A number of times, I have been asked if I get bored by not spending as much money as everyone else.
The assumption is, if you’re not spending money on things to do, you must be bored. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
First of all, Poopsie and I do spend money on entertainment. We go to the symphony, the ballet, sporting events and large concerts. We do eat out, though we are trying to cut down on this as we mostly do it because of our own laziness.
However, we certainly don’t do these things every weekend and we don’t rely on spending to keep us entertained. There are a plethora of ways to entertain ourselves that cost either nothing, or very little.
Free Community Events
Unless you live in an extremely rural setting, there are free community events everywhere. Take advantage of these.
I follow a variety of Brisbane organisations, mostly councils, libraries and musesums, on Twitter. These places tweet about events they have, particularly the free ones. If I see one that I think might be fun, we check our calendar and then go along.
By no means have all of these events been a success. We have been to local festivals that we thought were a bit underwhelming. However, amongst those very rare occurrences, are a large number of successes!
A few weeks ago we went to our local library (well, about half an hour drive from us) to see the illustrious Dr. Karl speak. The event was completely free, however, you did have to get a ticket as space was limited. The tickets “sold out” in ten minutes! Fortunately, we managed to get some and went along to the event, not really knowing what to expect.
On arrival, we were ushered upstairs to the top floor of the library where a makeshift bar was set up. Waiters circulated offering a variety of beer, wine, cocktails and soft drinks. Yes, actual cocktails in a library!
Other waiters brought out various trays of hors d’oeuvres. They were delicious, particularly the pumpkin arancini balls. The food and drink circulated for about half an hour before Dr. Karl took to the stage. He spoke for about an hour before taking audience questions. At the end of the event, the bar opened again and dessert was laid out on a table.
We had a fantastic night. We were both full enough that we didn’t need to eat dinner afterwards, and we thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Karl’s talk.
And all of this was free! Boring? Not even slightly!
Speaking of the library, it is one of our favourite sources of free entertainment.
Poopsie and I are both avid readers. We both read predominantly non-fiction, but usually on different topics. Poopsie likes science and reads about it a lot. I love politics and religion, so a lot of my reading is focussed there. If we read a great book on our own topic, we often recommend it to the other, so there is definitely some crossover.
I used to be someone who bought a lot of books. I would quite often buy these second hand, The Lifeline Bookfest being one of my favourite annual events. However, I sometimes found that books I bought (both new and second hand) would sit on my bookshelf for a very longtime, sometimes years, without me reading them.
Late last year, Poopsie and I did a major declutter, which included a number of books. Due to this, we decided to reduce to one (albeit quite large) bookcase, as opposed to the two we’d had before. I committed to limiting my book purchases, not only to save money, but also to save on clutter. I am certainly not saying I will never buy a book again, but these purchases will be reserved for books I love and feel I must have in my own personal library.
We love our local library. The selection of books is fantastic. If I hear about a book, I check if it’s at the library, place it on hold and receive an email when it’s ready to pick up. We then take an alternate route home from work, past the library, pick up the books and return any we have borrowed out.
Since about 2013, I have tracked in an Excel spreadsheet every book I have read each year (yeah, I’m that person). I can honestly say that since we became frequent users of our library, my reading has increased exponentially. As we don’t own a TV, we get a lot of time to fit some reading in and we have found a great and free resource to do so. If you’re not a member of your local library, join now!
This is really just a fancy way of saying “have our friends over for dinner”.
We mentioned this in our Frugality and Friends article, but while it’s a great way to keep costs down with your friends, it’s also a great way to keep ourselves entertained as well.
We will invite our friends round whenever we get the chance. Afternoon tea is my preferred time to invite them, mainly so I can bake something delicious and enjoy it with a nice cup of tea. However, we quite often have friends around for dinner as well.
This is always a fun and relaxed time. We don’t stress out about creating a perfect evening, we are just a few friends coming together to share a simple meal. Usually Poopsie cooks, so it’s always delicious, but it’s nothing fancy or too time consuming.
Sometimes we’ll play a boardgame, other times we will just hang out chatting. It’s an incredibly fun, relaxed and frugal evening and definitely not boring!
These are just a few ways we keep ourselves entertained without spending a lot of money. Does anyone remember whingeing about boredom as a kid and your parent replying “only the boring get bored”? I definitely do and I have to say, I agree.
There is so much to see and do and read about in this world, I don’t know how anyone could ever be bored. And there is so much free stuff out there, you just have to be willing to look and seek it out. Sure, sometimes you will want to pay for entertainment, but those sorts of events should definitely be the exception, not the norm every single weekend. Not every free community event you attend has to be excellent, but it’s an experience and I guarantee you’ll enjoy at least some part of the event. Get out there and have some fun!
How do you stay entertained for free? What are your best tips?