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How to Nerd on A Budget: Free and Cheap Ideas

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The odds are highly like that you don’t have expendable income for everything you want. (If you do, we’d love to talk to you about becoming a sponsor of Nerds on Earth!) Most of us have to make choices about what we can invest our funds in as we pursue becoming the leader of the nerds.  

So with limited funds available, what are some of the ways to be a nerd while keeping control of your financial health?

How to Nerd on A Budget: Free and Cheap Ideas


1. First and foremost, you need to check out your local library. Seriously, I am amazed at how many of my nerd friends don’t take advantage of the local library. They have tons of things that we love as nerds: graphic novels, movies on DVD and Blu-ray, video games and, oh yeah, books.

In most municipalities, your tax dollars are already helping fund the library, so you should use it. My local library also has an inter-library exchange where I can request books that other libraries have. It is a tremendous asset.

Once you have done that, I also want to introduce you to an amazing extension for the Chrome web browser: Library Extension. Say that you are reading a stellar review of a book on Nerds on Earth. When you visit the Amazon page for that book, wouldn’t it be amazing if you could see if your local library had a copy? And if it did, you could put a claim on it?

But, wait. Libraries have moved into the future: most libraries also have digital copies of some works as well. With this extension, you can automatically add a digital book or audio version of the book if your library has access. It is a way to save yourself tons of money. Definitely check out Library Extension.

2. What about when you want to have some face to face encounters and play some games? When I first moved to Atlanta, I had to find the nerds and while you can visit the different game and comic shops you find, I needed more help. I went on Meet-Up and after a couple quick searches, I found several gaming groups.

My Wednesday evenings are now spent playing or DMing in some Dungeons and Dragons Adventure League games at a local game shop that I never would have found on my own. Some of our local stores charge a small $5 fee and some are completely free. Regardless, compared to a night out at the movies, it is a bargain.

There are also other board game groups that meet and I have been to and people playing RPGs and other games I have never heard of. So, check out your local Meet-Ups and you may find some Nerds there as well.

3. For pure entertainment, you need to think about what is out there in the world for free. There are so many free to download podcasts that can be highly entertaining. Two of my current ones that I love are iFanboy and Glass Cannon Podcast. I love them both so much that when they moved to the Patreon model, I gladly chipped in a few bucks.

iFanboy is hands down my favorite comic book podcast and while they cover comics weekly, they also do great movie reviews and some other special edition podcasts. Glass Cannon Podcast is hands-down the best live play Pathfinder podcast out there. It is consistently amazing roleplaying and storytelling. We publish information on their show every week here at Nerds on Earth because of how much we like it. It is definitely a recommendation you should check out.

4. Likewise, if there is one particular thing you are currently nerding out on, YouTube is likely full of great videos on that subject. I am currently in a very D&D mode, so I have been watching and listening to tons and tons of D&D videos, both from a rules and game play perspective as well as a watching live play perspective. (There are some of those out there that are terrible, so don’t invest too much time watching bad D&D games.)

The more I watch, the smarter Google has gotten at recommending videos to me as it slowly creeps to inevitable world domination.

5. Finally, when you do have to spend some money, you want to be wise about it. If you have any interest at all in Marvel Comics, new and old, you need to spend the $69 a year for a Marvel Unlimited app subscription.

There are so many comics out there you can read and catch up on. If you aren’t worried about reading the newest and best Marvel comic as soon as it comes out, you can read Marvel books 6 months later on the app. Definitely worth it.


There you have it, some free or cheap ideas to allow you to be a budget conscious nerd.