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Welcome to "Frugal Fridays" where we share money saving tips, discuss living frugally and generally talk about personal finance issues.  Today I wanted to turn toward the lighter side of life and look at how you can save money while keeping yourself and your family entertained.   This started out as a diary about books, but as I'd like to hear your ideas on all sorts of entertainment: movies, music, live entertainment, video games, theme parks, you name it.  If you've found a way to save money while having fun, here's the place to share.

Public Libraries
If you are looking for free entertainment, your local public library should be your first stop.  You may be surprised at all they have to offer.  In addition to books, most libraries carry music CD's, movies (DVDs and videos).  Some also carry software, toys and other stuff you may want to check out (pun intended).  I used to live near a library where you could check out cameras for your personal use.  You never know what they have until you ask.  Even if you don't live near a well stocked library branch, the bookmobile and Interlibrary Loan can bring the resources of the county or state library system to you.  

On a hot summer day, it's a cool place to while away an afternoon reading or surfing the web on the free internet access, which allows you to save money on your summer utility bills.  Also, summer reading programs aren't just for kids anymore.  Many libraries hold them for adults as well.  Sign up and you can get free prizes for reading free books.  What could be better than that?

Brick and Mortar Used Book Stores and Thrift Stores
Sometimes there is no substitute for owning your own copy of a book, movie, CD or game.  In those cases, you may want to look into your local used books stores or thrift stores.  The selection at thrift stores is somewhat limited, but the prices can't be beat.  Look in the yellow pages under Thrift Stores or Books: Used to find locations near you.

Web Used Book Stores and Thrift Stores
If you are looking for a hard to find and/or cheap book, CD, DVD, video game, etc., your best resource may be right at your fingertips.  Here are some places to start:

  • Freecycle: the best source on the web for finding free stuff or for getting rid of stuff that you know will go to someone who really wants it.
  • Craigslist: great for picking up previous generation games or electronics.
  • Bookmooch: a wonderful way to trade used books over the web.  You enter books you want to trade into their database.  If someone requests it, you send it to them free (you pay the postage) and you get a credit.  Use the credits to request books from other folks.
  • Abe Books and Alibris are great sources for used and, in particular, out-of-print books.
  • Amazon is a good resource for book reviews and used books in addition to the new books they sell.  Here is a link I found of coupon codes you can use there.  I haven't used this link myself, so I don't know how good it is or if these work for used book purchases.  When I shop at Amazon, I use FreePledge so that a percentage of my purchase goes to the charity of my choice, but again, I don't know if that applies to used books.

Other Resources for Books
Here are some more links I've found that have to do with books.  These aren't necessarily for used books or even for saving money, but they are kind of cool.

  • If you want to know find out what book comes next in a series you are reading, What's Next is a really helpful page.  (Just another resource brought to you by a local library.)
  • Half Price Books is a chain of stores that sells used and remaindered books and music at a discount.  Use this web page to find the store nearest you.
  • Borders Books has a rewards program that is free to sign up for.  They send out coupons by email weekly that are usually good for something like 20% off a single item.
  • If you are looking for an independent bookstore, you can check out BookSense to find one near you.
  • Powell's Books or Barnes and Nobles are recommended by many folks who aren't too happy with Amazon's politics (they donate more money to Reps than Dems).
  • If you have a hardback book you don't want to keep, and you can get past the trauma of destroying a book, you can hollow it out and turn it into a place to hide valuables.  You can also buy these at Secret Storage Books, but doing it yourself is a lot cheaper.

Summer is traditionally the time to go watch movies.  If seeing the latest hit on the big screen is important to you, there are ways to take the whole family out without taking out a second mortgage.  Keep in mind that movie theaters don't make their profit from the sale of tickets.  Most of that money goes to the studios.  They make their money on the concession stand and thus the markup on popcorn and soda is outrageous.  This is why most theaters take a dim view of people smuggling in their own snacks.  My advice is if you don't want to watch a movie without munching on something, bring your own, but be discreet.  (Big purses are really helpful.)

