Keeping your finances in good condition should be a priority for everyone. Maintaining good financial health is almost as important as keeping yourself physically healthy. It can be difficult and boring at times,but one of the keys to good financial health is to create a strict budget and to stick to it to the extent possible. It’s the only way to avoid running out of money every month.
Sticking to a Budget Still Means Having Fun
It’s no fun to think about, is it? Sticking to a very strict budget means you may not be able to do anything you want just because you want to. Sounds like you are destined to miss out on a lot of fun things. And that may be true, in a way. But only if your idea of fun involves only attending expensive events that you simply can’t afford on your budget.
What if we were to tell you about things you can do that are a lot of fun and will definitely fit into your budget? You may think we’re making it up. But we are about to tell you about 10 things you can do, even if your entertainment budget is as tight as Aunt Mabel’s party dress. These are things anyone can do by themselves, or with their friends and/or family. In addition, you will have a great time while not breaking any entertainment budget.
Look for Local Community Events
Most communities, regardless of size, set up entertainment events for the community as a whole. Local officials are always looking for ways to entertain the people who live there. They set up events, like art festivals, community celebrations, parades, carnivals and movie nights. These events tend to be either free or really cheap and everyone usually has a great time.
Enjoy Nature for a Change
There are very few places that don’t have some beautiful scenery somewhere nearby, whether it’s a local park, or a state or national park or monument. Hiking and biking trails abound in most places, and just relaxing and taking a long walk or bike ride can be a great experience for someone on a budget. On a clear night, you can just look for a remote area and look up at the stars. Play with the kids and/or the dogs in the park or head to the beach with a picnic lunch. You’ll be surprised how many things there are to do outside that cost nothing.
Enjoy Some Culture
Every community values arts and culture, which is why nearly every community is chock full of museums, art galleries, conservatories, and other cultural touchstones. Most of these places are inexpensive. And many hold free days for kids and/or people who live in the local community. Pick up a local newspaper or search online. You will probably find all sorts of things to see or do that will fit into your budget.
Cut Off the Cable
One of the first things most people on a budget do is to “cut the cord.” Ridding yourself of the large cable bill every month is easier than you think. If you’ve had cable for a long time, you may not even be aware of the changes in your local broadcast area. Over the last decade, the number of digital subchannels has proliferated. Which means you will have 35-50 channels available to you via a basic antenna.
All free, including classic programs you watched as a kid. And some of the same programs you were paying to watch on cable. There are several channels showing nothing but movies. And if you have broadband internet access, you’ll be surprised how many services want to give you free movies and TV shows. And yes, without any subscription. Also, getting together with friends and sharing DVDs can be a lot of fun. Additionally, it saves everyone a lot of money.
Watch Movies on the Cheap
In addition to many communities holding movie nights in the park or on the side of a building, you should look for other ways to catch films on the cheap. Some local organizations hold movie nights with free or affordable ticket prices available. Some movie theaters also hold inexpensive matinee dates for families. There you can see movies on the big screen at a really low price.
Create Events at Home
It is possible to simply stay home and have a good time with family and close friends. It can be a game night, a scavenger hunt or anything you want. You can even test your creativity by scheduling a family gardening competition or a cook-off. This way everyone gets to display their skills and engage in their passions.
Plan a Staycation
Along those same lines, it is possible to take a week off work and relieve some stress without “going somewhere”. Living in an expensive hotel or staying on the beach the entire time. Staying at home as a family and doing things the whole family will enjoy can often be more fun and more relaxing.
You can take a family hike. Either you can participate in a family project like painting the house, cleaning the garage and/or attic, or finally building the pooch a doghouse. Also, you can plan an annual family touch football game, or you can all go swimming in the local pool. You can have fun together and stick to your budget.
A great way for a family to enjoy a weekend on a budget is to go camping. It’ll give the family a chance to breathe some fresh air, get in some good exercise, let off some steam and enjoy some together time. And since all you’ll need some sleeping bags, a tent and some food from the pantry. It should fit into the tightest budgets most of the time.
Search for Restaurant Deals
If you get tired of eating every meal at home or you’re just not a great cook and get tired of frozen dinners, it is possible to go out to eat once in a while, even if you’re on a tight budget. Look for special deals, or special promotions that offer an unusual deal. Look for grand restaurant openings. And search online for special online discount programs or special coupon books, which sometimes offer deals like $50 worth of food for $20.
Split Costs When Possible
One of the biggest secrets of being on a budget is that it’s more fun to be on a budget together. Gather together a group of financially savvy friends or acquaintances who are also on a budget and do something fun together while splitting the cost several ways. Look for group discounts, splitting hotel room costs, or sharing the cost of meals are all ways to have a great time and stay within your budgets.
Establishing a budget and sticking to it is a fine way to develop and maintain financial health. And there are always times when being on budget cramps your style. However, with a little creativity, you can still have a lot of fun, even on a budget. You just have to be creative.