So you have decided to zip up your wallet or cut up the credit cards so you can start meeting your financial goals. Fantastic. But, um, what are you supposed to do for fun? Have no fear, fellow frugal friends. Take some ideas from the poor newlywed couple. You can have loads of fun trying to do things for free. I’m serious. We are cutting our spending so we don’t have to take out more student loans, and we manage to do lots of great things together. We have an extremely powerful weapon when it comes to battling the forces of boredom. Creativity.
Card games: Nothing like a little friendly competition to spice up your life. Some of my personal favorite 2-player games include California Speed (my personal favorite), Speed, Egyptian Rat Screw, or any number of other Card games.
Chess: I never fully appreciated the strategy and concentration required for a serious chess game until I played against my husband. For instance, I recently learned that occupying squares in the center-most region can limit the options of various attacks the opponent can make. Library books or online searches can yield some great chess knowledge.
Book Store Wandering: Pick up a travel book with a friend or significant other. Did you know Turkish beaches offer tree houses as a lodging option? As nerdy as it was, my hubbie and I loved to peruse marriage books when we first got engaged. Book stores seem to have the most interesting book titles. It’s easy to get lost learning about personal finance, opera, astrology, listening to music selections, looking at the really over-priced photography-of-the-Grand-Canyon books, etc.
Go to church: Run with me on this one. Organ recitals, choir concerts, I even saw a church advertising Tai Chi lessons. Not only are there fun performances, but the actual buildings and services can be an interesting diversion. My husband and I accidentally went to Mass the other day because we wandered into this gorgeous Cathedral. This cute little old man gave us a program and said, “Come. Sing with us. Be blessed.” We couldn’t really say no to that. There is definitely something enlightening to seeing how others worship. And it’s free.
Library books: Libraries are awesome. Partially because you can take a piece with you for three weeks.
Podcasts: The day I discovered podcasts on itunes, my roommates didn’t see me for a good 4 hours. You can learn about Roth IRAs from Charles Schwab, shark attacks from National Geographic, or even sign up for French lessons. Our favorite is “This American Life.” Pretend you are in the 1930s and gather round to listen to the radio. Best part is it’s F-R-E-E. Just download itunes from itunes.com and go wild.
Revert to childhood: Borrow a movie from the library you used to watch as a kid, build a fort, dig out some old board games, or even pull out some childhood pictures and take a walk down memory lane. This can be particularly fun if you have kids.
Frugal doesn’t mean all the life, fun, and energy is sucked out of your soul. Steal these ideas, make up your own, get creative. And perhaps when frugality is no longer a necessity, your ingrained creativity habits will continue to pad your savings.
Image courtesy of Jigme Datse