  • In general, movie theaters don't have as many cheap matinee showings as they used to, but the first show of the day is usually half-price at most places.  One piece of advice:  never, ever, go see any movie rated lower than NC-17 on a weekend matinee.  Trust me, you won't be able to hear the soundtrack over all the children screaming and talking.  
  • You may be able to find a discount movie theater near you.    It may not have the best sound system and it won't show big movies in the first weeks they are out, but they can  be significantly cheaper than the megaplex.  
  • Look for discount ticket buying opportunities through your employer or other organizations you belong to.  I've seen discount movie tickets for AMC theaters on sale at our local Costco.  Alternatively, you may be able to get a discount if you purchase a set of gift certificates through the theater box office.
  • If you live nears a college or university and you know someone who can buy you tickets, you may be able to see the very discounted movies that are sometimes shown on campus.
  • Of course watching movies in your own home is much cheaper than taking the whole family out to the theater.  Netflix and Blockbuster both have very affordable rental plans.  I think Netflix's interface and support is a bit better, but with Blockbuster you have the added benefit of being able to pick up and drop off movies at the store (which saves the mailing time).

I'm probably not the person to ask about good sources for cheap music since I am barely out of the vinyl age and I'm not that into music to begin with, but I do have a few suggestions, other than the stores listed above.  

  • BMG Music Club has been mr. sarahnity's favorite source for years (I swear there is a picture of him at their corporate headquarters labeled "Our Favorite Customer").  His average cost per CD is about $5 through them.  The key is to wait until they have a really good sale (about every 6 months, it seems) where you buy one at full price and the rest are some cheap price like $1.99 (plus shipping) and then stock up on all the stuff you've been eyeballing for months to fully amortize that one expensive CD.  You have to be willing to indulge in delayed gratification, but you can save a bundle if you are.
  • Rather than buy an entire CD when you only want one song, you can buy the single track from iTunes.  Or so I hear.  Some day I'm going to have to get myself one of those MP3 players and find out what all the fuss is about.

Cable TV bills can easily top $100/month.  If you watch two or three hours of TV a day, this may seem worthwhile, but if you are on a strict budget, this may be an expense you want to cut down or eliminate entirely.  For those of us who live in houses in relatively urban areas, we can get most network broadcasts with just an antenna on the roof, although this may not be much use for folks in apartments or in very rural settings.  If you find yourself reluctant to give up your favorite show that you can only see on cable, consider this alternative: rather than watching the show in the season it is broadcast, wait a year and watch all the episodes when they come out on DVD.  (Check them out of the library or rent the DVDs).  You have the added benefit of knowing before you start whether the show was canceled mid-season or not.  If you really can't bear to give up the post-episode discussions with your friends each week, you could consider downloading the episodes over the web.   The networks are beginning to provide free streaming downloads of some shows and iTunes and Amazon Unbox offer shows for sale.

Live Entertainment
I'm not proud of this but the fact is that my cheapness is so ingrained, I have trouble spending money on live entertainment, because I keep thinking of it in terms of how many dollars I have to spend per hour of entertainment, when a single book can keep me entertained for a whole day (or more) for much less cost.  It's taken me many years to realize this is a dumb way of looking at the cost of a ticket to a show.  There is something magical about live entertainment that is quite memorable and unlike any other form of entertainment.  I can still remember the first Broadway show I saw twenty-five years ago (Doug Henning as Merlin) , and there aren't many books I can say have stuck with me that long.  That said, there are ways to save money even for this relatively expensive form of fun:

  • Matinee performances of symphonies, the ballet, or theater can be significantly cheaper than then evening shows.  You don't always see the principal cast in the performance, but the quality is not noticeably different in my experience.  For those of you with small children you want to leave at home, it may be cheaper and easier to find a babysitter during the daytime rather than for an evening performance as well.  Be warned that matinee performances are likely to have more children in the audience.
  • If you live near a college or university, look into the student productions.  They can be quite good and very affordable.
  • Community theater (where the performers are amateurs) can also be a good source for affordable live entertainment.  If you are willing to volunteer some time, you may even get free tickets.
  • Music Festivals are a wonderful way to see a lot of live music all in one location.  Often they are free or very low cost.  Look into what annual events are held in your area.
  • In New York, you can get half-priced show tickets the day of the performance at the TKTS booth in Time Square.  In Las Vegas, Tix4Tonight has a similar service (be sure to print out the coupon from their website before you go to save even more).

Theme Parks
Just as with movie tickets, you can often get discount tickets to theme parks through your employer, your credit union, wholesale clubs like Costco, promotions run at certain grocery stores, other organizations such as AAA or its more progressive competitor Better World Club.  I don't think it's ever necessary to pay full price at most of these places.  Ask around and you should easily save a few dollars per ticket.  Some parks run promotions during the summer where you can buy a multi-month pass for the price of only a few admissions.  If you live near such a place, that might be a nice treat for your kids that doesn't break your budget.

