In the last few months I’ve drastically cut back my spending on entertainment and frivolous purchases. I realized I had to cut back to make any major progress on my financial goals.
At first it felt really strange to not shop as often or buy things when I felt like it, but I’ve adjusted and totally love this new frugal lifestyle!
The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was how to entertain myself on the cheap. In the past I’ve spent $100+ on a night out with dinner, drinking, and other activities that cost a lot of money. I’d also go shopping for fun when I didn’t have anything else to do for a couple hours.
Most of my entertainment options in the past cost me a ton of disposable income!
Now I spend most of my time doing very frugal or cheap activities. I also invest in items that will be fun for years and cost very little in the long term. It turns out that there are plenty of ways to have a lot of fun without spending a lot of money.
Frugal Entertainment Ideas
Here are some examples of frugal entertainment options that I use and you might want to try!
Go for a hike. Nature is amazing and free. Even if you aren’t in a mountainous area you probably have a park with at least rolling hills (we do and I live in a flat area!).
Go out and enjoy nature for a few hours and get exercise. Bring a friend or your dog for company. Run, walk, skip, bike. Just move your body outside!
Go to the library. A library card is so useful for frugal fun! You can check out books, DVDs, music, etc. A good book can keep you entertained for hours at no cost.
Host a tea party. While hosting a party usually requires big expenses, hosting an impromptu tea party can be fun and frugal. Bake a treat from scratch and offer up tea to all your guests for a fun part for less than $10.
Explore thrift stores. Not only can thrift stores be a great source of secondhand deals, they can also be incredibly fun and entertaining. Visit several in your area and discover the weirdest item for sale you can find.
Visit a park. You probably live near a park and don’t utilize it. Visit your local park and take advantage of what is there. Parks around here offer playgrounds, fitness equipment, sports fields, and more. There is always something free and fun to do there.
Pretend you’re on “Chopped” for dinner. Chopped forces constestants to cook with random non-matching ingredients, but you can do this yourself at home! Give yourself a pantry challenge for dinner and see what you can make with wacky ingredients. It’s fun, challenging, and helps you prevent food from going to waste.
Host a game night. Game nights with friends are super fun and cheap. Have everyone bring their favorite game and make it BYOB so everyone can enjoy what they want to drink or eat.
Take part in community events. Most local community events are free or very cheap to start with. Check your local newspaper or neighborhood groups online to find community activities you can participate in on the cheap. You can usually find parties, performances, speakers and more.
Be a volunteer. Volunteering at shows or sporting events often lets you watch for free or gives you a chance to view at another time in exchange for your labor. Volunteering is usually a win win for everyone and a great frugal way to spend your time.
Host a potluck. Similar to the game night, host a dinner where everyone you invite brings a dish. It’s a low cost way to have a really fun evening and delicious dinner.
Volunteer at events. You can get into a lot of events and festivals for free just by offering to volunteer for a few hours. Work then enjoy the festivities.
Go to museum free days. The museums in most major cities have free days or free hours where locals can come in for free. These are a frugal way to experience the culture and history in your city.
Go to free concerts. If you live in a city with any type of music scene, then there will often be free concerts happening. My city has a free summer concert series and there are lots of other free concerts throughout the year.
Take a free course. Thanks to the internet there are now free courses on hundreds of topics available online. Pick something you’re interested in and sign up to learn more!
Watch free things online. Between free shows on Hulu and Ulive plus a million things to watch on YouTube, you can be entertained for free for days if you simply plug in and search for things to watch online.
Visit the zoo on free day. Zoos always have a free day or afternoon for locals. Our local zoo is super fun to visit on the free day and is a family tradition.
Visit museums on low-cost admission days. Most museums off low or no cost admission days, especially to local residents. Find out when admission is reduced and plan a visit to the museum without breaking the bank.
Try a dollar store craft. Visit your local Dollar Tree and challenge yourself to making a pretty craft for less than $5 for all the supplies you need. Get creative with supplies from the dollar store and what you already have or can find for free. You can search Pinterest for a ton of frugal dollar store craft ideas.
Take a tour. Touring local businesses nearby is a frugal option for family entertainment. Many places charge nothing for entry and a tour while others charge a nominal amount. I’ve enjoyed touring places that make things like dairy products and manufactured items.
Plan your next shopping spree without spending. Instead of impulsively buying items, do a little window shopping and pre-planning to find out how you can get what you want at the absolute best price. Check out when there might be a sale next and see if Ebates is offering cash back.
Find things to do without money. There are literally hundreds of things you can do without spending money. Here are 50 things to do without spending money to get you started.
Those are just a few of the super frugal ways I like to entertain myself around my city. It turns out there is a lot you can do that is active, social, and fun without spending a lot of money. Sure it’s nice to spend a ton on a night out now and again, but it’s totally not necessary to have a fun time!