Have fun and stay frugal
Frugal living is, of course, one of the best ways to save money and live as cheaply as possible. For those of us on increasingly tight budgets and with mouths to feed frugal living and fun don’t often seem to go hand in hand. With that in mind I decided to take a look at some great fugal was to have fun and thought I’d give some general tips and tricks to make frugality less of a chore. I’m going to skip any platitudes I could give you about making cheap meals more exciting or about how to cut down the costs on everything and rather just going to look at some frugal and free sources of entertainment.
I’m going to start, and focus on, one of the best sources of free and frugal entertainment there is – the internet (bet you didn’t see that coming). Most of you are no doubt aware that the internet offers free films, free music etc. but are you really aware of the extent of the free entertainment available online or the sheer diversity. To give a brief example here is a very short list of things I personally do for free on the internet
- I play board games by email
- I play online chess
- I read classic books
- I listen to audiobook classics
- I listen to music
- I watch TV (legally)
And that’s just a brief list of some of the things I do regularly online for free. There is almost literally free everything online and it’s only a matter of finding it. So with that in mind I thought I’d create a brief guide to resources for you to entertain yourself frugally with.
Books are one of my favourite choices and if you search “free books” or better yet “public domain books” you can get access to thousands of classics from Dickens to Twain and beyond. Thousands of books can be downloaded as PDF’s meaning you essentially have a library at your fingertips.
Games are incredibly easy to find online and if you just type in “free online games” as a search term you’ll be presented with thousands of websites with thousands of games from RPG’s and Shoot em ups to Mahjong and Scrabble. There are games to suit all tastes and interests and if you prefer strategy games or chess search for “play by email games” and you’ll soon find what you’re looking for.
Programs like Spotify and Grooveshark allow you to listen to free music, albeit with ads, but they still are a great way to hear all the latest tunes. YouTube is of course still a firm favourite.
There are a variety of legal websites for watching TV with the UK based BBC iplayer and 4OD being two of the best. Also searching for “free classic films” brings up a variety of the best films from years gone by all perfectly legal to watch.
Thanks to the public domain we have a wealth of material that can be redistributed. Librivox recordings are a community based project that uses this material to create audiobooks meaning you can listen to classics (and download them for free)
Ok I don’t want to spend this whole article listing free places to get stuff so I’ll leave it here for now. I really just wanted to bring in the point that free stuff for frugally entertaining yourself is everywhere. However now I want to turn to other ways of conjoining frugal living and having fun that don’t involve sitting around your computer. So now let’s look at frugal activities for days out rather than days in.
Frugal days out
Frugal days out can be a little tricky as going out immediately involves costs – gas, food, drinks getting in anywhere. So ok let’s look at how we can cut back on the expenses.
Ok so my first recommendation is that you integrate your frugal living at home with going out. If you want to cut down costs walk for a picnic or take a hamper with you out into the country. Frugal living and having fun hand in hand – just no caviar or champagne.
I personally also find that many people really fail to take full benefit of the myriad of activities and events that go on in cities and within local communities. Local community news and papers are always full of free entertainments from free theatre to free days out. Taking advantage (in a nice way) of everything that’s going on around you is a great way to enjoy frugal living and having fun. I tend to scan the papers and community boards for family days out and free sports events etc. Free music at bars is also a great evening out.
Finally if you’re looking for frugal days out consider splitting costs with a larger group of people. A full car load or a few families can bring the costs of a day out down nicely and mean you can share expenses for food, drink and gas whilst enjoying a great day out.
Frugal living holidays and getaways
Holidays are perhaps the biggest barrier to frugal living and having fun and for many people this is where frugality ends. However, I personally find there are a number of great ways to take frugal holidays and still have a great time. My favourite options are visiting family, going camping with a large group of people and booking last minute deals on days and at times when no-one wants to fly. If you’re careful about when you travel and avoid peak holiday times you can get fantastic deals. Also look at places with low tourism and that are less popular. This way your accommodation costs will be much lower. If you intend to fly book flights on a Wednesday night which is apparently the countries least popular time for flying – meaning flights are cheaper. I don’t want ot go into too much more detail about frugal travelling but for some great tips I’d recommend you read this article on how to save money living rent free a lot of which can be easily applied to travel.
Hopefully this article will have given you a brief insight into Frugal living and having fun and there’s a whole world of free entertainment now at your disposal just waiting for you to explore. Have fun and stay happy.