4 Awesome Entertainment Ideas for Only $1.00

(Guest post by Joel from Save Outside the Box)

Want to go do something really fun but you’re just flat out broke? I’ve been there. Here are some options that’ll only set you back a single George Washington for those of you that are monetarily challenged, or just cheap as hell.

1. Attend a major league baseball game.

What!? That’s possible? Oh yes. America’s pastime is back in session and a few major league ballparks around the country offer $1 seats to catch a game. One of the teams that offers this is the Atlanta Braves – they open up 186 seats 3 hours prior to every game for fans to catch some action for a single greenback. The Washington Nationals also offer $1 seats on certain Monday night games. Bring your first aid kit though, there is a chance of a nosebleed in these seats.

Is one dollar too steep for you? Go to a San Francisco Giants game. They have a hole in the outfield wall called “the knothole” where fans can catch a few innings of a game for free.

If you don’t have a major league team near you check out a minor league game. The farm teams are famous for their antics to draw a crowd.

2. Explore a new city.

With the cost of gas these days you can barely afford to get to the end of your driveway for a buck. You can however, visit a new city that is hours away. No joke. Megabus and Bolt Bus are coach style bus services that are quickly expanding around the country offering $1 seats on every trip they make.

Here’s the scoop – every seat isn’t a dollar but, if you book far enough in advance (about 3 months), you can snag those ultra cheap seats. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a better travel deal in the world. I’ve been to Memphis and New Orleans via $1 Megabus seats and plan on hitting up some other great nearby cities in the future. They also offer free wifi to help you avoid complete boredom.

3.Watch a movie in the theater.

Dollar theaters didn’t go extinct with the dinosaurs. I enjoy seeing epic movies in the theater, especially ones with great visual work. But damn, I can’t afford the snack bar at movie theaters these days, much less the exorbitant ticket prices.

So do an internet search for a dollar theater near you. You’ll have to wait an extra month or two to see the movie you want but you’ll pay roughly 90% less. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

4. Watch a movie at home.

I’m sure you know about Redbox – but their movies are actually $1.20 now so it can’t make the list, right? Wrong – with promotional codes you can rent even cheaper Redbox movies. I don’t ever rent a movie for full price anymore. Here is a list of promo codes to try when making your selection. You can sign up to receive text messages from Redbox with codes for free and discounted rentals too. By the way, your local library probably has some great free DVD rental options as well.

I hope these ideas help you find ways to have some really fun experiences for just a buck. What type of cheap entertainment do you enjoy?

About Joel: Saving money is in my blood. My family went through some tough financial times in my formative years and that has shaped the way I view and handle money. Saveoutsidethebox.com is where I share my tips for living life to the fullest on the cheap. I also have a day job working on the Clark Howard Show where we are all about consumer empowerment.

[Killer photo by cliff1066™]

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  1. Shafi May 23, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    A few years ago, I worked in Minneapolis for 8 months. About 10-minute drive from my place, a theater was charging $1. The movies, of course, were not first release, but were Okay because I had not seen any of them. I would go every Saturday and Sunday to see a movie. It was a multiplex. The last 3 months of my stay, they closed it for renovation. Then I found another one that was charging $2 for matinee.

      1. Shafi May 23, 2013 at 10:14 AM

        Actually I didn’t have TV in Minneapolis. Here at home, I watch TV. I am old-movies junkie. I watch TCM. For old TV shows, I watch MeTV and TVLand. I know nothing about the new shows.

        1. J. Money May 23, 2013 at 5:45 PM

          that’s awesome!! well, not about the TV, but about the movies ;)

  2. Lance @ Money Life and More May 23, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    Redbox is a great deal as long as you’re already going to the area with the Redbox to pick it up and return it. Otherwise, gas/vehicle costs can add a lot more cost than you’d think about!

    1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 23, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      Very true Lance. I fortunately have one within walking distance of my house or I can just drop by on the way home from work.

  3. Free Money Minute May 23, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    So, for $3 I could potentially take a bus to Atlanta, watch a movie and then go to the game. Sweet, sign me up! I wonder what the chances of actually getting one of those 186 seats are? Great marketing by these teams, because those that don’t get in are likely buying cheap seats at $10-15 and those that get in are buying $8-10 beers and brats.

    1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 23, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      You are welcome in Atlanta anytime! I think your chances depend on the night in question and the opponent in town. The Twins were here on Monday and there were very few people in the stands. That means that it wasn’t too hard to get a $1 seat. If you want to see a Saturday night game against the division rival it would be much harder.

      1. Free Money Minute May 23, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        I will be all over that if I find myself in Atlanta. To bad I am from Michigan, so it is quite a ride to get down there. I would love to see a Braves game someday. They are good almost every year. We are thankful that the Tigers have turned it around.

  4. John S @ Frugal Rules May 23, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    I did not know that about some of the MLB teams. I am sure they’re not good seats, but you can’t beat that price at all. We have a dollar theater here in our town…well it’s really the $2 theater. We go there from time to time as we can get in and even get snacks for the price of one ticket to the AMC theater.

    1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 23, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      You are right John. The seats aren’t great. BUT, you are free to take a stroll, maybe end up in the section behind home plate…lets just say when I get the cheap seats I’m not sitting in those seats the whole time.

  5. Greg@ClubThrifty May 23, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    I seriously have to talk my wife into going to the dollar theater! I love going to movies, but I can never get her to go with me to the discount theaters. It is totally on now!

