Cutting down on your spending money may seem like a big sacrifice. In a consumer mindset, it’s easy to equate spending money with having fun.  I’ve found that reducing your spending does not have to reduce your fun. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at common areas where it can be easy to overspend and provide some free alternatives that are just as fun and entertaining!


Last week I took a look at different ways to cut down on your sport and exercise expenditure. This week, I’ll suggest some free and fun entertainment options when you’re not feeling particularly sporty. It fits nicely with the theme I like to call “places you spend money when you’re not eating, sleeping or working!”

Peruse your local art galleries or museums

Many small galleries and museums offer free admission or nearly free admission. For example, the Vancouver Art Gallery offers admission by donation between 5pm and 9pm on Tuesday evenings (it’s in very very small print at the bottom of the page!). I spent a summer living in France and observed similar deals. At the time, The Louvre offered free admission for students on the last Tuesday of the month. Now, they offer free admission to everyone on the first Sunday of the month. I see a trend: if it happens in Vancouver AND Paris, you can find probably something in your neighborhood as well.

Keep in mind that if you’re looking for art to browse you don’t necessarily need to go to a art gallery. Check out your local art store – there’s nothing wrong with browsing!  Many artists will also display their works at public markets or community events.   It’s a great way to see work from local artists.

Comedy and Theatre Shows

Did you know it’s possible to get free tickets to comedy shows? I didn’t until I saw free tickets being posted by the club itself semi-regularly on Craigslist. CF and I emailed, and ended up getting 6 free tickets!  It does make sense when you think about it; the more people at the show, the more money the club will make off drinks and food. I’m sure the comics appreciate a full crowd rather than empty seats as well. Who knows, you may witness the next Russell Peters!

Many theatres will also offer free passes to shows… if you’re willing to put in a bit of work!  During the summer, Vancouver hosts productions of Shakespeare in the park.  These shows are extensively staffed by volunteers.  If you are willing to volunteer a few hours,  you get to see shows for free!   I have found that this is true for most live theatre.  Support the arts, and you’ll get to enjoy it too.

Local Events

With summer just around the corner, the number of free festivals and events is about to take off. One of the  highlights for me last year was a Fresh Air Cinema viewing of Mamma Mia.  It was shown on a giant projection screen in the middle of the park. Free, fun and an awesome way to spend a summer evening.

Many cities also have music festivals during the summer.  Last year in Vancouver, we had the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, for example.  It was a great party with lots of free music, a great atmosphere and a great crowd.


Hopefully some of these ideas will spark an idea or motivate you to do some research into activities in your area. There are a lot of options out there waiting for you to find them! Next week, free and fun food. Yep, you can get food for free if you know how. As always, send me a message or leave a comment if you have anything specific you’d like covered in a future article.