Geek for Cheap: Get Your Star Wars On Under Budget!
Hear that sound? It’s approximately one ka-jillion geeks squealing in anticipation of this weekend’s Star Wars Rogue One opening. And we’re right there with them, of course. But between tickets, (maybe 3D glasses), all the necessary Star Wars t-shirts, soundtracks and merch, being a super fan can be super expensive!
Fear not, padawan! We’ve assembled the Top 12 ways to truly geek out without breaking the bank. Check out these Star Wars fan hacks that will help you support the rebellion and protect your paycheck!
1) Watch the original Star Wars movies on cable!
If you have basic cable, you probably have TNT and/or TBS. And those channels are the home for the original six Star Wars films. (We know, we know, it should really be the “original three films plus the three terrible horrible no-good very-bad prequels” but, hey, free is free.) And if you have a streaming app like Apple TV, Roku, or Amazon Fire, you can download the TNT or TBS apps and watch them on-demand. This option is perfect for a six-movie, pre-gaming marathon.
2) Make your own DIY Rogue One costumes!
Over on the official Star Wars site, craft-extraordinaire Jennifer Landa (@JenniferLanda) lays out a series of easy, DIY Rogue One costumes that you can make at home. For Jyn Erso, the most important thing is a brown vest. For Cassian Andor, they key ingredients are a blue parka and some tan fabric. And for the evil Director Krennic? It’s as simple as a white cape. Working on one of these outfits will keep your hands and your head busy while you count down the hours to Rogue One.
3) Download these patterns for Rogue One snowflakes!
Homemade snowflake patterns are a fantastic way to get in the Christmas Spirit while staying well within your budget. And thanks to graphic designer Anthony Herrera (@AntnyHerrera), you can get into the spirit for both Christmas and Rogue One with just a few well-placed snips.
Herrerra has created downloadable patterns for you to make snowflakes in the shape of your favorite Rogue One character. Let’s be honest here, if you could replace Frosty the Snowman with K-2S0, you would do it in a heartbeat.
You can follow Anthony on Instagram at @antnyherrera and check his other, equally stellar snowflake designs (including patterns for Harry Potter, Frozen, and Guardians of the Galaxy) at his website: anthonyherreradesigns.com.
4) Make your own DIY Rogue One Night-Light
Okay, most of the time, corporate tie-ins really do stink. For instance, these official Rogue One Kleenex boxes are pretty blah. And yet, intrepid family blogger Danielle Simmons (@acraftyspoonful) still found a way to suck the suck right out of these boxes by turning one into a not-so-official Rogue One night-light for her son.
Check out Danielle’s post on Simmworks Family Blog to see how she did it. If you have kids, this night-light can help them get (even more) stoked for the movie’s release. Plus, it can help them once the Darth Vader nightmares start setting in.
5) Get a free ticket with an exclusive offer from General Mills!
Corporate tie-ins don’t always have to be terrible. And this offer from General Mills is a great example of why. The offer applies to special, Rogue One-branded boxes of Trix, Reese’s Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Cookie Crisp. If you buy three of them in a single transaction, you get a free ticket (up to $12 value) to Rogue One!
And it’s easy too: All you have to do is text or email your receipt to per the instructions on the box to receive your ticket. This option goes great with the movie marathon suggested in option #1. When else are you going to need to buy three boxes of sugary cereal in a single go?
6) The Clone Wars TV Show available on Netflix!
If you’re not familiar with the Star Wars: Clone Wars TV show, then let us tell you something: get familiar with it immediately. Luckily for you, the show is currently streaming in its entirety on Netflix. Clone Wars is an animated kids show that ran for 121 episodes (and one movie) from 2008 to 2015 and followed the adventures of Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, et. al. during the three years in between “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.”
Now before you run screaming from the room at the thought of having more pre-Darth Vader Anakin in your life … you know what? We get it. You got burned. And you got burned bad (not as bad as he did, but still). Just trust us when we tell you that this show is awesome in its own right, and will definitely get you in the mood for Rogue One. Contrary to what you might think, this is the show you’re looking for.
7) Rent your Star Wars swag!
If you love Star Wars, then you love Star Wars stuff. But no matter how much you adore those action figures, sooner or later, you’re going to run out of cargo space to store your booty or money to buy more. It’s life’s single greatest dilemma.
But don’t worry! There’s a solution you can embrace today that will save you money on merch and give you and your kids (or, let’s be honest, just you) access to all of the greatest toys and games from a galaxy far, far away.
Instead of buying all your Star Wars playsets, Legos and video games, why not rent them? Through the power of the internet, now you can! Sites like Pley.com and GameFly.com let you borrow by mail. In most cases, you simply return the items when you’re done and the next piece of cool in your queue will arrive in a few parsecs!
Prices and details vary, so shop around and find the right service for you and your guilty pleasure!
8) Buy vintage merch!
