If it's culture you're looking for, museums offer some of the most bang for your buck -- or no buck, as is often the case. Many museums, such as the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, offer free admission; others, like New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, recommend donations for admission but do not require a contribution [source: The Getty, The Metropolitan Museum of Art].
And if you or your kids thought that museums had to be boring, think again. Museums aren't just for old art pieces; with the help of an online museum directory, you can easily track down museums with specialties ranging from air and space to architecture, and from planetariums to transportation [source: American Association of Museums].
Local theatre can offer a high entertainment-to-cost ratio: Check your newspaper, library and the windows of local shops for advertisements.
If you're feeling more studious, a book club is a great way to get in your dose of culture. Many bookstores and libraries offer regular book clubs and discussion groups, often themed for a range of interests. Or, if you have a specific literary passion, consider starting your own club with friends and family. You'll find plenty of online resources to suggest books, discussion topics and general book club procedures [source: Book Clubs Resource].
If you're really hurting for pricey products, however, you're not out of luck. Check out the next page for tips on how age-old economics could save your 21st century bank account.