As the UK and other parts of the world were hit by lockdowns over the last year, people found themselves stuck at home, out of work, or bored, and in some cases, all three.
The truth is most people have never enjoyed so much home entertainment as they do now. The problem is, how much it all costs. As more time is spent on the internet due to lockdowns and indoors generally, it is likely that you are signing up for more services and subscriptions and your monthly bills are growing.
If you are one of the many who have found their household income reduced due to Covid restrictions and lack of work then will surely want your outgoings reduced. Here are some ways you can entertain yourself while reducing outgoings, and in some circumstances, claw some cash back.
First, fix your internet billing
The majority of your home entertainment is likely to be coming through the internet these days. This is the first place you should look to start cutting costs. It is estimated that over 20 million customers are out of contract with their telephone and internet providers and don’t realise it.
Last year Ofcom brought in new rules that mean your internet provider must let you know when your contract is expiring so you can search for better deals. They must also tell you if you can save money by staying with them but switching to a different service.
While it may seem a hassle to switch it could save you £100 a year just on your internet. Seeing as you need this for your home entertainment it makes sense to get the best deal possible.
This is not really a big secret but most of the streaming channels will at some point offer a free trial. Netflix did this last year to great effect, winning millions of new subscribers. When looking for the best streaming channels to watch during Covid you should check which ones have free trials.
Netflix have announced that they will not be using the free trial promotions anymore but don’t be surprised if they change their minds. Many other platforms are still adopting this approach and the free trials range from a few days to a whole month.
To make the most of this search for all the streaming channels with free trials and see when they are ending. Use these first and afterward move onto the others. One trick that many people don’t know is that you can view foreign streaming channel libraries with a VPN.
VPNs are available free and mask your identity and location on the internet. They are legal and recommended for safe surfing. They also allow you to sign up for streaming services that are not available in your country and switch your location on others such as Netflix to view different libraries.
Internet usage increased dramatically last year as more people looked for different areas of online entertainment. Not only did streaming services grow but more people than ever visited an online casino or two.
There are dozens of free poker, slot machines, and blackjack apps that you can download to your phone. There are also many online casinos and sportsbooks that you can visit.
The key to saving money here is to look for good online casinos and with a bit of diligence, you should be able to find ones with sign-up bonuses that don’t require any deposits. Read the small print and find an online casino that offers free spins and only expects a deposit if you win before you withdraw your cash.
If you already enjoy online poker or other casino games then use a website that rewards loyalty and gives you free bets and spins. You can always switch from one casino to another to get the maximum free bonuses.
Avoid the bingo hall
In the same fashion, you could take advantage of the free games offered at many of the online bingo sites. These days, bingo is becoming very popular online and you can not only play but meet new or existing friends on these sites.
Make the most of sign-up bonuses by joining multiple sites and using the free games instead of spending cash. Many of these will pay real money out if you win.
Become the entertainer
There are many ways to make money online and blogs and YouTube are two ways you can use the internet to do so. Although you might not strictly class this as home entertainment for yourself, you could make some cash by helping others to fill their time.
There are low-cost and even free creative writing courses online and these could help you write your own blog. If you prefer the medium of video then make your own YouTube channel. The key to making a successful blog or YouTube channel is to create something you understand so you can enjoy your new hobby.
Given time and effort your blog can attract advertising and if you become recognised as an influencer you could receive free products to try out. If you’re really lucky you might get rich like Huda Kattan, but for now, just focus on enjoyment.
Use the internet for exercise
Enjoy exercise but can’t go out due to lockdowns, or want to save money on gym fees? Then use the internet for new routines. Channels with instructors such as Kayla Itsines offer at-home workouts needing minimal equipment.
No longer will you have to jog in the rain around your local park or pay expensive gym fees.
There are many free online games and if you want to exercise your brain, there are internet versions of Scrabble, Boggle, and other word games where you can compete with players across the world.
If you prefer to use an online casinó then you can enjoy all the fun of a traditional establishment while staying at home. If you only choose the free-to-play options or use sign-up bonuses then you can entertain yourself without spending any money. If you want to have a flutter then keep it within your budget so you can enjoy your entertainment without any worries.