We all have things that we enjoy doing. Maybe you love to read, buy shoes or handbags, visit amusement parks, ski, travel, scuba dive, or any of a thousand other things. Chances are that most of your fun activities cost at least some money. That’s not a bad thing as long as you can afford what you’re doing. But if you need or want to save money on your fun, there are alternative ways to have that fun for less. Here are some ideas:
Get a job
If you love to read and the library isn’t for you, get a part-time job in a bookstore and use the discount to buy your books. If you like to buy clothes, get a job at a department store. If you like amusement parks, get a seasonal job and you’ll likely get in for free and be able to bring in friends at discounted rates. If you want to travel the world, take a job on a cruise ship. Some people argue that working to fund your passion sucks the fun out of it, but others are perfectly happy being immersed in their passion all day every day and using the money and discounts to fund their love.
If you have a skill, offer to teach in exchange for savings or freebies. If you can scuba dive, maybe you can teach at a dive shop in exchange for a discount on supplies. If you can ski, see if you can become an instructor at a resort for the season in exchange for free lift tickets. If you’re good with crafts, see if you can teach at the local craft store in exchange for a discount on supplies. There are many places in need of skilled instructors.
Get someone else to pay for your enjoyment
I know someone who loves cars. He took a job because one of the perks was a swanky company car. (He did enjoy the work, but it was the car that set this job offer apart from the others.) Rather than pay for a new car every year, he gets a new car through work. You might be able to find a way to get someone else to pay for your enjoyment. Maybe you can find a job with a clothing allowance so you can get nice clothes every season. Maybe you can get your landlord to pay for some improvements/upgrades to your place in exchange for using it as a model apartment. Maybe you can negotiate a new cell phone or tablet from your company every year as part of your compensation package. Think about what you love and then brainstorm ways to get someone else to pay or subsidize your costs.
Find alternative places to buy or play
Consignment and thrift stores can be great places to get designer clothes cheap. Yard sales can be good places to score video games or CD’s for pennies. You might be able to save big bucks by going to less-popular or unknown ski resorts or travel destinations. Don’t assume that you have to pay full price for your fun, or that you can only have fun if you go to the best places. Sometimes the off-the-beaten-path places aren’t only inexpensive, they end up being better than the overproduced and overcrowded popular ones.
If you can’t afford all of your fun on your income alone, there are lots of ways to fund your fun. You just have to get creative and think about how you can do what you love for less. If you’re very lucky, you might even be able to get someone else to pay for some of your fun.
(Photo courtesy of Mike Baird)