Spent most of yesterday evening and some of this morning working on ye olde budget. Not a whole lot of fun. But still, there’s something to be said for facing a problem head on. Now that I know that I have a very, very paltry budget for entertainment, I’ll be looking for ways to have fun on the cheap. A lot of the fun will have to be free. Here are some of the things that I find fun, or think might be fun that are free, or under $10. You can do most of these things alone, or you can get other people in on the fun if you’re so inclined. Some of these may not be your cup of tea, but they should get you thinking.
- Sing. C’mon, everyone has a part of them that wishes they were a rock star. Put on some music and sing at the top of your lungs. I like to do this in the car. Or when I’m home alone, which isn’t often. Otherwise alcohol needs to be involved, because miraculously, alcohol makes me a good singer.
- Read. You can get a book from the library, borrow from a friend, or if you’re like me, you have 50 or so books on your shelf that you haven’t read yet, because you keep finding books you want to read more and buying and reading those instead. Nothing like allowing yourself time to get lost in a good story.
- Have a movie night at home. You can rent movies for $1 these days, or maybe you have a bunch at home, or you have Netflix. Make popcorn. Here’s a tip for those of you who like movie theatre popcorn. Bed Bath and Beyond (and probably Home Outfitters, because from what I can tell, they are actually the same store) sells movie theatre popping oil. It’s a small tub of solid yellow stuff, and it costs around $10. But that $10 will do many, many batches of popcorn, and it really does make it movie theatre like. Bag of popping corn will cost little more than $1 at the grocery store. Some places also have cheap movie days or times. Rainbow Cinemas and Magic Lantern Theatres have locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. They show fairly recent movies for $6, or $2.50 on Tuesdays, or $3 if you go at 10am. You can still get popcorn and be under $10. Even our local theatre showing the latest and greatest movies has cheap Tuesday for $8 and movies that start before noon are $6.
- Play a game. Solitaire if you’re alone. Nobody will know if you cheat.
- Go for a walk. Take your camera or phone and find interesting things to take pictures of. Really pay attention to your surroundings.
- Have a girls night. You can get a bottle of wine for under $8. Ask each friend to bring a both of wine or some snacks. Gossip, laugh, sing — whatever. Or boys night. Where you drink beer and burp and do boy stuff.
- Arrange a swap. We all have stuff we don’t want or use anymore — books, jewelry, clothes, gadgets, nail polish, craft stuff. Get together with your friends and have everyone bring the stuff they’d like to swap. Maybe you’ll score a great new book or some cool nail polish. Stuff that goes unclaimed can be donated to charity.
- Make something. You should have no trouble finding inspiration on Pinterest. I’m not a fanatical pinner, but you can check out my stuff to get you going. You might find you already have a lot of the stuff you need in your house. And a huge number of craft items can be bought at the dollar store.
- Plan and make a really nice meal, for under $10. The key here will be to use mainly ingredients you have in the house. If you hate cooking, you might want to skip this one.
- Do an Ikea scavenger hunt, if you have an Ikea store near where you live. This one requires a little advance planning. Go to the Ikea website and pick around 15 items. Write down the cool Ikea name along with what it really is. Cause you’ll never find anything if you’re just looking for a Dilling. Give yourself a set amount of time, like 20 minutes, to find as many of the things on the list as you can. Then eat the Swedish meatballs in the cafeteria, cause they’re cheap and good. This would be a fun one to do with someone else — make it a competition. And take your phones to take pictures of the items. Pics or it didn’t happen.
- Have sex. Yes, you can do this alone. With or without, ahem, accessories.
- Go for a bike ride and have a picnic. Obviously I won’t be doing this one in Canada for a few months.
- If you have pets, round them all up and take a pet family portrait. This should be particularly entertaining if you have cats. I’ll let you know how it goes with our 4 cats.
- Speaking of cats, if you have them, give them some catnip. Record the outcome. It really never gets old.
- If you have a car — pick a location about an hour’s drive away from where you live. Plan a route to get there. Take pictures of cool things along the way.
- Be a tourist in your hometown. Most places have cool things to see, but we never see them. Go to a museum, a farmer’s market, the beach. Look in the local paper to see if there are any events or festivals happening and plan on going to one.
- Have a dance party. This is especially great if you have youngish kids at home, because they’re always keen to dance. My son likes the song Ballroom Blitz because I put it on a swung him around the kitchen. Turns out his hair is almost as long as the guys in the band.
- Speaking of music, make a great playlist. A breakup playlist, a happy song play list, a workout playlist, a meditation playlist. Whatever you feel like at the time. Then refer to #1 and #17.
- Daydream. But be somewhat specific about it. What would you do if money was no object? How would you spend your time? Where would you live? Sometimes the first step to greatness is letting your imagination run wild. Write it down, so you can remember it later if you want to.
- Do something nice for yourself. Pick whatever makes you happy. Maybe a bubble bath, a long hot shower, soak your feet and give yourself a pedicure, paint your nails, dye your hair, style your hair, do your makeup. Anything that makes you feel a little bit pampered.
I plan on doing something specifically for fun as often as I can. Daily if possible. Keep in mind that fun doesn’t have to be big, expensive, or take a lot of time. It requires focus and commitment though. We have to actually make it a priority in our lives. Having fun will make a difference in many other parts of our lives, I’m sure.
I’d love to hear your ideas for fun things to do for free or cheap.