Volunteering often invokes the image of selfless people giving of their time to help humanity (or animals). Or high school kids looking to round out a college application. Regardless, volunteer work often requires donating your time for a greater cause.
Then there are people, like me, who like to volunteer labor in exchange for getting something for “free”.
When I first moved to New York City, I clutched a copy of “The Cheap Bastards Guide to New York City.” I read that book cover-to-cover looking for survival tips in this often-expensive city. One of my favorite suggestions focused on scoring free entertainment. I quickly learned that I could volunteer to usher at off-Broadway playhouses and in-exchange, I could watch the show for free.
If you’ve ever ushered, you know this is the cake-walks of volunteer work, especially at small, off-Broadway playhouses.
Within a month of living in New York, I got on the free-usher circuit. The first show I worked was Unnatural Acts at the Classic Stage Company. To this day, it’s one of my favorite plays I’ve ever seen and I got to watch it entirely for free.
I showed up about an hour before doors opened, dressed in black, and had to prep playbills and check that the house was clean. After we opened, I helped a handful of people get to their seats. Then I got to sit in an empty seat to watch the play. During intermission I lingered awkwardly in the lobby to point out the restroom to inquiring patrons. After the curtain fell, I helped the house manager tidy up.
Fast-forward three years, and I’m still a fan of volunteering for free or significantly discounted events, as are some of my friends.
Recently, my friend Lillian sent me a few examples of events she planned to volunteer for in exchange for free admission. A few were beer festivals (genius) and another was the Tough Mudder competition (hopefully on a different week than the beer festival).
I know there are tons of events (especially in New York) to volunteer for and get free or discounted admission. For example, Governors Ball, Bronx Zoo, MoMA, but I’d love to hear what else is out there.
Let me know where to volunteer for cheap/free admission in the comment section!
*LINK LOVE* Let’s Get Emotional
- You Can’t Win Them All from Shannon at Financially Blonde – Try not to cry when you read about her crying.
- Why Happy is More Beautiful than Beautiful by Tonya on Healthy, Fit and Frugal – This isn’t exactly a personal finance post but Tonya writes about an incredibly important message.
- My Worst Money Mistake by Holly at ClubThrifty – I love when Holly rants a bit and this post is at her own expense. It’s hilarious.
Girl Scout image taken from Flickr