There’s never a shortage of things to do when you live in a big city — even if you have to stick to a tight budget. Free concerts in the park, food truck festivals, thrift stores, and even free museum days exist in both small and large cities. But what if you want to stay in? Not only can you save on the cost of, say, a movie ticket, you can also save on your restaurant bill by cooking at home.
Personally, getting cozy at home with a good movie (or Super Smash Bros.) and yummy treats sounds way more appealing than bar hoping in -6 degree weather. If you are looking for movies online for your home entertainment, you can follow this link.
Unfortunately, entertaining yourself at home is way more fun when you already have a home entertainment system. But how do you build an enviable home entertainment space that’s tons of fun to use but doesn’t totally blow your budget?
Here are 3 ways to stretch your home entertainment dollars:
1. Content is King
The rise of on-demand and internet-delivered content has been huge for people trying to save a few bucks. A small, but growing number of people are beginning to cut the cord on cable. cNet recently outlined the results of a study showing that nearly 3% of people plan to cut their cable this year. That doesn’t sound like a big number, but it’s been growing every year and causing traditional content providers to be more innovative on how they provide their content.
For example, Direct TV has been expanding their on demand selection in order to better compete with Netflix and Amazon. They’re also offering special deals for big metropolitan areas to keep their subscriber numbers up. Check out their directTV packages in New York for an example of big city prices.
Bottom line, you first dollar should be spent on quality content. The best home entertainment system in the world doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have great stuff to watch.
2. Buy a Separate Box for “Smart” Features
Every major television manufacturer offers a “smart” TV now. Features range from streaming Netflix or YouTube to automatically updating social networks with what you’re watching. The features are neat, but expensive when packaged with the TV. Amazon, Apple, Google and Roku all have separate boxes that offer these same features, but at fraction of the price. Plus, most are small enough that you won’t even notice the external box.
Spring for the cheaper, non-smart television and spend $50-$100 on the external box. You’ll still get the same great features while saving hundreds of dollars.
3. Look at Budget-Friendly Sound Systems
You may feel like you need a top-quality surround system to get that true theater experience at home. Having a great sound system does improve the viewing experience, but you don’t need to spend as much as you think.
You get the most benefit out of the first couple hundred of dollars. The incremental quality above that is minimal. In other words, you’ll notice a big difference between the stock speakers in the television and a $200 sound system, but won’t notice as big of a difference between a $200 and a $400 sound system.
Don’t miss out on a great home entertainment experience because you feel like it’s out of your price-range. For less than $1,000, you can build a quality home theater system. You just need to keep your priorities straight to really get the most bang for your buck.
*This article was contributed.