Originally posted to sarahnity on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:10 PM PDT.


What's your favorite form of entertainment?

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| 59 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for the entertainer (25+ / 0-)

    Be sure to share your ideas in the comments!

    If you are interested in writing a diary for this series, or you have a topic you'd like to see covered, or if you want to be added to the mailing list for announcing these diaries, email me: frugalfridays (at)

    Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

    by sarahnity on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:06:41 PM PDT

    •  you don't need the mp3 player... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sarahnity, anotherdemocrat

      to get the songs! Just download iTunes to your computer and you're set to go. Burn a CD to make them portable :-).

      ::comments brillig while listening to her iTunes library on shuffle play :-)::

      And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

      by brillig on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:52:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One objection. (6+ / 0-)

    Record club sales net artists zip in artist royalties.  Though author/publisher mechanical royalties are generally paid on such sales, in terms of supporting the performers, club sales are tantamount to free downloading.

    I know I'm bemoaning the loss of the buggy-whip industry here, but I really wish people would get their music in ways that actually pay the artists.

    That said, thanks for your frugal tips.  Especially useful in these times.

    Nanotechnology can take atmospheric CO2 and make diamonds and fresh air. New! Listen to crap at

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:13:31 PM PDT

  •  Become an usher/usherette (8+ / 0-)

    at events.  You might stuff the programs with the errata (so and so is a no show), show people to their seats, and then watch the show.  I like sitting next to the high rip $eats in the opera house.

    When decisions are made now in the Bush attorney general's office, politics is the primary consideration. The rule of law goes out the window. US Attny Eubanks

    by sailmaker on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:13:59 PM PDT

  •  Backgammon (7+ / 0-)

    Games are also excellent entertainment. If you lack a partner, almost every game imaginable can be played for free online against endless hordes of players from all levels of skill.

    Otherwise, I generally read. There's almost nothing I can watch anymore on the screen.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:15:54 PM PDT

  •  The everything resource (8+ / 0-)

    Noticed you forgot one that may be too obvious to mention - Ebay.  All of the popular forms of entertainment (books, movies, video games) can usually be found dirt-cheap there  since the resale value of such items is pure crap.  Any brick-and-mortar establishment generally offers less than 10% buyback on such items, so a lot of people will put their used material up for auction - better deal for them, better deal for you.  Not such a good deal for local business, unfortunately.

    Just gotta completely read through the listings and avoid exorbitant sellers fees.

  •  In addition to your excellent suggestions: (7+ / 0-)

    My advice is if you don't want to watch a movie without munching on something, bring your own, but be discreet.

    I read somewhere that you should go to the supermarket after a good meal so you won't be tempted to buy everything you see.  I'd also suggest the same holds true for going to the movies: have your meal before the movie, so you can skip the overpriced popcorn and candy.  If, during the movie, you can't stop thinking about the 2.5 oz. bag of M&Ms for $3.95, then you're watching a lousy movie!

    "Some men see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'I need to quit drinking!'" - Greasy Grant

    by Greasy Grant on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:19:01 PM PDT

  •  Drive in movies (7+ / 0-)

    Da Boys were thrilled last year when I took them to see a movie at the local drive in; they thought it was so cool.  There aren't many left, but they're still there.  And nowadays, instead of those cheezy speakers, you have the option of tuning in on the FM dial for the soundtrack.

    Biggest problem was that modern cars are not designed with drive-ins in mind: the rear-view mirror gets in the way.  But, if you take lawn chairs or, even better, if you can take a pick-up so you can sit in the bed, the drive-in is cheap compared to a theater.  Plus you can take as many snacks in as you want!

    Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

    by Frankenoid on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:20:55 PM PDT

  •  Summertime is a good time... (7+ / 0-)

    ...for community event freebies.  Think of all those 4th of July celebrations and parades and such that just happened!  Some cities/towns will have community bands performing in parks and such throughout the summer.

    Along with the ushering/volunteering suggestion that was just mentioned, some groups will let folks attend dress rehearsals for free.  We're lucky enough to live near a university campus with a top-flight marching band -- I often take the kiddos to practices in the fall.

    And back onto the book theme, I second the motion for libraries (as a librarian myself!!) and also Half Price Books, where I've done a LOT of gift-shopping lately!

