Low Cost Alternatives for Fun
Often there are things we want to do that cost money and perhaps we don’t have that money right now. Being on a budget does not mean abandoning some of these activities; instead it means changing how you do them.
Exercise: it’s nice to go to a gym and use their equipment, but unfortunately gym memberships cost money. One alternative is to see if you are eligible to use a free gym somewhere. For example, some universities make their equipment available to community members or alumni. A second alternative is to find ways of exercising at home, such as walking or running.
An evening’s entertainment: being on a budget doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it could turn out to be more interesting than your past habits. Look around on various websites for free entertainment. For example, you might find free concerts in a local park or put on by a high school or college. Some museums host free evenings and communities often have regular free get-togethers such as a gallery hop.
An evening’s entertainment, take two: a movie out is really fun but by the time you add in the popcorn, soda, and candy, it’s expensive. The public library often has movies you can borrow. Microwave popcorn and soda pop from the grocery store will set you back far less than the gas for a movie, admission, and food. In fact, you could have two evenings a week of movies and popcorn and still spend less than going to a theater once a week.
Afternoon fun: look around at your local parks. Sometimes they have programs where you can learn something about nature. Make a picnic of sandwiches from home, take along a few outdoor games, and you’ll have a lot of fun.
Cable television: back in the old days, there were three broadcasting corporations and the PBS station on the air, so cable was a blessing. But if you are in a tight financial spot, check out air television right now. With everything going digital, you will find a lot more alternatives. Your commercial channels may have two or three broadcasts simultaneously, so what used to be four channels may well be twelve by now. And that is not including small local channels. A combination of air television and a membership in an internet movie service will save you lots of money and still keep you entertained.
Shopping: sometimes there is no substitute for the fun of going shopping. However, this is not a good idea when you have financial struggles. If you just have to go shopping, go to a thrift store. It is a lot of fun to see all the things they have and if you just have to buy something, usually it’s a lot cheaper than the same whim at a mall.
Lottery: someone once said, a lottery is a secret tax on people who are bad at math. Odds are you won’t win. It’s not even that fun when you realize just how stacked the odds are against the average person. Save that money and have the kind of fun where you can take a picture and always remember it.
A financial struggle can be a cause for depression and misery or it can be a catalyst for some new adventures. If you take the new adventures approach, you will enjoy your life even while you learn to be careful with your money.