Brow Beat

Tips From Slate Readers on How to Consume Culture on the Cheap

Photo of the Staten Island Ferry by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

On Wednesday, I published a Slate essay that provides eight tips for consuming culture without going broke. I offered up numerous options for scoring free movie tickets, suggested that Slate readers volunteer to clean up at various performances in exchange for free admission, and alienated Graydon Carter by suggesting you share your Vanity Fair subscription with friends and neighbors. I also asked readers to submit their own ideas for accessing entertainment and culture on a cheapskate’s budget. You did not disappoint.

Commenter Lindsay, for instance, writes that she decided to usher at two different local theaters—now she scores seats to countless plays in exchange for about an hour of stuffing programs and some time picking up trash after each performance. Meli Dinglasa left a comment on Slate’s Facebook page suggesting meetups as a great way to score all sorts of free entertainment. Ashley Fears, meanwhile, advises fellow readers to simply ask for what they want when it comes to cable service. “I just called Comcast and asked if they would give me the same deal they were offering students [starting college in Boston],” she notes. No problem. Now Ashley receives free HBO and Showtime.

For those in New York, Sonia Sharma suggests taking a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry and snapping some great photos of the Statue of Liberty. Several readers sang the praises of the public library. No argument from me there. Libraries maintain a hefty reserve of books, magazines, CDs, e-books, and DVDs that you can check out free of charge. Deirdre Costello notes that some libraries also offer museum passes. Valerie Chism adds that libraries host various readings and performances that are of no charge to the public.

The best comment award goes to Sally Barry, aka “The woman with the coolest local public library ever.” She writes: “My library also loans out art—paintings, etchings, sculptures—you can decorate your home with new artwork and change it several times a year. They also loan fishing rods.” Magazines and fishing rods? It really doesn’t get any better than that.