Having fun on a budget can be hard.
Your friends invited you to go out this Friday and your kids are begging to see a movie on Saturday. But in the back of your mind you know it’s going to drain the bank account.
The good news is you don’t need to spend a ton of money at a restaurant or the movies to have a good time. With a little research and some effort, you can have a blast for cheap and even free.
If you’re on a budget, consider these options to have fun:
1. Use free or cheap public resources
Before renting a movie or subscribing to a streaming service, check out your local library. A lot of libraries have a solid selection of movies and TV shows available.
Take your group of friends or kids along and let them browse until they find something you can watch together. Go home and have a movie night!
If it’s sunny outside, visit your local parks and trails. A quick search on the internet should give you a couple of options. And if you have the right equipment, head to a free sports venue– a basketball court, volleyball net, or a disc golf course.
Before planning your weekend, research your community calendar. Most public events are cheap or free, such as:
Wine and beer tastings
Even if the event sells items, you don’t have to purchase them. Just attending can still be a lot of fun.
2. Use the supplies you’ve already purchased
You’d be surprised how much fun you can have with what you already own at home.
Most of the time having fun means having good conversations and finding something to do while talking. That can be as easy sitting around a table and coloring while discussing your usual topics.
If you’re looking for a more involved activity, search for board games. Dust off Risk or Monopoly, clear the dining room table and have a game night.
If you have a deck of cards, ask if anyone knows a good card game or look one up online. A popular option is golf.
Want to do something more active? Turn to the internet and explore Do-It-Yourself projects on YouTube or recipes on Pinterest.
Collaborate on a baking project, put some music on in the kitchen, and laugh your way to some delicious cookies.
3. Use the internet to have fun
There are tons of options for free or cheap fun on the internet.
Download Spotify for free music and create an epic playlist together. Explore the globe on Google Maps.
Gather around your biggest screen and watch the funniest YouTube videos you know. America's Funniest Home Videos has a rich channel to explore. Alternatively, hunt down a hilarious podcast and listen together.
If any of your friends or family have a Netflix or Amazon Prime Account, ask if you can have access. You’ll never run out of things to watch.
You don’t even have to meet in person to have fun online. Find a free online game and play together remotely. Google “free online games” and find one you and your friends like. If you need a suggestion, check out Chess.com.
If you’re trying to get outdoors, try GeoCaching (Requires a smartphone). Geocaching is essentially a treasure hunt.
Other individuals in your community may have hidden random items, such as a lunchbox with a list you can add your name to. They record the location of these items on the GeoCache app. Now the public can hunt them and get exercise while having fun.
Having fun on the cheap is possible, but it takes research and effort. When we pay for fun, we’re largely paying for convenience. If you can go forego convenience, you can have fun and save money.
The real trick is converting your friends and family. But if you demonstrate how to have fun for free, they’ll soon join.
Take note of your public resources, what you already own, and explore the internet.
You’ll find something you love doing for free.
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