Stranger Things, the critically acclaimed science-fiction-horror series on Netflix, is set for a fourth season. Aside from introducing its younger fans to what childhood looked like without the internet or iPhones, the series offers a dynamic mix of horror, adventure, occasional humor, and strange occurrences.
And while the show’s writer-director duo, the Duffer Brothers, may not have intended to impart a lesson in frugality, there are some useful money-saving tips and ideas peppered throughout the series.
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1. The Benefits of Biking
Heroes Mike, Lucas, Will, 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 an affordable mode of transportation — regardless of whether or not you’re being chased by a Demodog.
While the younger characters in Stranger Things show off the benefits of biking, the teenage and adult characters carpool everywhere. From Joyce and Hopper hopping in a police cruiser to get a free Russian translation from Murry Bauman to Jonathan and Nancy’s trip to their summer jobs at the Hawkins Post, sharing rides truly gets the seal of approval all around.
In fact, this handy money-saving tip usually ends well for everyone in Stranger Things — unless, of course, you’re Barb (RIP).
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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 in Season 1, Jonathan 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 budget-friendly than buying breakfast on-the-go every day.
In addition to Jonathan’s daily 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 mom. Nevertheless, there are budgetary benefits to learning how to make simple, nutritious meals at home that you can put together quickly.
4. Hang Out at Your House
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 can cost a lot to hang out.
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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, Will, and Dustin tend to sit around a table in Mike’s basement playing Dungeons & Dragons — that is before Lucas and Mike got girlfriends, of course.
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? There are plenty of money-saving tips out there for having cheap or free fun with friends.
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.
Plus, this money-saving tip can even earn you some moolah. Jonathan’s passion for photojournalism also leads to his first professional summer job at the local newspaper.
Nowadays, you don’t need a fancy camera. Many of us own smartphones, which have revolutionized photography. Discovering 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 without spending a cent.
Additional reporting by Connor Beckett McInerney.