With lockdown restrictions once again in place all over the UK due to the coronavirus crisis, many families will be trying to find ways to save money once more.
Britons actually saved billions during the first lockdown, as well as paying off more billions in debt, presumably simply as they were staying home a lot more than usual.
The Office for National Statistics also revealed in September that there had been a large spike in disposable household income in the UK between April and June.
Money is still tight for a lot of us, though, so we have put together a list of five top ways to save money on entertainment while in isolation.
Use free trials for streaming entertainment
The price of television packages and streaming services can be alarmingly high when all of the various costs are added together.
It might seem like value for money if you are going to be stuck in isolation for a while, but there is still a way to reduce the overall cost and save some money as a result. Free trials are a great way to test out streaming services you might not have used before, potentially allowing you to drop the Netflix sub for a couple of months. You can also save big on your subscriptions via the use of the best cheap VPN deals
Households that do not have Amazon Prime Video can get a 30-day trial, which includes one-day delivery from the online shopping behemoth as well. It is, therefore, a bit of a no-brainer to join Amazon Prime with the UK going in and out of additional national lockdowns.
Acorn TV is another streaming service in the UK with a 30-day free trial available right now. The focus is on British television at Acorn TV, which has series such as The Missing, Run and Public Enemies available to watch, all without any commercials.
Play online games for free
Just before the most recent lockdown, I had my first experience of Mecca Bingo. As a social insight into the gaming world, I found it enlightening and fun. But this and many UK establishments had to close down in the first lockdown and even those that reopened their doors were very different as a result of the safety measures they had to bring in.
Visiting a casino might be off the agenda for the foreseeable future as a result, but the good news is there is a low-cost alternative you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. I do not advocate paid gambling as playing slots and such can be expensive but bonuses will allow you not to spend a penny. Many online casinos offer no deposit bonuses these days, while free spins are widely available as well. Just like the reload and signup offers I discuss when I talk about how to make money from matched betting.
Check out local library online services
Most people do not realise that library services are available online – and for free.
There are plenty of activities available that will help to keep kids entertained during lockdown while music, magazines and encyclopedias can be borrowed too.
Reading and book groups run online through libraries too, so this could be a good way to get a bit of social interaction during isolation.
Libraries Connected recently confirmed that more than 75 per cent of libraries were able to deliver online events during the first lockdown.
Carnegie UK’s research also showed that three in 10 people accessed a library service during lockdown, so this is a fantastic option.
Read new books with Project Gutenberg
Keen readers should also make sure that they take a look at Project Gutenberg, which is a library of more than 60,000 free ebooks.
Most of the books included are older and can be downloaded for free due to the fact that their copyright has expired.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Turn of the Screw by Henry James are two of the most popular books available at Project Gutenberg.
Those who really want a challenge during isolation could try out Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
Take up a new free video game
Some might think video games are an expensive habit, but this does not have to be the case.
Minecraft, for example, might be aimed more at lads more than dads but it is free to download and can be a very fun activity to eat up a few hours during isolation.
Apex Legends is a similar game that can be downloaded without any cost at all, while those who want to take a step back in time should do so with the Internet Archive.
Here, it is possible to play thousands of MS-DOS games – perfect for nostalgia. A quick Google of “virtual consoles” and you’ll be lost for hours for free.