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Frugal Entertainment Boonies Style

April 15th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

It used to be a snap for me to provide myself with free or darn near free home entertainment. I lived in a town where I had unlimited use cable, a DVD-friendly library, and an outstanding state park some 3 miles from the house. It was a perfect setup for my primary leisure activities: computer gaming*, classical music listening, movie watching, history book reading**, and hiking***. Alas, no more.

We have moved to a much more rural location that improves my overall quality of life but has presented me with some entertainment challenges to my frugality without sacrifice mindset****. Here is what I have been able to do about it.

Dealing With Limited Internet Access
There is no cable service where I live. No high-speed phone line internet either. All we can get is satellite internet service and that is not unlimited. Whereas before I got unlimited use for about $50 a month, what we get now is 10GB of data service for $60.51 a month. To me that means no more internet streaming of video or music. So we have had to be creative to develop alternatives.

Creating A Classical Music Background
In our previous location, I streamed classical music from Pandora's free internet music service while I worked on my computer or read my books. Here I am having to create my own service. So I have bought 2 decent-sounding CD player systems for a total of $115 and placed one each in my reading room and my computer nook. By frequenting yard sales and thrift stores, I am building up my classical CD library at a buck a throw. I am up to 15 CDs, working my way up to 25 plus-or-minus. At that point, I will have solved my background classical music challenge for a total cost of $140 to $150.

Getting Access to Movies and TV
In our previous location, we had already dropped TV cable service. We did most of our movie and tv-program watching through Netflix (at $8 a month) and Amazon Prime Video (a free bonus with Amazon Prime shipping service). But where we live now we do not consider internet video streaming a viable option. Aggravating our little problem a little more, our new county's library system is decidedly not DVD-friendly, so we cannot use that either as a source of video entertainment.

We have taken 3 steps to bridge this "visual entertainment divide." For $25, we have purchased a long-distance TV antenna which now makes it possible for us to tune in free TV stations from 2 major cities within 50 miles of us. We are using our already existing 300-plus DVD collection as our movie library. And we have found a thrift store where we can buy and trade back the same DVDs we buy so that our net cost per DVD viewed is 53 cents.

Finding Trails to Hike
In our previous location, my lifetime senior citizen state park pass got me in free to that great trail-rich state park that I had within 3 miles of the house. Here there are no state parks nearby. But there are 2 hiking-trail county parks within reasonable range (5 and 10 miles away). And I got myself a free county park pass so that admission fees still do not come into the picture.

All told, I think the entertainment challenges presented by our new location have been frugally met. Goes to show, where there's a (frugal) will, there's a way.

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*My Strategy Games Rainy Day Passion:
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**Time Traveling With History Books:
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***My Love Affair With Hiking:
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****How I Do Frugality Without Sacrifice:
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