A big part of why we want to make (or save) money in the first place is to enjoy it. But it’s hard to save for concert tickets, travel, and other bigger purchases when all your money disappears on an average Friday night.
The good news? A small budget doesn’t mean you’re forever confined to your home alone. There are plenty of ways to entertain yourself with little to no spending.
Just go outside
Did you know that there’s a beautiful park just down the street? Have you seen the mural on the side of a nearby office building?
Simply leaving your home can lead to all sorts of adventures. You could end up making new friends, spotting adorable pets, and getting some great pics for social media.
Most towns also have trails for hiking, biking, or just enjoying nature.
Apps like AllTrails can show you what kinds of recreational areas are nearby. You can search for hikes by length, elevation, and ability level to find the activity that’s right for you.
Participate in a scavenger hunt
When you were a kid, were you excited by the idea of finding treasure? Then you’ll be thrilled to hear that online communities have made scavenger hunts a reality for all ages.
Geocaching is sweeping the nation (and beyond!), so get out your compass, map, or smartphone. Strangers hide small “caches” on public property then release the coordinates online.
Players follow the coordinates and carefully search the area for the bundle. What’s inside each is a unique surprise.
You can also combine a treasure hunt with an art project by joining the painted-rock movement. It’s a simple process: Paint a few rocks, post pics in your local painted-rock Facebook group with a hint or two as to their locations, then go out and hide them for someone to discover.
Don’t see a group near you? Start one yourself!
Pool your resources for a night in
Instead of going out to spend upward of $50 on dinner and drinks (it’s always more than you think, isn’t it?), take the party home. Have one friend host, and have everyone bring drinks and food to share potluck-style. Choose some kind of recreation in advance, like a board game or movie.
One of the most fun and creative things you can do with friends is host a murder mystery party. You can find a theme and plot via many “party packs” online, or follow this guide to write your own. Let your friends know in advance who their characters are, and encourage them to create costumes.
Visit your local library
You don’t have to buy a sandwich or a cup of coffee to hang out at the library, no matter how long your visit. If you want to quietly read or use the internet, this is the place.
In addition to lending free books, CDs, and movies, the library is a community hub. Libraries often host art exhibits, meetup groups, story time for kids, and lectures. They can point you toward other inexpensive activities in your town.
The library can also connect you with community service opportunities, like helping others learn to read or speak English. This would be another rewarding and inexpensive use of your free time.
The bottom line
With a little creativity, you can find fun entertainment either on your own or with friends and family. Who knows? They might even create more rewarding memories than an expensive night out ever could.