How to Have Fun on a Budget

Having fun and finding entertainment and recreation opportunities doesn’t have to be expensive, which is great news when you are living with a tight budget. You might need to be a bit more creative than just booking into a 5-star resort or buying expensive tickets to the latest show but it is possible to find budget activities. While everyone’s idea of fun varies, try these 5 great ways to have fun on a budget.

  1. Budget for entertainment – hoping that there will be money left over for fun doesn’t work when you are on a budget. While your budget might be tight, it is often possible to allow a small amount each month for entertainment or recreation. Put aside the same amount each payday and soon it will start to add up to a tidy sum. You can either save it up for a big event or allocate a certain amount for weekly or monthly inexpensive fun activities. We personally have section in our budget called entertainment which works really well.
  1. Join with friends – getting away for a weekend can be expensive with accommodation and meals always costing more at the fun places to visit. Get a group of friends, who get along really well, and book a cottage in the country or at the beach, out of season. Organize a menu for the weekend beforehand and allocate meals or dishes to be brought by those attending. I have used Doodle in the past to keep things organized. Our friends love it. Sharing the accommodation and catering costs makes a fun weekend more affordable. It can be more fun spending a weekend break with good friends than going it alone.
  1. Get outdoors – there is so much to see and do outdoors, whether you are in the city or the country. Go for a walk, ride your bike or borrow one if you don’t have your own, ride a ferry, go to the beach and paddle barefoot, drive to the country and take a picnic. These are just a few of many activities you can do when you get outside your house. Walking is such a friendly pace; you get to see, close up, all the nature around you, even in a city; you have the chance to smile and say hello to total strangers – who knows who you could meet? Don’t knock it until you have tried it! The added advantage of outdoor activities is that they are healthy; you get vitamin D from the sun, you breathe fresh air and the exercise makes you feel good while improving all aspects of your health. When I want some cheap fun or to relax and unwind, the outdoors are my go to option.
  1. Host a games night – get out the old board games and invite a few friends over for a games night. This was the traditional way of having fun for families and friends for decades, before the advent of television. There are board games for the serious minded and for the fun loving; there are games for children, adults and families to enjoy. If you don’t have your own board or card games, borrow them from friends or relatives. Second-hand goods stores are a great place to source games at very reasonable prices. We love Ticket to Ride and Cranium to name a few.
  1. Get into books – buy your own books, borrow books from friends, join a library or join or start a book club. Books allow you to travel to another world, to learn about people and places and they bring much enjoyment. Reading is a great way chill out after a hectic week; it is relaxing and fun. Being a member of a book club gives you a social outlet and the meetings are renowned for being lots of fun.
  1. Open mic evenings – check out your local clubs and bars for open mic nights for free, live entertainment. These offer music, poetry and comedy for the cost of a couple of drinks.

In our modern fast-paced, consumeristic society we seem to have lost the art of enjoying simple pleasures. These are just a few of the amazing range of opportunities we have found for having fun on a budget.

So, how do you enjoy the simple pleasures? How do you like to have fun on the frugal? 


How to Have Fun on a Budget — 33 Comments

  1. I’m a big fan of game nights! Some of my favorites are Taboo, Apples to Apples, and Pictionary. A lot of times I prefer just hanging out with friends at home on the couch rather than a big night out somewhere. It’s easier to talk and much more relaxed, along with being a money-saver.

    • We plan to make sure there is no game console in our house. The kids in this neighbourhood love playing in the 100+ yr old laneways. Love the sound of kids playing outdoors.

  2. Greetings Miss T.
    I have to agree with Jeffrey, Apples to Apples and Pictionary are awesome! I love game nights! Order some pizza, invite some friends over, and whip out Guesstures, another good game!
    Humbly Yours,
    The Mayor

  3. Jeffery is definitely right about that! I love game nights!

    My favorite thing to do on a budget though is going up to this place called Rampart. Its 30 minutes away so I have to use a little gas. other than that i don’t have to spend a dime. We pack a picnic, and fishing gear. We also grab my tubes so we can relax and float down the lazy river!

  4. I am a big fan of game nights as well.

    We enjoy hanging out with our friends in our backyard around a fire. Nothing like relaxing and hanging out with others (as long as you enjoy their company).

    • Camp fires are nice. Did you know some cities are banning wood burning (fireplaces, firepits) in an effort to reduce smog? Montreal, Canada – home of over 3 million people has done as such.

  5. When I was younger and had less money, I enjoyed many of your ideas. Funny, I still enjoy many of these things. We still do many of these things. We and our friends throw parties and ask for everyone to bring a dish. This way no has the burden of hosting.

  6. Hosting friends and having games nights are a lot of fun. If the weather is good, then going to the park or beach is also a great way to have fun for free. It really does cost very little to enjoy yourself if you are willing to be creative.

  7. So many ideas for free entertainment to post about but our activities depend on the season. Winter it’s reading, handcrafts, games; Summer we like to work in the yard later in the day toward evening and enjoy the quiet of the night outside.

  8. These are all good suggestions. Our problem was that we got so carried away by work and other commitments that we hardly spent anything on fun. This changed when we started the ‘I’m so worth it’ account – money goies in every month, it is for fun and it has to be spent within the month. So we do it. We also found that we like hosting dinner parties – we like cooking and it is much easier to catch up with friends; food is better and we save a fortune.

  9. I personally have been getting outside more. Playing roller hockey, frisbee or soccer with my friends. It helps when the equipment is already handy.
    Hockey is a bit of an expensive sport to start playing. Luckily my friend had all the stuff for me.
    So now it’s been free.

    I also have a netflix account so staying at home and watching movies doesn’t really hurt much either.
    The board game is an awesome idea. I normally only bust those out on holidays when im home visiting the rentals.

  10. Great post and great ideas! My family loves having game nights. We like to invite others and ask each to bring their fav board game. This way we get variety and all are involved one way or another!

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