When someone has let their finances get out of control and is trying to get a handle on their cash flow one of the first concerns is reductions in quality of life. The novice budgeter is likely to assume that maintaining a strict budget will mean having no fun.
While your new budget may only have a minimal amount set aside for entertainment, it only means that your former more expensive entertainment will be curtailed. You can have so much fun without having to spend too much, and you might be surprised to discover hours of enjoyment from activities that are even free.
While this list is far from complete, it is only offered as an idea springboard to get you thinking about entertainment in different ways, realizing that just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. As a matter of fact, it is important to have as much cheap or free fun as possible while you’re reeling-in your expenditures.
Free things to do
Free Community Events
Check the local newspaper or online magazine for free events happening in your local area. Local organizations often sponsor free activities for residents. Find out what’s happening near you.
Visit the Library
Remember libraries? Though they are fading away, they are still around. You can easily spend hours perusing the treasures at your local library. Plus, this is an excellent free location to meet others at as an alternative to a restaurant and they may have a separate meeting area for you to use… for free.
Explore Your Local Outback
Find natural areas to explore not far from where you live. Take a hike, go geocaching, walk around the lake, frolic at the park, feed the birds, party at the beach or have a picnic.
Party at Home
You can start your own at-home event, invite friends and host a murder mystery game, karaoke night, poker night, open mic night (sing, play an instrument, read poetry, standup comedy, etc.). Make it a potluck and an evening of it.
Create a Book with Friends
Join with friends to create a recipe book, or collection of stories, Chicken Soup for the Soul-style, or otherwise. Publish it in Amazon’s Kindle format and donate the proceeds to a good cause.
Get a group of folks together who agree to read a particular book in tandem, one chapter per week. Meet somewhere in person, virtually, online or via a free conference call to discuss insights from the chapter.
Host a book exchange, where you and avid book readers each bring a box of books and an hors d’oeuvre appetizer to exchange with other readers. Exchange meeting could be held at home or an off-site location.
Host a White Elephant Exchange
Everyone gift wraps and brings an unwanted gift they have received from someone else (within a specified price-range) at some point in time and exchange them (in a variety of ways). It’s fun and everyone leaves with something.
If you have access to some dirt at home or nearby, cultivate a garden or weed community landscapes. Many people enjoy the feel of the earth in their hands while nurturing the planet.
Go Dumpster Diving
If you’re like me, this will probably never be on your radar, but I have come across so many people who absolutely love dumpster diving (don’t worry, I won’t mention your names) and you’d be surprised to hear some of the treasures they’ve uncovered doing so.
Start a Collection
Start a collection of something without cost, like drink coasters, rocks, shells, glass, feathers, bugs, themed photo collections, etc…
Barter for Entertainment
If you have a particular skill set (which we all do) you may offer to trade your services with any purveyor of recreational activity you like, in exchange for partaking in their offering. Good for anything from fancy restaurants and concert tickets to high end lodging and cruises.
Walk the Dog
Obvious for someone who has a dog, but if you don’t have a dog, you could sign up via the SPCA to walk someone else’s dog.
Start a Blog
Have a passion or opinion that you would like to share with the community at large. Start a blog. It’s free. You can post as often as you like and get the word out about what’s important to you.
Learn Something New
You can teach yourself just about anything these days, just by pouring over data from Google searches or viewing hours upon hours of free how-to videos on YouTube.
Give some of your time or talent to bless others via your local community organizations, or offer to mow the lawn for a neighborhood widow, you get out, plus you’re helping to make the world a better place.
Make a list of all the people who have been a blessing to you at some point in their life, and send them a note, email, private message thanking them for inspiring you. Include anyone from grade school teachers and friends to celebrities and family members. (Maybe write a memoir delineating their positive influence.)
Do you have any ideas to share regarding free things to do?