Three entertainment purchases I’ve made this year that are proving totally worth it

Something I’ve had to come to terms with in sobriety is that I can’t “have fun” in the ways in which I used to. Parties are pretty boring to me now. Womp, womp. My first couple years sober, this was challenging. I had to find new ways to let myself escape or enjoy life beyond the basics. I didn’t do a very good job of it.

So my goal for year three (which I enter next week!) was to invest in some things that could be fun for me. I know, planned fun sounds the least fun, but it was an important step. Here are three things I put the money saved not drinking toward that have proved worth every penny. You might enjoy them to, cocktail in hand or not.


It works like this: For $100 a year, I get to go to one movie a day in a participating theater. Participating is a key word here. You can only use MoviePass at theaters that accept it, but in Chicago, there are a lot of them.

Through the app on your phone, you check into the theater around the time the movie starts. Then you use the MoviePass card, which looks like a credit card, to “purchase” your ticket in the theater.

Justin and I got our MoviePasses in February and they’ve almost already paid for themselves. We’ve seen Annihilation, The Death of Stalin, Black Panther, A Quiet Place, and a few others. In 2017 we probably only went to watch a movie in the theaters once. (It was Fast and Furious, Justin’s pick, and we, ironically enough, got rear ended on our way home afterward.)

I love that MoviePass puts dinner and a movie into our date night rotation. Seeing movies on the big screen is so fun! But not when you have to stomach the sometimes $13 entry fee. Going to movies now feels like we’re going for free–and soon we pretty much will be.

Also, there’s something to be said for sitting in a theater with the phone off and your attention focused only on one thing. And it’ll be wonderful once summer hits and we can go watch a movie in the air conditioning after a day spent sweating it out in the sun.

Art Institute of Chicago Membership

OK, also $100 a year, but for $20 a pop if I wanted to visit as a Normal, it’s been worth every penny. Plus, it supports an organization I believe in, so can’t go wrong there.

Having my AIC membership gets me early access to exhibition viewing, and I don’t have to wait in the ticket line, which was a particularly beautiful experience when I went last weekend and it was f-f-f-freezing outside, where the general admission line draped.

This “basically free” entry means I go to the galleries a lot more. It too has already paid for itself and it’s not even May. Plus, that place is huge, so I don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed with trying to see everything just to get my twenty bucks worth.

And here’s the bonus: I get another adult in for free with me. When I have out-of-town visitors, it’s number one on our must-do list.

Oh also: Free coat and bag check, suckas!

Magazine subscriptions

In my 20s, when I had little to zero disposable income (thanks, student loans/ binge drinking!), magazines seemed like a frivolous expense. Ouch, goes my magazine journalism degree.

So for Christmas last year I bought myself yearly subs to three things: The Atlantic, Creative Nonfiction, and InStyle. ‘Cuz I’m a fancy bitch.

Nothing screams THIS IS ADULT FUN quite like creaking open my rusty apartment mailbox to find printed treasure awaiting inside.

The dark horse favorite has been InStyle. I don’t need/want all the stuff they try to sell me in there, but it’s inspirational, aspirational, sobriety-reaffirming in reading about and seeing women who seemingly have their shit together, even if it’s only that they know how to put a together a dope outfit.

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