Get over the idea that you have to spend money in order to have fun. Some of the best forms of entertainment cost nothing — or close to it. Here are just a few ways to enjoy yourself — either on your own or with people you care about.
Connect with Friends
Social media, and Facebook, in particular, makes it easier than ever to reconnect with people from the past — you can see who else is online when you are and chat in real time. From there you might even schedule a time to engage with them in any of the other activities mentioned in this article.
Collect or Curate
If you don’t collect anything yet, it’s never too late to start a collection — and it doesn’t even have to cost you money. It could be as simple as collecting images to post on Pinterest, pasting things in an offline scrapbook, or amassing physical memorabilia or antiques you find on Etsy or eBay. Let what you’re already interested in serving as the gravitational pull toward starting a collection.
Craft or Create
Even if you think you have no innate talent to create things, you can always learn by reading up on it online and practicing; it can be anything from preparing food to crafting items you might use around the house. And you might enjoy it even more if you do it with a friend or a group. Look for inspiration on community sites or find a meetup where you can combine creation with making new connections.
Free Online Classes
Speaking of learning new things, you can find plenty of classes online that don’t require tuition. A growing number of websites and apps offer courses on a stunning array of topics. Check out Coursera, Udacity, and Lynda to see what you might be able to learn in as little as an hour or two. You might end up with a new hobby as a result.
Hit the Library
Books aren’t the only thing at the library; you can peruse magazines, borrow movies and audio recordings, and attend lectures or classes; the full range of activities depends on the specific location, but you can find out more by heading to your nearest library’s website.
Museum or Zoo
Although museums and zoos with free admissions seem to be fewer and further between, there are some notable exceptions — including free days at establishments that otherwise charge money at the door. Keep in mind that when admission is free, things get more crowded.
This is ideal if you can situate yourself in a cafe that has a good view of all people coming and going from stores. Another great vantage point for watching others might be in the park where there’s a lot of foot traffic.
Whether it’s a book or periodical, you don’t need to buy the reading material if you have a library card or a membership in any of the growing number of “all-you-can-read” services, including Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited for books and Prime Reading for magazines. By the way, reading isn’t just something to do alone — you could have a reading group or even study date with friends where you intersperse book time with conversational interludes.
Wait just a couple of months — or a year at most — for the movies you want to see to become available for home viewing and you’ll save a bundle. It’s not just about ticket prices either, since you avoid the temptation to overspend on concessions. There’s no real sacrifice here because you can get the same refreshments at the supermarket for less.
Then camp out in front of your screen and enjoy — hopefully, you don’t have redundant streaming video services, but if you do, then try to dial back the number of subscriptions you have so that you really save money.
Take a Hike
Walking is absolutely free of charge, and the only thing that might interfere with it is inclement weather. If it’s too cold, rainy or icy for a proper stroll, you could try to make it brief.
Writing letters costs next to nothing — you only pay for the paper and postage — but it can be free if you stick to email. Getting into the habit of corresponding with friends can pave the way toward other types of writing, starting with keeping a journal.
Entertainment Ideas for Cheapskates
If you can break the association between spending money and having a good time, eventually you might find free or cheap entertainment to be habit forming.
Readers, what’s your favorite form of entertainment?