I often get caught in a mindset that if I don’t have excess money then I can’t afford to do anything fun. But there are plenty of enjoyable things that are free, it just takes finding out what they are, and sometimes a bit of creativity and pre-planning.
Here are a few ideas:
- Your city probably offers unique fun. Google “free things to do in (name of city).”
- You can even plan a cheap day trip by googling the same for a city a couple hours away. Go there in the morning to do some free stuff all day, then drive back home in the late afternoon or early evening. All it costs is a bit of gas (which you may already have in your car) and meals (although you can certainly pack a picnic lunch/dinner).
- Find out what days offer free museum entry, and put that day in your calendar for the following month.
- Get a library card and check out books.
- If you already own a Kindle and have friends who own Kindles, ask them to loan you a book from their collection.
- Look up nearby hiking trails or biking/walking paths.
- Look up local parks you can spend a few hours in, reading or throwing around a ball/frisbee (maybe even organizing a game of Ultimate Frisbee or soccer or some kind of lawn game with friends)
- Look around your house for craft/art supplies and make something with the materials you already have.
- Take your camera or camera phone to a cute outdoor location and do an informal photo shoot.
- Go to the beach (park your car a little farther away to avoid excessive parking fees).
- Plan a movie marathon with friends of your favorite movie series.
- Plan a photo scavenger hunt with friends.
- Plan a game night. Don’t own any games? There are plenty of group game ideas online that don’t require purchasing anything. My fave: a word game called Naked. Or Telephone Pictionary.
- Start a blog.
It’s important to get out and do stuff. Or stay in and do stuff. Creating enjoyable experiences (and varying them) adds to our quality of life, and for some of us, helps keep us out of depression. We don’t need to spend hundreds (or even tens) of dollars to encourage more fun in our lives and endorphins in our bodies. It’s out there, free of charge and in plenty of supply. We just need to give it a little thought, a bit of energy, the benefit of the doubt, and a few big chances. It will give us back so much more in return.
Don’t let a lack of money keep you from enjoying your life.