Entertainment on a Tight Budget

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College is a time for learning, experimenting, and exploring. It’s the best time to discover new cultures and to try new activities. Both urban and rural universities provide students with unique opportunities for entertainment.  From various music and dance scenes to excellent food and historical tours there is something to do.

The problem is that the college budget is limited. Students’ opportunites are severly restricted by the amount of funds they have available. So here are a few tips on how to find fun and interesting activities that will fit into every student’s budget.

Sporting Events

Tickets to professional games are expensive, especially if the team is popular. You could easily spend over $100 on just one ticket, and that’s before the overpriced food and beverages. Your best bet to save money is to purchase your tickets from stubhub or stick to the standing room only section.

However, if you just love the game and you’re interested in having fun check out the exhibition, minor league, and less popular teams in your area. Sports like lacrosse and rugby are just as much fun to attend and may be priced lower than tickets to an NBA, MLB, NHL, or NFL game.

Public Library

There is always something going on at the public library. Somewhere a book club is meeting, an author is visiting, or a class is preparing to start. The best part is that almost every fun activity is 100% free.

Personally, I gravitated to the library in search of the endless shelves of books, but it wasn’t long until I was dragging my friends down to the Philly Book Festival and getting to know the people in my community.

Discounted Ballet and Theater Tickets

Your student discount is priceless. If you’re interested in attending a musical, a ballet, a play, or an opera you should check with your school to see if they have free or discounted tickets available. If that doesn’t work approach the venders on your own. You may have to wait until just before the curtain rises to buy your tickets, but many theaters do give great student discounts.


Many museums do have high sticker prices, but don’t let those concern you. Check with the museum to see if they have any special free admission days (usually on slow days like Wednesday and Thursday) or student discounts. Also check in occasionally on your local museum’s website to see if there hosting any free events or programs that interest you.  Every museum is different, but if you’re paying attention you won’t miss out on what each has to offer.


My friends and I dragged each other to dozens of performances throughout college.  Some were free city-wide events where we stood in the back of a huge crowd of people, and some were in a small bar were we could reach out and touch the performers. Either way I had fun, and I found new styles of music that I had never experienced before.

Hiking, biking, mountain climbing

No matter where you are there is somewhere to explore the outdoors, and you can almost always do that for free. Plus, look at the bright side, not only will you have the opportunity to find new places and experience new things but you’ll also get some great exercise while you’re doing it.


No matter where you are don’t be afraid to ask about the student discount. Many stores offer various percentages to students, but they don’t advertise it. So keep your ID with you, and never hesitate to ask.