Entertainment for Less

July 11, 2008 8:03:08 AM PDT
Love to play but lack of funds getting in the way? Here are some ways to have fun for free ... or at least for a lot less money.-------------------------------------------------------------------
Article Resources
fresnolibrary.org/serv/calculator.html
Fresno Movies in the Park webpage
woodwardshakespeare.org
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Start at your local library. As soon as the Clovis regional library opens every morning, the building is bustling. Shealeen Kirby hits the CD section first, then the book aisles, knowing she's saving money with each visit: "Yeah, quite a bit, 'cause then I don't have to go out and buy the books, I can just get them from here and borrow them." Darrell Peyton started coming a year ago, getting as many as 7 DVD's per visit for every day of the week. He explains, "It's because times are getting really tough right now."

Librarian Jennifer Bethel has seen a lot of patrons coming in with the same idea: "Every day someone walks into this branch and says you have movies here? Look at all these books, you have CD's here? Wow, I haven't been here in a long time. Library card's free, they're just astounded when they see the resources that they can have here."

The Fresno County Library even has an online calculator (fresnolibrary.org/serv/calculator.html ) to show how using the library cuts down on your entertainment budget. I did the calculations, and my family saves $235 dollars a month!

Spending $5 for a new release at the corner video store can add up quickly. And mail-order subscription services can be costly, too, unless you watch a lot of movies every month to make the expense worthwhile. Then there's a new and cheaper way to do it via the internet. Go to www.redbox.com and find a movie you want to watch. Then, pick up your DVD at your local Redbox location. Oftentimes it's your neighborhood supermarket ?like Savemart? or drugstore. All for a dollar a night.

If you want to spend the night out, tap into free community events. Like movies in the park (Fresno Movies in the Park webpage) at Eaton Plaza in Downtown Fresno. Friday, July 18th is "Batman Begins" and at least a dozen more movies are planned. Right next to the downtown Clovis Farmers Market is Bluegrass in the Park, a free event, which is seeing bigger crowds than ever. Or get your cultural fix for free at the Woodward Shakespeare Festival (woodwardshakespeare.org ) at Woodward Park. "Twelfth Night", runs through July 26th.

Get to your favorite bar or club early *before* they start charging a cover ... usually around 10 or 11 o'clock. At Regal Cinemas in Central Fresno, watching a movie at twilight, between 4 and 6 pm is only $5.50... even cheaper than a matinee ($7). So if you're doing dinner and a movie, watch the movie first.

And when it comes to concerts or performances, Consumer Reports says one way to get tickets at a good price is to buy them before they actually go on sale. Presale mailings are one option. Joining an artist's fan club can get you onto a presale list. Also look for credit-card promotions that give you first dibs and discounts, too.


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