Stranger Things, the critically acclaimed science-fiction-horror series on Netflix, is set for another season. Aside from introducing its younger fans to what a childhood looks like without the internet or iPhones, it offers a great mix of horror, adventure, and weird happenings. That, and some really useful money-saving tips and ideas that everybody can take advantage of. 

1. The Benefits of Biking

Heroes Mike, Lucas, and Dustin are seen biking in virtually every episode. This form of transportation is not only free (if you already have a bike), but is also beneficial to your health. You may not have a friend with superpowers who will help you lose a swarm of cars in traffic, but biking is still a great mode of transportation.

2. Carpooling

While the younger characters in Stranger Things show off the benefits of biking, the older characters carpool everywhere. From Joyce and Hopper traveling to get answers from Terry Ives to Jonathan and Nancy’s shopping trip to prep for “monster hunting,” carpooling truly gets the seal of approval all around.

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Sharing rides usually ends well for everyone in Stranger Things, unless you’re Barb.

When she and Nancy carpooled to the party at Steve’s house, all seemed to be going well. Just don’t ditch the friend you end up carpooling with, and maybe they’ll avoid ending up in the “Upside Down.”

3. Make Your Meals at Home

Jonathan deserves an award for being one of the best big brothers around. Every morning, he cooks breakfast for his little brother before heading off to school. When his brother goes missing, he makes it his mission to go into an unimaginably dangerous alternative realm to try to save him.

Aside from teaching all of us how to be decent human beings, Jonathan’s daily routine is a frugal way to eat well. Most people I know eat breakfast out of the house. But taking time to go grocery shopping and either pack your breakfast or eat at home is much more wallet-friendly than buying breakfast every day.

In addition to Jonathan’s daily hot breakfast, we see Mrs. Wheeler set aside time to make a hot dinner for her family. Mrs. Wheeler’s meals are elaborate and would no doubt be tiring to make for the average working person. Nevertheless, there are budgetary benefits to learning how to make simple, nutritious meals that you can put together quickly.

Here is a basic price breakdown for a meal of broccoli pasta (prices from Peapod):

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Premade Grocery-Store Meal (Four Servings)

  • Pasta — $1.99
  • Jar of alfredo sauce — $1.99
  • Frozen broccoli — $1.69

That comes out to a total of $5.67, or about $1.42 per serving.

Per-Serving Totals

for Broccoli Pasta

  • Premade Grocery-Store Meal: About $1.42 per serving
  • Made-From-Scratch Meal: About $3.36 per serving
  • Restaurant Meal: $8 per serving

Made-From-Scratch Meal (Four Servings)

  • Pasta — $1.99
  • Frozen broccoli — $1.69
  • Half & half — $3.79
  • Parmesan cheese — $3.99
  • Garlic — $1.99

That comes out to a total of $13.45, or about $3.36 per serving.

Meanwhile, if you order at a restaurant, it comes out to about $16, or $8 per serving.

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4. Hang Out at Home

Despite knowing some of my friends for over a decade, I’ve never been to their homes — and they’ve never been to mine, either. This means that whenever we meet up, we spend money on transportation, food, and drinks. It costs a lot to hang out together.

5 Money-Saving Tips and Ideas From ‘Stranger Things’ - hobbies that don't cost money hobbies that don't cost money

The Stranger Things gang don’t have that issue. Almost every get-together is in someone’s home. What a money-saver that is! Mike, Lucas, and Dustin typically sit around a table in Mike’s basement playing Dungeons & Dragons. One campaign even lasted 10 hours!

My expensive outings with my friends are fun, but I keep thinking: Why not have a night in with some conversations and fun games that we can do at home?

5. Try Hobbies That Don’t Cost Money

Jonathan’s love of photography leads him to discover what happened to his little brother and Barb when he accidentally captures an image of the monster from the Upside Down.

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Nowadays, you don’t need a fancy camera. Instead, use what you already own. Most of us own smartphones, which have revolutionized photography. Learning about what you can do with things that you already own — from photography with your iPhone to crafts with different items around the house — is a good way to have fun with something that doesn’t cost you a cent.