Money Talks, So Should You

Cheapskate Culture: Mix CDs for musical communists

Alyssa Vitale
by Alyssa Vitale, Dimespring 30

With the winter months looming, it often seems there are fewer free things to do outside — especially coming from someone who lives in Chicago. Wind, snow and rain make the outside a formidable foe. Fear of frostbite drives the masses inside. There isn’t much one can do to battle the chill except to revel in the warmth of cheap, communal activities.

Listening to music in your home is a ridiculously thrifty form of entertainment. Buying music, on the other hand, can get pretty pricey — unless you’re into illegal downloading or spending a lifetime on YouTube. It’s instances like these where we turn to communism — cultural communism, that is.

READ: Cheapskate Culture: How pop culture ruined my (financial) life

Get a few music-loving pals in on a mix exchange club. Each month you can pick a new theme to inspire your song choices. You could do general seasonal themes, like Christmas, or pry a little deeper with more specific themes.

The possibilities are endless: songs for a dance party, songs to listen to while you wash the dishes, songs for a rainy day. Designate a different person each month to collect the songs and create a mix CD that can be given out to everyone in the group.

READ: Post-Grad Reality: Paying back a $240,000 education

Once the final product is complete, you can push the cheap entertainment value further by having a get-together at someone’s place. Turn the monthly party into a potluck and celebrate good music, good food and good friends while you listen to your completed masterpiece. When you leave for the night, you’ll be full of warm fuzzies, but you’ll also have a brand new collection of music to carry you through the rest of the month.

There’s nothing more satisfying than sharing with friends. The lasting mix CD mementos you’ll get to keep are just an added bonus.

What are some other ways that you and your friends save money? How do you entertain yourself on a budget? 


Alyssa Vitale is navigating the waters of thrifty entertainment, one penny at a time. Alyssa is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and attitudes on personal finance.