Members Share Inexpensive Ways to Have Fun

Entertainment makes life, well, entertaining. Unfortunately, it's usually one of those extras that get eliminated from the budget when times get tough. When you're watching your wallet, nights out on the town are out, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! SparkPeople members tell us how they have fun on a shoestring budget—and sometimes for free!
  • "Don't buy magazines or newspapers. Read online, or ask friends or family if you can have theirs when they've finished. Make sure you pass them on again."

  • "Camp, even if it's just in the backyard."

  • "Free entertainment: college lectures, library programs, playgrounds, festivals, petting zoos, museums, church socials, gardening, barbecues, etc. Also, try an old fashioned "barn raising" with a modern twist: help a friend move, repair something around the house, plant a garden, etc. (You also get exercise!)"

  • "Plan potlucks or supper clubs so the expense is shared and each person can decide whether to spend money on prepared food or spend time making a recipe."
    -- ANARIE

  • "We have cable TV, but that's our entertainment. We also invite family for barbecues at our house."
    -- TRAVIS07

  • "Use your local library. I check out movies, TV shows on DVD, books, magazines and more without spending a dime! Plus, libraries are hubs for free activities and social events, such as knitting circles and book clubs."

  • "I've noticed that there are more birthday parties and picnics going on at parks this year. Everybody seems to have just as much fun as they would at an expensive party place--maybe more. I've seen adults playing on the swings and see-saws and having a blast!"
    -- ANARIE

  • "Grow herbs and give them as gifts. Try mint. It grows almost everywhere, and people love it in teas."
    -- CRMAGNO

  • "For gift ideas, use your library and the Internet to check out craft ideas. Hit garage sales to pick up craft supplies. I always find them there, especially things like skeins of yarn, looms and kits that people bought and never used."

  • "Get involved with a fun church geared towards kids. There are so many good ones out there. Get involved within your community library, city, political party, etc. There are so many free and fun events out there, and getting involved teaches the kids about citizenship and government."
    -- CRMAGNO

  • "Start shopping for the holidays now! You can find deals year-round on presents."

  • "Make some money: recycle bottles and cans, save coins. Set aside that money for something fun."
    -- SASSI800
These members have fun while saving money. How do you entertain yourself and your family for less? Share your tip in the comments section.
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Member Comments

Good ideas. Report
I can't believe Geocaching isn't on this list!!! It's fun (sometimes frustrating), *FREE*, and frequently involves exercise. If you go with kids like mine, you'll need some "geo-junk" to trade (the kids pick out a prize and you leave something behind for the next kids) but I get mine at yard sales and thrift shops (stickers and things.)

Also, I volksmarch (which pairs well with geocaching, actually.) Whether it's a traditional weekend event with people there, or a year-round event, we go somewhere, explore, and the only cost is the gas to get there and $3 if you want to get a "stamp" in your book for prizes. Since the shortest walks are 3 miles, it's not for everyone, but we like it. Report
My university offers unsold orchestra tickets to students for €5 (about $7). This is world class entertainment for less than a movie ticket! Report
My university offers unsold orchestra tickets to students for €5 (about $7). This is world class entertainment for less than a movie ticket! Report
We bought a Wii last year and now we host "bowling parties" with our friends and family. I make a pot of soup or chili to keep it simple. Everyone has a great time! Report
Plan to give a party for street children in our place on Christmas. I already done this before and I want to do it again this year... It's the most wonderful and a different feeling I ever experienced! My family love to support me,too. I hope and I wish I could give a bigger party this year. Report
Take a trip at Christmas instead of buying toys, clothes and games that will not make a lasting memory. We've spent Christmas at Disney World and had a wonderful time. Report