This Hidden Work Benefit Can Save You Money On Fun

benefits can save you money on entertainmentBenefits are an important piece of any compensation package when you’re considering a new job.

However, after you sign the job offer, many people forget about many of the benefits you learned about either in your job offer or orientation.

While the big benefits like vacation time, health insurance and 401(k) matching are by far the most important, smaller benefits often can help you save a bit of money in your budget.

Recently, we’ve been taking advantage of one of the smaller benefits my wife’s employer offers.

These benefits have allowed us to have a ton of fun at a very awesome reduced price.

Discounted Entertainment Options Through Work

Believe it or not, many larger employers offer discounted entertainment options as a benefit.

While the options vary from employer to employer, many offer things like discounted movie tickets, discounted attraction tickets or access to a website where you can buy all sorts of discounted entertainment tickets at the click of a button.

Lucky for us, my wife’s employer does just this. At the beginning of the season, we bought tickets to our local water park, Shipwreck Island, at roughly 35% off the full ticket price.

We just used the tickets this past weekend and really enjoyed ourselves.

Why Employers Offer Discounted Tickets

Employers can offer better prices for a few reasons. First, they likely buy in bulk which allows them to negotiate a discount when buying the group of tickets.

Additionally, many local companies want a chance to earn the business of local employees by getting them in the door through discounting their ticket prices. Finally, your employer wants to offer an added benefit for their employees, so they may eat a bit of the cost of the tickets.

You Will Probably Have To Pay Cash

When buying discounted tickets at work, chances are you are going to have to pay cash. Many companies don’t want to set up a system to accept debit or credit cards or deal with the hassle of taking the money out of your paycheck or accepting personal checks.

On top of that, employers probably don’t want to pay fees associated with card based payments when they’re already giving you a steal of a deal on the tickets.

Tickets Often Expire So Have A Plan

These discounted tickets can also be a money maker for the entertainment venue that sells them because they often have an expiration date. If you don’t use your ticket by the expiration date, the local entertainment venue gets to keep the sale and doesn’t ever have to provide the service.

We were well aware of this when we bought our water park tickets as they expire at the end of the season. However, toward the end of the season, the water park only has limited hours and they may even close early if there is not enough demand. That’s why we went during peak season, to make sure we could use our tickets.

For other types of tickets, there may not be an expiration date but there may be limitations.

A common limitation on discounted movie tickets will state that you cannot view a movie on its opening weekend, which can be a bummer if you don’t read the fine print until you’re already at the movie theater. At that point, chances are you’ll just buy a full priced ticket and return later to use your discounted tickets, so the entertainment venue wins out.

In general, these expiration dates and terms are clearly stated on your ticket, even if they are in fine print. To make sure you don’t fall victim to these things, make sure to read everything about the discounted ticket program and anything on the materials or tickets you are given in full.

Enjoy The Benefit But Don’t Overspend

While discounted entertainment tickets are a great additional benefit your employer can offer, don’t go overboard with them. If you buy a ticket and it expires before you use it, you didn’t save any money at all. In fact, the program will have cost you money.

Make sure to have a plan whenever you buy discounted tickets and make sure that plan fits within your budget.

If you can’t afford to fit even a discounted ticket into your budget, then you need to pass on the tickets until the next time they’re up for sale. Hopefully by then, your budget will have a bit more wiggle room to enjoy this additional benefit many employers offer.

Does your employer offer discounted tickets for entertainment in your area? If so, have you ever bought any? What has been your favorite deal that your employer offers? 

Photo by: Theme Park Mom Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

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