Monday, September 28, 2009
20 Fun Things to Do Without Spending a Dime!
The best things in life are…actually, yes, they are free. At least, creativity is free. It’s only in recent times that recreation and entertainment has been sold to us for a very high price. But do you really want to spend $30 for a movie and popcorn with a friend? Nah, you can do better, especially if you’re trying to save money these days, like most of us. Check out these ideas and step outside of the expensive, prepackaged entertainment box.
Hiking, biking or walking in a local natural area or park. Yes, this is obvious, but sometimes we forget how free and easy some of the best pleasures are!
Keep your eyes peeled for free concert and theater-in-the-park series starting in late spring and summer.
Take your honey or some friends on a good, old-fashioned picnic.
Scour your books, CD’s and DVD’s for those items you just no longer need and trade them in for credit at a local used CD or bookstore. Spend the afternoon browsing for new reads and new tunes you’d never find otherwise. If there’s no used media store in your area, try a website like SwapTree or Title Trader.
Spend a night stargazing. Find star maps online or in the library, then scout out the darkest part of town and learn the constellations. Watch as they change through the seasons.
Explore the vast world of podcasts. I myself am a podcast addict, loving to enrich my mind with interviews and sermons. You can find storytelling and comedy podcasts too if you prefer something a little lighter, or podcasts featuring music you’d never hear on the radio.
Try volunteering. I know, I know, this is not what people usually think of for fun, but serving others is one of the best things you can do. It's a great way to meet new people and do things for the benefit of other people.
Craigslist (and more)
Check out your local Craig’s List free section or Freecycle. This is a fun way to pick up free things you need, and maybe some fun items you can redecorate or make art with. Surprising things have been known to turn up…I’ve seen soap-making kits, antique roll-top desks and even a hot tub! It’s definitely worth a spin.
Call your friends and organize a clothing swap party. Tell them to bring all the clothing, shoes and accessories that no longer suit them (or fit them) and spend an evening hanging out and shopping for free.
Have a yard sale. You know you have lots of stuff you could do well to pass along, and make a little extra cash while you’re at it. If the weather is still too cold where you live, start putting things aside now and you’ll be ready for yard sale season.
Make use of the public library. This has been one of my favorite free things since I was a kid. I mean, c’mon, books, movies, music – all for free!?! Depending on how extensive your local library system is, you will have an amazing amount of resources at your fingertips. Your taxes already paid for it, might as well take advantage.
Host a potluck. Humans are social animals, and we all love to eat. Food is a great icebreaker.
Visit the state or county fair. http://www.ncstatefair.org/2009/
Pull out a sketchbook and draw. If you’ve got colored pencils or watercolors, play around with those, too. Looking at something deeply enough to draw it can be a powerful exercise in perception – and recognizing beauty in surprising places.
Get a regional plant identification guide (from the library, of course) and make a point of learning the names of the trees and plants in your area. It’s even more satisfying if you bring a sketchbook along and create your own personal botanical book.
Send a Note
Make homemade greeting cards for upcoming holidays and birthdays. You can use fabric scraps, magazine cut-outs and odd bits of beautiful paper. People love to receive snail mail.
Develop a workout routine that you can do without equipment (or minimal things you might already have, like a jump rope or dumbbells) and then do it! It’s most fun if you find a sweet spot outside, with the fresh air and shade under a tree.
Start keeping a journal. If you don’t like to write, don’t be dismayed. One of my favorite journalers simply does one small watercolor painting per day, and that’s all she needs to record the progress of her life. If you’re a crafty DIYer, you can easily make a journal yourself with simply things you have around the house.
Is that enough to get you started? What do you do for dollar-free fun?