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Fight 'funflation' with these entertainment savings ideas

Concerts, movies, sporting events up sharply in price
Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony proceeds despite protests
Posted at 4:24 AM, Dec 13, 2023

Are you getting priced out of some of your favorite sources of live entertainment? The bad news: "Funflation" is real, with prices up sharply on many activities since the pandemic.

The good news: There are still ways to have fun without breaking the bank.

Pam Wills was wearing her reindeer hat and watching the grandkids enjoy ice skating on an outdoor holiday rink. She likes that it's still an affordable family holiday event.

"It's time together, very affordable, at just $10," she said.

But many other activities are not so affordable. Kimberly Palmer is a personal finance editor at NerdWallet and has been tracking the rising costs of fun.

"Everything from concert tickets to going out to the movies, everything is costing more," she said.

The most recent consumer price index shows tickets for concerts and sporting events up nearly 20% from 2022 to 2023.

According to a Wall Street Journal/Credit Karma survey, 60% of Americans have been forced to cut back on live entertainment this year, as a result.

Ways to find cheaper holiday activities

But Palmer says there’s hope.

"It just means that we have to put a little bit more effort into finding the good deals," she said.

While one in five people say they are willing to take on debt to experience their favorite activities, she says it’s still critical to budget first.

Palmer recommends using the 50-30-20 method.

"That means that 50% of your take-home pay is going towards needs, 30% towards wants, and then 20% towards debt payments and savings," she said,

Using the money in your "wants" budget, she suggests you then look for deals. Apps like Gametimewill show you last-minute discounted tickets to live events, and you can also find sales on activities on Groupon.

Finally, she says to consider what you can access for free in your community.

From holiday parades to New Year's Eve fireworks shows to ice skating, you might be surprised by how many affordable activities are available near you, especially this time of year when everything is lit up for the holidays.

"You kind of have to be imaginative, maybe do a little homework, but there are things out there you can definitely do," one man watching his kids skate said.

That way, you don’t waste your money.

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