When I tell people I have a budget and a passion for personal finance one of the most common questions is “what do you do for fun then?” Being frugal doesn’t mean we sit around counting our money like Scrooge McDuck (although, I do admire his vault of coins he takes regular swims in).
The Frugal Muscle
Learning to spend wisely is a bit like working out at the gym, you need to keep working at it to build up some muscle. It takes practice and you need to be patient to see results. As I mentioned earlier in the week small changes can make a big difference. I’m going to give you a hand today and give you a list of my top frugal activities.
Frugal Ideas for Entertainment:
- Go to the library – you know, the place where books live. Check out your local library to see what else they have, I think you’ll be surprised how much they offer FOR FREE. They also have movies and tv shows on DVD that you can rent if you prefer not to read 24/7 like my fellow bibliophiles.
- Redbox – If the library doesn’t have the newest movie you’re dying to see check out a local Redbox. Sign up for a Redbox rewards account and pay attention to their weekly emails. I often receive several coupons a week to rent movies for less than a dollar.
- Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ – No frugal list would be complete without including streaming services. These services are a fraction of the price of traditional cable, do yourself a favor and cut the cord today.
- Walk – This seems overly basic but walking is a great way to decompress during work and on the weekends. The recommended number of steps for good health is 10,000 steps a day.
- Pokemon GO – If you have a smartphone you can spice up your walking by playing Pokemon GO while you walk. This will use data on your phone so be sure that your current cellphone plan will accommodate playing. The first summer this game came out my wife and I wandered all over the place and met lots of wonderful people.
Bust out the board games – We have an extensive collection of board games and I’ll admit I often forget about them. Physical board games aren’t the only way to play, I’ve played a few games digitally with my best friend so we can safely social distance.
- Declutter and have a yard sale – I know this is a weird idea for entertainment but simplifying your life and tidying up can be very calming and rewarding. Check out my article on minimalism to see what I’m talking about. Donate what you don’t sell to your local charity or buy nothing group.
- Learn a new skill – I love learning new things. Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do? Hop on YouTube or go down the Google rabbit trail and learn something new.
- Try out geocaching – Geocaching is like a digital scavenger hunt. People leave little treasures all over, come up with some clever little trinkets of your own to leave in their place. Hey, you can totally pair this with decluttering and get rid of things you no longer want, just don’t leave trash (littering is bad people). *wink*
- Start a journal – You don’t need anything special just paper and something to write with. I find it very helpful to journal to work out complex situations. Journal writing can also provide a great deal of stress relief. Whenever I’m feeling a little down I like to do a gratitude entry and just start listing all of the things I’m grateful for. Journaling doesn’t have to be a series of long entries, if you want to write profanity all over the page that helps too. (Who doesn’t love a good profanity fest all over the page?)
- Adult Coloring Books – These have become very popular over the past few years and can also be very relaxing. Adult coloring books range in prices but I consider the initial investment minimal for a relaxing activity. My sister bought my wife a hysterical whimsical-looking adult coloring book that has swirly swear words worked into each page. (I’m not saying swearing is the only ticket to stress relief but sometimes we need to loosen up a little after being polite all day at work.)
- Learn to cook – Cooking is one of my favorite creative outlets and what’s better than getting to eat your art? I’m a sucker for edible stuff. I come right back to learning and cooking your own food is great for saving money. Here is my article on meal planning if you want to take it a step further.
- Grow your own vegetables – This hobby can easily take off into an expensive venture, keep it simple. Some libraries have a seed library in the spring that you can take a few for free (it’s always nice to leave a few in exchange if you can).
- Call friends and family – I think people forget your cellphone does more than text and cruise Facebook. Call someone you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while, older generations really appreciate this. I call my grandmother (aka Nanny) a few times a month and she’s always happy to chat.
I know these activities may not seem as exciting as something like shopping but this list is just a small sampling of things you can do with little or no money.