    Side note: That is the best article photo that I’ve seen in a long time! It made me giggle.

    1. Brian May 23, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Greg – Have you been to the Tibbs Drive-in? You can take the whole family to a double (sometimes triple) feature for pretty cheap. Yeah it is $10 for adults ($5 for under 13 and free for under 3), but you can bring your own food and drink (they have a wonderful concession stand that is very reasonably priced too).

      We do this all the time with our little guy and when he goes to sleep we just leave him in the back of the car. It is pretty much the only way we are able to see movies. While it isn’t as cheap as a $1 theatre it does some brand new movies and is a blast!

      1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 23, 2013 at 11:30 AM

        Drive in movie theaters are awesome! We have one close by that does double features for $7. PLUS, you can get their early and grill out which is a blast.

    2. J. Money May 23, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      It was one of my faves too :) Excellent snapshot!

  6. Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce May 23, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    It also makes financial sense to book about fifteen seats at different dates on those buses if you’re unsure of times. That way, if you go on even one of the dates, it’s still cheaper than taking another bus or the train.

    1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 23, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      Good thinking Mike. That is true. If you buy 15 $1 tickets it is way cheaper than waiting until the last minute and buying a $75 fare.

    2. J. Money May 23, 2013 at 7:36 PM

      hah! that is actually a good idea – haven’t ever thought of that before.

  7. Brian May 23, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    We go to our minor league baseball team all the time. The prices are pretty reasonable and they even have nice promo nights where certain food items are only $1 a piece!

    When my little guy gets older we will join the “knot hole kids club” where kids can get a reserved or lawn seat to all 72 home games for only $16! That is an unbeatable deal (of course I still have to pay to get myself in but hey that’s a small price to pay to spend time with my son). He will also be allowed to run the bases after every home game too!

    1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      Nice! I’m a little biased but I really think that baseball is one of the best family bonding activities. It is a leisurely game so lots of time for chatting. Plus you are chilling outside. That sounds like an incredibly small price to pay for the memories you and your son will be making.

  8. Jacob Erickson May 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    These are all great ideas. Unfortunately, the Twins games cost a bit more than $1 here, but you can definitely find them for around $10 which is still pretty cheap.

    1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 23, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      I don’t mean to rub it in Jacob but after their recent performances maybe you’ll start to see some more incentives to come to the ballpark. :)

      1. J. Money May 23, 2013 at 7:39 PM


  9. Nick @ ayoungpro.com May 23, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I always seem to forget about dollar movie theaters, but I love me some Redbox!

  10. Grayson @ Debt RoundUp May 23, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    The dollar movie theater is a classic and I don’t mind waiting. I already wait now until it is on Netflix or Amazon Prime. The regular movie theaters are too expensive.

    1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 23, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      No doubt Grayson. I can really only bring myself to hit up a regular movie theater once a year or so. It is just overwhelmingly expensivo.

  11. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries May 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    I’ve been signed up for the Redbox texts for a while now and love it! While they don’t give as many free rentals away as they used to, it’s still a great deal. Also, since it’s summertime try to see if there are any local festivals or events being put on in your town. Many of the ones held in my area are free before a certain time, and a minimal entrance fee afterward.

    1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      The Redbox texts are great. I actually wrote an article on volunteering at your local festivals here: http://www.saveoutsidethebox.com/volunteering-pays-off/

      I just volunteered for my local beerfest last weekend. It is always so much fun! You get free entrance, free beer, you get to pour beer for people while still drinking even more free beer, and then there is an after party for the volunteers a week later with EVEN MORE free beer. Kind of crazy. I am a big proponent of volunteering in your local neighborhoods. So many great benefits for everyone involved.

      1. J. Money May 23, 2013 at 7:39 PM

        WHAT??? I WANT IN!!!

  12. Jacob @ iHeartBudgets May 23, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Great tips, wish we had dollar baseball around here (Seattle), but even with a cheap seat, I would still see then getting KILLED out there. We do local arks and walks around town with the little one. Picking up a stick and whacking the dog and other random stuff is way more fun that any toy!

    1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 24, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      Whacking the dog with a stick – Does fun get any cleaner than that?

  13. Christine aka Teeny Green May 23, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    Wow dollar movies!!!! I can never find that here in Los Angeles! with tax Redbox rentals are now a hefty $1.31 also! My hubs and I have basically cut out going to the theater to watch movies because of the ticket prices. Even with Costco discounts…can really add up!

    1. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox May 24, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      Thats a bummer Teeny Green. You do live in an expensive ass city – but there are some definite perks to that as well. Sign up for the redbox text and email alerts and follow that link I put in the article – you’ll get some free and discounted rentals. PLUS, you can reuse those codes if you use a different credit card.

  14. thepotatohead May 25, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    Whoa! And here I thought $6 Orioles tickets were cheap. Maybe I need to convert to the Tomahawk Chop…The dollar theaters definitely rock. The one by me usually has like 10 people in the whole place, no annoying chatter or cell phones going off during the movie, just how its supposed to be.

  15. Mark May 25, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Wow! Those things are really interesting. I really don’t think most of those can be done with only a dollar but anyways thanks for sharing this,

  16. Mike Carlson May 26, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    I would rather watch a movie online for free when I am on a tight budget. I am entertained without having to pay a single penny.

  17. Debt Blag May 31, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Sadly, a morning game on a rainy day with half the players on the DL would still cost at least $20 for the Yankees :/