Consumer Comeback Blog

Don’t Let Debt Be a Downer: 13 Ways to Have Fun For Free

So, your idea of fun is a day at the spa followed by some marathon shopping; a double feature and dinner out, a round of golf, or hitting the clubs. For the majority of Americans, that kind of fun can quickly blow your budget and land you in a heap of debt.

If your lifestyle exceeds your means, it’s time to shift the paradigm and redefine your idea of fun. Saving money and paying down debt doesn’t have to be dull or depressing, and what better time to mend your spend thrift ways than on International Frugal Fun Day on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Entertainment doesn’t have to be costly. Debt is a bummer, but becoming debt-free doesn’t have to be boring. Here are some inexpensive and free ways to save on entertainment:

  • Explore your city: Most major cities and many small towns have free community concerts, plays and even free old movie nights.
  • Museums: Many museums have free admission, and those that charge often have free days.
  • Go to the library: You may be used to downloading a book to your e-reader or downloading a movie, but the library has thousands of books and movies for free. If you cut your cable and internet to save money, most libraries have computers with free web access as well.
  • Take a walk, run, hike or bike ride (if you have a bike): You don’t need a costly gym membership to stay in shape. If you’re not in the mood to wander around alone, get some friends together for a run or walk in the park – it’s cheaper and healthier than going for dinner or drinks.
  • Attend a free exercise/dance class: Many community centers and public parks host popular exercise classes like Zumba.
  • Volunteer:There are thousands of nonprofit organizations desperate for volunteers. Whether you are working with children or planting trees, giving your time doesn’t cost a thing, and it can be a really fun way to meet new people.
  • Plan a clothing/entertainment swap: Everyone has at least one or two things in their closet and media cabinet that they are tired of. If you are having shopping withdrawal or you are sick and tired of your entertainment selection, get together with friends and swap clothes, accessories, music, movies that you aren’t using anymore
  • Plan a picnic: You have to buy groceries anyway, so why not share a meal al fresco instead of eating in front of the TV again?
  • Have a garage sale: Sure, cleaning out your closets and garage doesn’t sound like a fun night, but making a few extra bucks by getting rid of unwanted items has its rewards. If you don’t have enough stuff for a full-fledged garage sale, involve your friends and family and make it a group garage sale.
  • Game night: Dust off the old board games, call some friends and get gaming! If you don’t have board games and your friends are otherwise occupied, a deck of cards is less than $5. Teach yourself a new card game.
  • Take a nap/meditate: All too often, we are too busy with work, family and social commitments to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. If you have time to shop, you have time to stop and smell the roses. Catch up on sleep, ponder the mysteries of life, or clear your mind.
  • Attend a religious service: Learn something about a different faith or denomination. You don’t have to believe or belong to a church or religious tradition to learn something new.
  • Catch up on correspondence: You may check Facebook, Twitter and your e-mail constantly, but when was the last time you picked up the phone to call friends and family? Nobody’s home? Write a letter – you know how people used to take a pen to paper? Write a letter to someone you haven’t seen in ages, to yourself, to someone who has passed away, or even to your future children. It doesn’t have to be sad or even profound. Just see where it takes you.