake her claim on my pillow.  As far as she was concerned this was her time slot to have my bed and she was not about to give it up.  (Given that when I first met Night she was a terrified feral cat, I love to see her so self-confident now.   Over time I will write more about the history of both of our rescue cats.)

Night laying claim to my pillow
My cat, Night, staking her claim to my pillow

Last, but definitely not least in the laughter category, is someone that Jamey and I both enjoy, comedian Jeanne Robertson.  For now we watch her only on YouTube but after our debt is completely paid off (Dave Ramsey step two), six months of savings built up (Dave Ramsey step three)  and we hopefully have a car again, we would love to go see her in person someday if she comes to a place within a reasonable traveling distance of us. This would be a very, very rare treat for us.

We each have our favorite Jeanne Robertson videos, so I will embed one here and give the links for a few others we really enjoy.  Note that "Left Brain" is her nickname for her very literal-minded husband.

  • "Men don't know the style in NYC!" (Pashmina Toss Flip story) is one of Jamey's favorites.   He is not above telling me "I don't know the style in NYC" when I ask him why he hadn't alerted me to something that was not as it should have been in what I was wearing.
  • He also enjoys "Don't send a man to the grocery store!"   It may look like she is putting her husband down, but as you watch a lot of her videos, the loving bond between them is very clear.    
  • My own favorite Jeanne Robertson video is a two parter.   I have to confess that there are times when I am in a public ladies room that I think of this video and have to work to keep myself from starting to laugh-out-loud.    You'll see what I mean if you watch them.   Part 1 of "Don't Line Dance in the Ladies' Room"  and Part 2 of "Don't Line Dance in the Ladies' Room"

Beaver is the nickname of her son.  He is an adult now and can be seen in this video sitting in the audience next to her husband.

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