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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Free entertainment for our family this winter

I continue to get opportunities to see plays and concerts at my daughters' university, completely free of charge.

Last fall, I had the opportunity to attend a piano concert and a play. Then last Wednesday, my theater daughter had to usher at another play, so again, I got to enjoy the theater. That particular performance was a preview showing. My daughter ushered, and was given a free ticket to invite a guest. A friend from her class didn't need her free ticket (each student in that class received one free ticket), so my daughter scored a second free one. Both my other daughter and I could sit and watch the performance. The preview showings don't offer refreshments during intermission, but for a free seat, I can give up that cup of punch.

Cheap seats at a professional live theater, in downtown Seattle, run around $30 per seat. While what I get to enjoy are student actors, and not professional, there is something fun about watching the students as they increase in acting ability over the course of the year.

In addition to live entertainment on campus, the art gallery rotates exhibits on a regular basis. I've only had a couple of opportunities to take in these exhibits, but have thoroughly enjoyed them when I could. One Saturday, a couple of weeks ago, my art student daughter needed a ride to campus. There was an exhibit going on at the time, and I got to spend an hour enjoying that exhibit, again, free of charge.

For the whole family, we've been watching movies borrowed from the local library each Saturday and Sunday evening. Not only did I not see these movies in the theater when they were first relieased, but it's likely that I wouldn't have, as many of them are older, or more obscure, but still worth the time to watch. The real bonus in watching these movies at home, we discovered, is if a movie is not up to our standards, we change to another dvd, on the spot. We had one such movie, a week ago. The language was so foul, we all agreed to change it right away.

And for my personal entertainment, my most recent fixation is online sudoku puzzles. I play them both online and on paper. When I've had to take my fun on the go, I find a puzzle or two online, and jot it down on a piece of graph paper, to work with a pencil while in waiting rooms, or while sitting in the car at the park-and-ride picking up my girls. Oh yes, I know they make those handy booklets of sudoku puzzles, but as I can get them for free, online, I can't bring myself to spend the money to buy them.

Each season brings its own free entertainment. For now, we're enjoying indoor activities. But it won't be long until a long walk to the beach, or backyard campfires, are heavily featured in our bargain entertainment schedule.

What free or cheap fun things have you been up to this winter?


  1. Our usual frugal or free activities are sledding, skating, snow climbing (when the piles get huge) and hiking. I have been doing alot of hiking but with the extreme cold we have been having here in MN, not much sledding or skating going on. However we did get out last Fri eve for skating, it was only 0F, so not too bad. So here's hoping there is a warm coming soon... I would be happy with 20F so we can do all that stuff without freezing or looking like Ralphie's little brother from 'christmas story'. Have a tremendous Thursday!

    1. Hi Lisa,
      It sounds so wonderfully winter-ish there! The sledding and skating sounds like a lot of fun. Although, I may be too much of a weather wimp to take those super cold temps. It will be in the 20s and low 30s today, and I'm freezing! Hope it warms a bit for you, so you can enjoy the snow!

  2. I had heard Washington was having a cold streak. Make a cup of tea!

    Love your frugal entertainment! You think like I do. Saturday my son and husband went to an all-day outdoor Klondike activity with scouts so my daughter and I went to the school pool. For $2/person we can swim for over 2 hours. It's really a treat for us to do that in the winter. We may go again tonight. We also strapped on our snowshoes and tromped around the yard, which seems funny to me since we live in suburbia (I usually prefer a park) but we've had SO much snow that the plows haven't been able to keep up and the parking lots at the parks are unplowed ... and so, to the yard we go!

    My workplace gives 2 free movie tickets a year to the local theater--my niece babysat recently and my husband and I had a $4 date ($2 coupon off concession-stand popcorn and $4 is still the cheapest we could get!) seeing The Hobbit. I am so out of the loop with full-price movie tickets that I was shocked at how expensive they are.

    Our local art museum has a new exhibit, so maybe I should go during their free hours on a Thursday soon.

    1. Hi Kris,
      They're saying we might get snow this weekend! Here in Seattle, we get excited at the prospect of snow.

      Your $4 date is amazing! And what a great perk from your workplace! And going swimming in winter is a real treat, isn't it? $2 per person is a great price. Sounds like a lot of fun!

  3. There are so many great cheap options for entertainment at universities - I don't know what I'm going to do when I finish my degree! We don't get free tickets to plays and musicals, but they are very cheap. I also like musicals and have found that going to see musicals at local high schools very cheap and good.

    I've also been borrowing DVDs from the library lately, because I don't have internet access at home at the moment. I'm particularly enjoying Agatha Christie ones :)

    1. Hi Liz,
      oh yes, our local high school puts on a musical every spring. The tickets aren't too expensive, and I know its supporting a good cause (the schools).
      You might be able to take advantage of inexpensive offerings as a graduate. Even the non-student price for the theater productions is so much less than professional theaters, at our university here. And the art gallery is always free. I guess it depends how far you move once you finish your degree.

      You can check your public library for entertainment, as well. Our library has a knitting circle, weekend movie afternoons, special interest speakers, and book clubs, all free.


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