    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not." -- Dr. Seuss

    by AnnieJo on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:22:28 PM PDT

  •  Another cheap place to buy used books-- (6+ / 0-)

    library sales at your public library in which they sell off older and/or duplicate copies of books.   Libraries in most cities and large towns usually have one every year and they're great for picking up all sorts of books for pennies on the dollar.

    Word to all sell-out, corporate-owned Democrats: No donation without representation!

    by big spoiled baby on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:23:35 PM PDT

    •  Love those annual book sales (5+ / 0-)

      Several area libraries (including Ann Arbor's) have annual sales, and the local AAUW chapter holds a biggie every September.

      "I call 'em as I see 'em."--the late Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem.

      by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:36:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My only problem when I go to these (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sarahnity, ladybug53

      is buying too many books.  At my church's auction this spring I ended up with a full box full of books-at a dollar apiece who could resist.

      Which brings me to another source of entertainment.

      A lot of churches have really good galas or fundraisers (the best ones are usually for the music department) that feature good music, often secular, at a bargain price.  Some, like the National Cathedral, have outstanding free summer music programs.  A few, like the Mormons, will almost alwayts catch you for some proselytizing (but hearing the Mormon Tabernacle choir live is worth it!)  Many churches have great acoustics and are nice and cool for summer concerts also.

      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

      by barbwires on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 03:03:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One area that you missed (7+ / 0-)

    is hobbies.  I spend a lot of my "down time" carving (thus the screen name).  If you don't have a hobby it's easy enough to find one through adult ed. programs, community centers or from a friend that has a hobby you find interesting.  The extra bonus you receive from many hobbies is that you are creating something - even if it's not that good, it's satisfing.  And if you get good at it, it can be profitable.  (profit should be secondary or it ceases to be a hobby and becomes a job)

    The only shame in ignorance is taking pride in it.

    by carver on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:30:23 PM PDT

  •  Also, if you live in a city or near a university, (9+ / 0-)

    you can usually find lectures that are open to the public on all sorts of subjects, museums and galleries, free concerts, festivals, meetups, charity events, etc.  Just do a bit of advance calendar reading in your local newspaper.

    Also, protesting Bushco and its war-for-profit is a good way of meeting nice friendly people. :))

    Word to all sell-out, corporate-owned Democrats: No donation without representation!

    by big spoiled baby on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:32:01 PM PDT

  •  my city library (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, cdndem, sarahnity, barbwires, ladybug53

    lets you request books on line & have them sent to the branch nearest you. So, when I get about halfway through one, I look up the next one here:

    then get the next one in the series sent to my neighborhood library.

    I guess it saves money in that it keeps me in the neighborhood, but mostly, it is just handy.

    We have done the impossible and that makes us mighty - Firefly

    by anotherdemocrat on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:35:21 PM PDT

  •  A comment on used bookstores. (6+ / 0-)

    I don't agree with this, but many authors dislike books being resold because it dilutes their royalties. The Big Names like King and Cussler and Steele can afford this, but most genre writers don't make huge advances and don't get huge royalties.  Twenty grand a year from writing isn't bad for the average romance or sf writer--I know because I WAS a fantasy writer, and also write female-oriented erotica. Msot writers keep their day jobs to pay bills and keep a roof over their heads. even ones iwth multiple publication credts to their names.
    So, buying at a used bookstore may save you money, but it hurts the writer.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:39:29 PM PDT

    •  I think the underlying assumption is wrong (4+ / 0-)

      That assumes that if there were no used book stores, more people would buy the books new.  But I think if there were no used book stores, fewer people would buy new books.  I know that for most of my life I would never have bought new books if I couldn't recoup part of the price by reselling them used.  I would have just read them from the library.  Having an after market in books actually increases the market for new books, I think.  But I agree it is awfully hard to make a living as an author.  It's another industry where very little of the price paid by the consumer actually goes to the artist and it would be nice if we could come up with a new business model to change this.

      Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

      by sarahnity on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:50:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this is exactly the argument Eric Flint uses (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmo, sarahnity, ladybug53, AnnieJo

        for the Baen Free Book library. In case you're a SF fan & haven't found this place yet -- this is one of the reasons I love this author. Free, good, SF online:

        We have done the impossible and that makes us mighty - Firefly

        by anotherdemocrat on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:57:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ahg, but authros get to CHOOSE (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, anotherdemocrat

          if their books go up there. And it is mostly out of print volumes which are no longer available for purchase. They used to keep midlsit bopokslike genre fiction in print for a logn time, knowing someone would discover a alter work and then buy all the others by an author. Now they don't. THAT is a legit use of used bookstores. Buying hwat is available isn't.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 02:34:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Plus, save an author, kill a tree... (4+ / 0-)

        From an ecological perspective, it makes sense to have each book read by as many people as possible, no?  Read 'em to tatters, then recycle the paper!  :-)

        "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not." -- Dr. Seuss

        by AnnieJo on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 02:00:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Authors have bills to pay too. (0+ / 0-)

          So,no, your assumption doesn't make sense, unless you think that the laborer isn't worth his hire? Are you also against unions> Sme principle at stake. The bookstore owner profits off it.

          I donate to libraries myself.  Because libraries buy the hardcovers where real money gets made.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 02:32:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think anyone said (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            barbwires, ladybug53, AnnieJo

            that authors shouldn't be paid.  Not speaking for anyone else here, but my argument is that authors railing against used book stores or discount book stores or digital books are incredibly short-sighted.  If the only options available to book purchasers were ones that make authors money (full price new hardcover books) it would be a lot harder for authors to make a living writing than under the current system, not easier.

            The fact of the matter is that if my monthly budget for books is $20, and the only purchasing options available to me are full price new book stores that only carry hardcovers (and I have no option to recoup the purchase price by reselling the book), I am not going to spend that $20 to buy a book by an author I've never heard of.  If I am instead in a situation where I can stretch that $20 to buy many books, I'm more likely to take a chance on some authors I might never have tried otherwise.  If I find I like their books, and I want to read their very latest release, then I might be inclined to spend blow my entire budget on a single book.  Especially if I know I can turn around and sell or trade that book for one or two older releases by a different author.

            I'm amazed that struggling authors, can't put themselves in the consumer's position and see the fallacy of their arguments against used bookstores.  Aren't they readers too?  Have they never bought used books and discovered a new favorite author they would have otherwise overlooked?

            Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

            by sarahnity on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 03:06:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Get off your high horse. (0+ / 0-)

              Most authors get around 10K in advance.  It can take 6-12 months to write a book. Are you willing to put int hat much time for merely 10K a year? Most of us write out of love, but still, we are entitled to proper rewards. This notion that artists should starve is just bunk. La Vie Boheme means going hungry and living without heat in the winter. It means not being able to feed your kids, if you're a single Mom who isn't on welfare (and these days, you're expected to work). If you are unwilling to live that way, how dare you demand it of them?  YOU are the one being shortsighted--high-minded, yes, but short-sided.  People who can't afford to pay the bills stop writing. Or they live with their parents (men seem to be much more willing to do--they seem to see it as their due and an investment int heir future-- that than women, who normally work fulltime because theya re often single Moms--quite a few of those int h romance and sf communities). Nora Roberts, who writes bestsellers NOW spent a lot of years writing category romances for sheer love of writing; she was lucky enough to have a husband who supported her in the early years (I can bet he asked for and got alimony when they divorced).

              I am NOT talking most hardcover authors, but paperback authors, who make up the vast majority of the  writers.
              I deal far better with used hardbacks than used PBs for that reason. Most authors NEVER make it into hardback, or do so after ten or twelve books.

              If I don't know an author, I wait till they're in PB and read it then--or borrow from the library which DOES buy hardbacks aplenty.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 07:30:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Many of the people Iknow started in (0+ / 0-)

              E boks--they audition for print publishers by establishing a track record in e-books. I follow this issue closely.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Sat Jul 07, 2007 at 12:19:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps I was a little too flip. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            badger, sarahnity, ladybug53

            I should perhaps have said that the good of re-using each physical book to its fullest potential before it goes into the waste stream and the good of getting money into the pockets of the authors are often at odds.

            But, this diary is about frugality.  Frugality is sometimes at odds with other good things, but frugality is good as well.

            "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not." -- Dr. Seuss

            by AnnieJo on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 03:28:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  A lot of times I get introduced to a new (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sarahnity, ladybug53

        author through reading used books.  I dont like buying new books from an author I've never read.  But if I find a good writer, I almost always will look for his/her new books in the book store.

        Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

        by barbwires on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 03:06:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Too bad Stephen King (4+ / 0-)

      stopped his eBook experiment - electronically serially introduced chapters in a book. It could have been a neat format.