Remember that one Star Wars toy from your childhood? The really important one? Maybe it was your first Luke Skywalker action figure or that sweet telescoping lightsaber toy—whatever it was, you can’t imagine your youth without it. Well, if that piece of nostalgia is no longer in your possession, it can be again! Or better yet, find new magical retro merchandise for your mantle, display shelf, or toy chest (we don’t judge)!
Because classics never go out of style, vintage toy stores (both brick & mortar and online) are open for business all across the country. And—even better—prices on cool old-school toys and action figures are often much cheaper than the new stuff being sold at retail prices. (And—let’s be honest—we all care way more about the old characters than the new. Poe Dameron? Who is that again?)
Do a Google search for vintage toy stores in your city and see what you find. Some of our favorites are:
- Chicago: Quake
- Houston: Super Happy Incredible Toys
- Wichita: Vintage Stock
- Los Angeles: Blast from the Past
- St. Louis: The Neutral Zone
9) Stream the soundtracks!
Dun-dun-dun-DUH-dun-dun-DUH-dun-dun. That Imperial March never gets old!
Star Wars has the action, the adventure, characters and humor, sure, but it also has the sweetest musical score this side of Endor. When you’re hosting your Star Wars game night, re-reading your favorite Star Wars novel, or just getting pumped up for your weekend Jedi LARPing session, the Star Wars soundtracks are required listening.
But those albums aren’t free, youngling. Or are they? (Well actually, sorta, they are.) If you use streaming services like Spotify or Pandora then you already have access to the Star Wars symphonies. Stream them for free (with commercials) or pay for a monthly subscription. Either way, it’s cheaper—and more convenient—than assembling an entire library of galactic music on your own.
10) Borrow Star Wars DVDS, novels, and video games from the library!
The internet has made so much stuff so easily available—books, newspapers, movies, music—that it’s all too easy to forget about the library. But guess what? The public library is still there! And it is still lending out books, DVDs, Blu-Rays—and even videogames—free of charge.
If you’re looking to binge on the original six movies or maybe check out some of the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels (Now referred to as Star Wars Legends when The Force Awakens retconned them out of existence), then the local library is your new best friend. Just head on over and up for a library card.
We personally recommend the Thrawn trilogy of novels by Timothy Zahn. While the stories themselves are no longer canon, the trilogy’s titular antagonist—Grand Admiral Thrawn, a ruthless, blue-skinned military genius—proved so popular with fans that he’s been added to the Star Wars: Rebels TV show, currently airing its 3rd season on Disney XD.
11) Host a potluck using Star Wars recipes you can find online!
Instead of just hosting a run of the mill holiday party, why don’t you throw an event that you’ll actually want to attend, the kind of party where the phrase “hive of scum and villainy” is understood as a compliment. Plus, making your party a potluck will spread the cost of food amongst you and your guests.
You won’t have to spend weeks planning the event either, because there are tons of great Star Wars food and drink recipes available online. Some of the highlights from the official Star Wars website include Princess Leia gingerbread cookies, C-3PScones, and the makings for your very own Life Day Celebration. (Warning: Life Day originated in the infamously awful Star Wars Christmas Special. Celebrate at your own peril.)
If you’re looking for some additional ideas, here’s a fantastic list of crafty, Star Wars-themed snacks courtesy of @GoodtoKnow. Pinterest is also a great place to look.
12) Play free Star Wars games online or on your smartphone!
There are two main categories of free Star Wars games: LEGO Star Wars games, and every other kind of game. Either way, the majority of these games are free to play online or as a downloadable smartphone/tablet app. There are games using character from the original movies, as well as games featuring characters from the Star Wars TV shows, Rebels and Clone Wars. We recommend Star Wars: Commander, LEGO Star Wars, The Complete Saga, and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.
One note of caution here, as most of these free games available for smartphones involve a lot of in-app purchases. This means that you have to pay money in order to do stuff like obtain better equipment or additional lives. In-app purchases are super easy to make, which means they can quickly rack up a hefty bill. So be careful out there!
13) Join Star Wars fanclubs and groups for free on social media!
Being a member of an official Star Wars fanclub might have been something you kept a secret in the past. But, wow, those days are long gone. Good riddance! Nowadays, Star Wars fanclubs might as well be a civic institution like the Shriners. There are a whole host of clubs to choose from; you can find them listed on the Star Wars website. You can also go ahead and find them on social media.
One of the great things about being a member of these clubs is that you’ll oftentimes get special offers on movie tickets, merchandise, tickets to conventions, etc. And at the very least, you’ll have a community of people with whom you can fully nerd out. Arguing over stuff like “Han shot first” is a great way to pass the time for basically free.
So now you know: being a Star Wars fan doesn’t have to cost astronomical sums, you don’t need to smuggle (or download) your cargo illegally, and finding those rare vintage items doesn’t require the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy. It can all be done easily, cheaply, and just in time for Life Day! Enjoy the movies and the savings! May the force be with you!
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