Finding fun, enjoyable things to do on a budget can be tricky. But don't despair! Here are 8 cheap things to do for fun and keep boredom at bay.
1. Dine in with dinner and a movie
Know some friends who are as crazy about a certain TV show or movie as you are? Bring out the DVDs (maybe a new release?) and put on your own marathon or private movie showing. Have everyone chip in and bring over their favorite snack. It's a great thing to do during the fall and winter, when cozying up indoors is sometimes a necessity. TIP: It’s old school in the age of Netflix, but if you really want to go cheap, and your local library has a good movie selection, check some out! You never know what you might find.
2. Take a Hike
Find a hiking trail near you (try searching for one online), pack some water and trail mix, perhaps a friend or two, and head out. It’s perfect during spring, summer, and fall, it’s great exercise, and the only cost involved is transportation (oh yeah, and it’s fun!) Just be sure to observe any precautions relevant to your outdoor surroundings, such as dangerous wildlife, poison ivy, inclement weather, etc. Also, if there’s a chance you could get lost on the trail you choose, let someone know where you’re going.
3. Get crafty
Your local craft store might just be the ultiimate boredom cure. Does sculpting, caligraphy, knitting, crocheting, drawing, jewelry making, soap making, candle making, painting birdhouses, boxes, and furniture, creating stained glass, scrapbooking, or sewing sound interesting or fun to you? Then you know where you need to go! TIP: Craft supplies can get expensive, but usually there are cheap options to be had (for example: affordable student acrylic paints instead of pricey professional kinds.) Don’t worry if you don’t know how to get started or what supplies to buy; most craft store employees are crafters themselves and will help you get started with your project if you ask.
4. Grab a cup of coffee... not to-go
Meet a friend (or friends) for coffee. Yes, it’s a simple and common idea, but often overlooked in favor of meeting for lunch or dinner. Coffee is cheap compared to a meal, drink, and tip at most restaurants (although, I suppose that depends on your refills and to what degree you succumb to the temptations of the pastry display), and most good coffee shops have comfortable lounging areas where you can sip, talk, and catch up.
5. Check out local museum exhibits, tourist attractions, and festivals:
Depending on where you live, there may be great free or cheap local museum exhibits, tourist attractions, and festivals you haven’t checked out. Go to your City’s website or online tourism guide and check out their events calendar and tourist resources. Most will allow you to sign up to receive e-mail updates about upcoming events so you won’t miss out. TIP: Spring and summer are popular times for arts and crafts as well as music and other festivals, so definitely keep an eye out during that time.
6. Picnic at a park
Picnics are another underrated but enjoyable bit of cheap fun. If you know of a good park nearby, especially one with restroom facilities, then it’s possible to spend all day or afternoon eating, taking pictures, playing sports, exercising, hanging out with friends, going for a stroll, and obviously, letting kids get rid of some excess energy playing. Again, the only cost is transportation.
7. Pedal to the pavement
If you’ve got a bike and it’s sitting around unused, it’s a shame, because they’re great fun and exercise even if you just pedal around your neighborhood. Or, do an internet search for bike paths and trails near you.
Movie tickets and snacks can add up, especially for a group, but matinees are cheaper and just as enjoyable. Tip: Check your local theaters’ websites for discounts days or other specials they may be offering.