In these financially-strapped times, the thought of using money you barely have to enjoy yourself might ignite stressful feelings. In fact, a lack of disposable income can lead some to almost never involve themselves in fun or extracurricular activities outside of basic cost of living. However, some mental health experts believe working to pay bills without making time for recreation can lead to major stress. If you desire to have fun but you’re constantly void of funds, here are seven ways to have a good time on a budget. —Quassan Castro
Check out a movie—earlier
While movie ticket prices have been on the rise, matinee prices have always been a bargain. Depending on your city, moviegoers can save anywhere from $3-6 off the price of a regular showing just by going to the theatre earlier. Concession stand prices, however, can be a nightmare. To avoid the inflated prices, snack before the movies or carry some of your own if you’re big on the munch factor. That way you not only pay a fairer price but can also get yourself some healthier options like fruit that most theaters won’t offer.
Make it a Netflix Night
In the case of those with large families, even matinee prices won’t alleviate the strain on you’re wallet. Another alternate to going to the movies is watching a film from the comfort of your own home. Netflix offers very reasonable prices compared to the price of movie tickets and there’s no limit on how many people can watch with you and there are no unruly kids kicking your chair—besides your own.
Take in Local Historical Sights
Google “Historical sights in (Name of your city/state),” and a number of options should populate. Through the selections, you can find neat places to go in your city. Take the kids or your significant other to the museum—some are completely free while others require a small donation. If you’re in New York City, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is an educational and entertaining option. You can also visit the Virtual Library: Museums in the USA for a list of museums throughout the USA.
Remember those classic board games, like Monopoly and Life? They’re still fun to play and are a great way to bond with family and friends. A good game of Uno or spades can also make for a good trip down memory lane and spark some interesting competitive debates. Call a few friends over BYOB style, divide into teams and have a blast! If you’re looking for a more cerebral game, you can always brush up on your chess skills in a one-on-one situation.
Attend a Play
Just because your funds are low doesn’t mean you can’t get a little culture or spend an arm and a leg for good seats. Plenty of shows offer group discounts so invite a few friends and make an event of it. A good place to start looking for affordable tickets is Theater Mania, which advertises discount options regularly.
Take a Free Online Course
There are plenty of free online courses and workshops available if you check the Internet or your local paper. For instance, try Good Typing, which allows you to take a typing course through guided lessons. There’s also SCORE, workshops which offers a number of free business-centered webinars.
Expand Your Reading Collection…for Free
Even in the Internet age, the public library is still a great resource. There’s no time like the present to renew or start using your library card again. With an endless selection of great reads, check out the latest novel by your favorite author or get introduced to the classics. Reading, after all, is fundamental. Might we suggest financial guru Deborah Owens’ A Purse of Your Own, which offers great insights on how to train yourself to become financially secure.