Today’s post is brought to you by Brent from VOSA. Take it away Brent!
As you rub out the little bits of crusty sleep from your eyes and you start to feel the effects of those first few sips of your coffee, you sit there shocked and amazed that it’s only the 18th of the month.
“It can’t be” you say.
You look away, give your eyes another good rub hoping that you’ll see something different when you look again.
You slowly look at the calendar one more time and, sure enough, there are 17 big black Xs staring back at you, almost mocking you that payday is still 12 days away.
You can’t believe that the month is barely half over because your bank account is telling you that you should be flipping the calendar to the next month.
As you sit there wondering “how did I blow my budget again?!?” the harsh reality sets in that you will have to be a no fun hermit for the rest of the month so you don’t start spending some of next month’s money to pay for this month’s expenses and entertainment.
I’m here to tell you two things:
Number 1: do not worry, you are not alone. A recent Gallup poll shows that only 32% of American actually have a monthly budget and track their income and expense. I’d be willing to venture a guess that a large number of those 32% don’t stick to their budget.
Number 2: Probably the more important of the two, you don’t need a be a hermit, there are free ways to have fun.
That’s right, by the time you finish reading this post you will know of seven great ways to have free fun plus you’ll learn about an amazing giveaway where you can win a copy of a great tool that can help you make and stay on budget (a $60.00 value).
7 Ways To Have Free Fun
1. Go for a walk. Don’t knock it until you try it. For years I was a “walk resister” and would avoid going for walks almost at any cost. In the past year, ever since I got my Fitbit, I have started walking a lot more and now it’s something that I look forward to each and every day. It allows you to reconnect with nature, have a great conversation with a friend, family member or partner all while disconnecting from our hyper-connected world. Try to walk at least 10,000 steps per day.
2. Explore your community. Recently I was completed shocked when I took a look at the community section of Craigslist. It was chocked full of fun, and free, events like community theater, open mic nights, free drive-in movies (Back to the Future was as good as I remember it), concerts in the park and so much more. Another great site to for finding fun free activities in your community is meetup.com.
3. Go to a museum. Most museums, and even some zoos, have one day per month where it’s 100% free to visit. Grab your friends and go get yourselves some culture!
4. Watch a movie or TV show at home. Chances are you either have a few DVDs kicking around, a Netflix account or access to the Internet. Snuggle up on the couch with someone you enjoy spending time with, some snacks that you’ve been neglecting in your cubboards for too long (make sure to check the expiration date first) and watch a movie. If TV shows are more your thing, sit down with Breaking Bad, Dexter or Suits for, what will most certainly, turn into a marathon binge watch.
5. Clean out your closet. This one might not sound like a lot of fun. Honestly, the cleaning out the closet part probably won’t be that much fun. What is fun, is having a nicely organized closet that’s void of all the space-sucking clothes that you never wear anymore. A perk of this fun free activity is you might actually be able to make some money by selling the clothes you no longer wear on Craigslist or eBay.
6. Host a game night. These can incredibly fun and you can learn things about your quiet and reserved friends that you can’t unlearn if you play a game like Cards Against Humanity. Round up some of your best friends and let them know they are all invited over for a night full of laughs, good conversation and great company. Be sure to have them bring over their favorite game as well, you might end up with a new favorite board game.
7. Yoga and/or meditation. There are lots of yoga studios and meditation centers that offer free classes if it’s your first time or with a donation. If the class requires a donation, take a look through your pantry for some non-perishable food that isn’t tickling your fancy. Not only will the class be free, which will benefit your budget, but you’ll be doing an activity that scientists at Harvard have proved beneficial to your mind and body.
Just because there are free ways to have fun doesn’t mean I’m giving you a green light to go out there and blow your budget each and every month while you live paycheck to paycheck.
These free activities shouldn’t be looked at as “your entertainment backup plan” either. The more you start to incorporate different ways to have fun for free the easier it will be to get to the end of the month before you run out of money.
What do you think of these seven free ways to have fun? Which is your favorite? What are some other free ways to have fun that aren’t on this list.
Brent’s a world record holder, inventor, engineer, entrepreneur, world traveler & eternal optimist. You can read more of his writing about personal finance, entrepreneurship and travel at VOSA.com.
Photo courtesy of: Tax Credits