      I buy used books particularly when I DON'T want to give the writer royalties: John Yoo 'The Power of War and Peace' for example. Knowing (ick) what the other side is thinking without their getting a nickle out of me, warms my heart.

      When decisions are made now in the Bush attorney general's office, politics is the primary consideration. The rule of law goes out the window. US Attny Eubanks

      by sailmaker on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:57:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  me, too (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sarahnity, ladybug53

        I wanted to read L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth to see if it could possible be as bad as everyone said (boy, is it). I deliberately bought it at Half Price Books, because I didn't want his estate getting any money from me.

        We have done the impossible and that makes us mighty - Firefly

        by anotherdemocrat on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:59:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You're right about the libraries. It's there, (4+ / 0-)

    it's free and I'm constantly amazed at the array of gadgetry they have on hand. I play Scrabble a lot with my eldest daughter who is now ten and possesses a large vocabulary, in both English and Irish. We also take a lot of walks through the forest and the nearest beach. Forget the movies! There's absolutely nothing I want to see, apart from Sicko and Ratatouille, which will be shown here eventually.

    Progressive Dems should be reborn as Aggressive Dems and 1) get out of Iraq asap 2) impeach Cheney then Bush 3) elect Gore.

    by Asinus Asinum Fricat on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:48:58 PM PDT

  •  plenty of free live music (6+ / 0-)

    lots of bars/clubs/restaurants have no-cover music, you just have to find the styles you like. For example, I play in a banjo band two nights a month in a pizza parlor. Not a smoky bar, completely family-friendly!

    In summer, lots of cities have free events. For Bay Area people here are some choices:
    Mondays in Redwood City

    Tuesdays in Palo Alto

    Wednesdays in Redwood City

    Thursdays in San Joseand in Mountain View

    Fridays in Santa Cruz

    Sundays in  SF and in Los Gatos

    Jerry Garcia Day, August 5

    SFJazz Summerfest  includes free shows both in SF and at Stanford Shopping Center.

  •  tv (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sarahnity, ladybug53, anotherdemocrat

    we are canceling our cable at the end of this month. im a little sad, but actually pretty excited.  

    We have hooked up our computer to our television screen which makes watching downloaded shows just as enjoyable.  plus, now we can search the web together in the living room, which has actually led to a lot of fun nights and great conversations...

  •  There's another site for books. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sarahnity, ladybug53

    I think they're still active. It's a mailing list called Bookstore Junkies. They will do bricks&mortar used bookstore searches for people, with the proviso that anything found can't be more than half the cover price.

    It was started by a group of romance readers (don't worry, they've branched out) who enjoy bookstore browsing and wanted to help others with hard to find books. I've gotten a few books through them. Works great.

    "But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come." Samwise Gamgee (J.R.R. Tolkien)

    by cdndem on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 03:25:17 PM PDT

  •  Rural libraries (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sarahnity, ladybug53, AnnieJo

    We live in a very rural area (population 64,000 for a county bigger than Delaware). All of the small town libraries co-operate in an organization for inter-library loan, and their entire catalog is online. I just search for the book, and if it isn't at the local library, I reserve it online and pick it up locally a few days later - no charge.

    They also have DVDs - lot's of documentaries, but they also get most feature films about the same time they go on pay-per-view or to video rental stores. We order them the same way, also for no charge.

    I still support my local independent bookstore (the owner is a good Dem too) and Powell's when I get to Portland, but mostly for stuff the libraries don't have.

    There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

    by badger on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 03:54:26 PM PDT

  •  It was 100+ degrees today (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and people don't have A/C in their homes in Montana, much.  So, yes, our day did feature a trip to the public library, where my daughter participated in a free children's program and we got a bunch of books, followed by a trip to the university campus, where we bought 95-cent ice cream cones (they are cheaper on campus for some reason, same ice cream) and spent an hour and a half running through the absurdly wasteful sprinklers they've got watering the grass.  That last was free (the town pool would've cost us $7 and been far more crowded and miserable)-- and allowed me to enjoy the sprinklers for once instead of muttering about them under my breath.

    One form of free entertainment we take advantage of constantly: public parks.  That is the best deal in tax dollars that I can think of in the whole world.

  •  You can get old magazines (0+ / 0-)

    off recycle piles.... be careful about ones that are soiled, though.

  •  Games (0+ / 0-)

    You can play Scrabble online for free at Scrabulous

    You can play Go online at Kiseido go server

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