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By the author of What School Should Have Taught You: 75 Skills You’ll Actually Use in Life
If an alcoholic is bored, do you think it’s a good idea if he goes to hang out at the bar? Or will this lead to his making decisions that won’t be in his best interest? In the same manner, if you’re on a budget at the moment where things are incredibly tight (you know, maybe you’ve lost several thousands of dollars in purchasing power just over the course of the last year), if you’re looking for something to do, is it a good idea to head to the mall or someplace else where there are a lot of stores?
I think we both know what the answer here is.
The problem is that for a lot of people, if they’re not spending money, then “there’s nothing to do around here.” The idea being that unless you’re going to a restaurant, watching a movie, or shopping, there are zero activities that a human being can engage in outside of the home to seek diversion.
Though I’ve never really understood this mindset (I’m happy as can be just walking through the woods), I also understand that everybody is wired differently, and so, I wanted to see if I couldn’t give my two cents on some of the things that one could do outside of the house that don’t any cost money.
2020 pretty much killed these for two years, but I have noticed that there are a host of these now coming back. While there are some of these that require the purchasing of a ticket, many of them, in my experience, do not.
Going to a festival is a fun way to spend several hours seeing what the local artists are making in your town, listening to local music, or just hanging out with friends in a different setting.
You might want to leave your wallet at home or only bring a small amount of cash with you.
If you live in the cold and barren wastelands of (*shifts eyes side to side and lowers voice*) The North (*shudders*), then this isn’t really an option for you at all times of the year. If you live in The Beautiful South, it is.
When was the last time that you went out with your friends on a picnic? We do this fairly consistently with my amigos. We just got back from one the other day, where peanut butter and jelly, crackers, and hot chocolate (okay, it was a little chilly) were the main course.
Even if you don’t have any discs, it’s still fun to just walk the courses at these places sometimes. Just watch your head if people are around. Heads and trees are disc magnets.
Local Swimming Holes
These are everywhere where I’m at. It’s not uncommon for people to spend time kayaking, jumping off big rocks into little swimming holes, and tubing. Odds are there are plenty of those little swimming holes where you live as well.
Again, this is something of a seasonal thing, but it’s a cool way to spend the day without spending a dime.
Go read a book at the park.
Step 1: go to your local library. Step 2: go to your local park. Step 3: find a bench. Step 4: plant your butt.
It’s funny sometimes to read older books and read about peoples’ “evening constitutional,” where they basically just went outside to get fresh air. There is something to this, however. Research does show that just being outside makes people happier, and sunshine is most certainly a health-granting thing.
So grab a book (I recommend this one) and go for your own constitutional. You’ll enjoy it.
Go visit a friend.
Growing up, my mom taught us you don’t invite yourself over to somebody’s house. I think that’s true for about 95% of your relationships. The other 5% of those friendships you have are closer-knit, and you can do this without trouble (if you’re not making it a routine).
Bake a loaf of bread and take it to your neighbor.
The key to inviting yourself to somebody else that’s in that 95% is a gift. When was the last time you checked in with your neighbor three doors down? (Gotcha.) When you don’t have a physical key to get into somebody’s house, baked goods tend to work just as well.
It’ll take you an hour and a half of work inside your house, cost next to nothing, and then you get to hang out with somebody for a little bit.
Provided you have the license, this doesn’t have to cost you anything. Like any hobby, you can easily let this one suck you up into it and devour your wallet, but if there’s one thing watching Alone can teach you, it’s that this doesn’t have to be the case.
Keep a jar of stinky bait on hand and a few hooks, and you’re good to go.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking.
To me, lack of money and entertainment is like walking into the gym injured. You can still work out, you just have to be creative and find the things that don’t hurt. You can still have fun when the budget is tight, you just have to be creative here as well.
But what do you think? Are there other things you would add to this list? Are there things you would remove? Help your fellow readers out by giving your advice in the comments section.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.
4 thoughts on “Free Things to Do When You Have No Money”
Good ideas for the summertime! I’m one of those who live in the “frozen north” — in fact we are under a severe weather warning, it is snowing and blowing, and many roads are closed. There are many ways to have fun and enjoy life in the winter: bundle up and build a family snowman or take the dog for a walk, followed by hot chocolate; put a blanket on the floor in the living room and have a winter picnic (kids think this is really fun!); build blanket forts, put a battery powered lantern inside and take turns reading or telling stories (have one person start a story, then each person adds to it); have a family game day with popcorn or other inexpensive snacks; invite friends over for a pot-luck — if everyone brings one dish, it is not costly for anyone; do a “progressive dinner” where each household provides one course and everyone moves from house to house; go ice skating on a community rink; use someone’s large garage for Nerf gun wars; if you have or can borrow cross-country skis or snowshoes, it is free to go on mountain trails or even in local parks or golf courses; and if there are only adults in the group, there are lots of fun board and card games for adults and if everyone brings a snack, there is little cost. Another fun way to spend time with children is for adults to teach children skills like sewing, knitting, woodworking or cooking.
The picture was hilarious 🙂
Play chess in the park or at a friend’s house.
My parents would get together with their friends (usually at our house) to play cards or dominos. There was no gambling and the most it cost was the iced tea and maybe a homemade cake or pie. The children in our neighborhood had endless games of hide and seek, statues, red rover, chase, ball, hop scotch, dress-up, school, etc. All absolutely free. We climbed trees, played jacks, rode bicycles, played with dolls; especially paper dolls. We colored in coloring books, jumped rope, looked for pop bottles to cash in at the corner store. In summers, there was playing with the water hose (no one had a pool), Vacation Bible School, going camping at the lake, fishing every Saturday for my dad, sitting in lawn chairs under the shade trees in the evening and hand-cranking ice cream.
Sundays after church and pot roast (my mother cooked dinner every day), we’d go visit aunts and uncles and listen to family stories about the old days like the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression and and World War II or look at old family photos. If the weather was nice we’d play outside with cousins .
When we were a little older our parents would set up scavenger hunts or we’d play wahoo on a homemade board or have slumber parties. Basketball every single day after school after 5th grade.
It was a poor, working class neighborhood, very much like Mayberry and I really miss it. It was an almost ideal place to grow up.