Times are tough. Most people find themselves tightening their belts in more than one area of their lives, and leisurely activities are usually the first to go. The economic downturn doesn’t have to mean all work and no play, though. All that’s needed for a thrifty week of fun is a few dollars and a bit of imagination.
Monday – Frugal Film Night
For an inexpensive film night, all that’s needed is a library card and a few friends. Movies that are checked out from the library don’t cost anything (as long as they’re returned on time!) and each friend can be responsible for bringing one “concession stand” item. Choosing a theme for the movies and the evening can make the night even more fun, and friends can get creative with the snacks that they bring.
Tuesday – Wallet-friendly Philanthropy
Whether it’s offering to babysit a friend’s kids for free or working at a school bake sale, volunteering is fun, free, and fulfilling. While nonprofit organizations almost always need extra hands, many fill up fast or require a bit of coordination ahead of time, so it’s a good idea to sign up in advance. There are many websites that describe various volunteer opportunities organized by city, and most places have jobs that need to be filled, they just need someone to ask. Best of all, the good feeling that comes from helping others is priceless.
Wednesday – Reasonably-priced Repairs
The middle of the week is usually a good time to stay in, and chances are there’s a chore around the house that’s been long-postponed and is begging to be completed. Organizing closets and pulling weeds doesn’t cost a thing, and even the materials to caulk the bathtub or fix a leaky faucet are relatively inexpensive.
Thursday – Night at the Museum
Most cities that have museums have a day during the week when admission is free or offered at a reduced rate. This is an especially good deal for a family with kids, when multiple admission fees can add up fast. Because it usually takes a couple of hours to fully explore one museum and the average city has several, this is a recurring value that can be taken advantage of week after week.
Friday – Low-cost Camping
The weather is getting warmer, and taking time to get back to nature does a body good. Although most campgrounds charge a fee, the rate per person is usually less than $10, and some campgrounds even have a flat rate per car, which, when divided up among a few friends, is easily affordable.
Saturday – Bargain Biking
The hospitality centers at most campgrounds offer trail guides (for free) and bringing bikes along on a camping trip requires little extra effort. Pack a picnic with goodies that were brought along for the voyage. Take advantage of the library again by checking out a book about local birds and other wildlife to identify along the way.
Sunday – Economical Espresso
Although sometimes it seems as though it’s necessary to call Zurich and move some money around just to get a latte, all it takes to find inexpensive coffee is an open mind and a “go local” attitude. Independently owned cafes often have coffee drinks and homemade baked goods for reasonable prices, and it’s always good to contribute to the local economy. Bring a book, invite a friend, or just sit by the window and enjoy a peaceful end to a penny-wise week.
Melissa is earning her associate degree in nursing, and enjoys writing about budget-friendly ways to have fun within a student’s salary.