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Free (Or Nearly Free) Entertainment For Every Week of the Year
by, 09-14-2009 at 08:46 AM (2537 Views)
A lot of people ask me: ďIf you donít watch TV and you choose to limit movies, clubs, restaurants, etc. in order to save money, what do you do for entertainment? Arenít you bored?Ē I usually look at them, dumbfounded, because to me there is too much to do and boredom is never a problem. I have never had a problem finding free or very inexpensive entertainment. However, I understand that those who are used to relying on ďprepackagedĒ entertainment may have a problem at first identifying all the fun, free things there are to do in and around their communities. When I first turned frugal I wasnít aware of all the things I could do, but Iíve learned over time. So, for those who are looking for more free/inexpensive things to do, I offer this list:
1. Free museums. Some paid museums have free days, and some museums are always free. Call around to the museums in your area and ask. Some also sponsor free outings to local points of interest.
2. Read. The library is a great source of free books. Yard sales, flea markets and book sales are great sources of very cheap books. Websites such as PaperbackSwap.com allow users to trade books just for the cost of postage.
3. Movies. Yes, I said movies. Some community groups, libraries and museums show free movies. Many towns have a dollar theater that shows first run movies cheap. Some libraries lend DVDís. Websites like SwapaDVD.com allow users to trade DVDís for the cost of postage. DVDís can be obtained cheaply at yard sales and flea markets (many times for a buck or two), and then resold or swapped for something new. Even a rental program like Netflix is much cheaper than going to the multiplex.
4. Take the kids to the community playground. You donít have to go to a restaurant with a playground or a pay-to-play indoor park. Many communities have nice playgrounds that are free.
5. Go to the park. Whether itís a park with a playground (see number 4) or a state park, there are lots of recreational opportunities at a park ranging from walking/hiking to picnicking to just sitting and reading or people watching.
6. Ride a bike.
7. Go for a walk in your neighborhood. If you go alone, it gives you some quiet time. Go with friends or family and itís a chance to connect while getting some exercise.
8. Get some friends together for a pick up baseball, basketball, football, tennis, frisbee, or soccer game. Many communities have sports facilities that can be used by the general public when not in use for league play.
9. Live music. Some community groups and museums offer free concerts and some up and coming bands play for free at local bars and clubs (with no cover charge). Look for open mic nights that attract up and comers.
10. Potluck or progressive dinners with friends.
11. Local theater. Some community players offer free performances to test a program before launching it on a paying audience. High schools and universities are also good sources of free theater.
12. Local historical sites, battlefields, or historic homes. Most are free, low cost or ďrequestĒ a small donation.
13. Swim. Some communities offer free or low cost public pools. Others are blessed with swimmable lakes.
14. Lectures. If you live near a university, free lectures are always offered on a variety of topics. Even without a university, many communities feature appearances by authors, actors, and others.
15. Read magazines at the library or online.
16. City. Many communities offer tours for new residents or visitors. Most are free. Tag along and you might learn something new about your area.
17. Art galleries. Many offer free showings.
18. The library. In addition to being a source of free books, most host free childrenís programs and adult workshops on a variety of topics. Check their schedule for more information.
19. Craft events. Many craft sorts such as Michaels or AC Moore offer free classes and projects for both kids and adults.
20. The local bookstore. Many offer readings by authors or open mic nights for poetry or short fiction readings. Some offer story times for kids. You can also read magazines and books without making a purchase, although this privilege shouldnít be abused.
21. Community festivals. Many communities have festivals such as spring flings, agricultural celebrations, music festivals, craft showcases, or celebrations of local heritage. Most are free to attend.
22. Parades. Christmas, Thanksgiving, St. Parirckís day or local band days bring out parades including music and other performances.
23. Holiday celebrations. In addition to parades, many communities offer free activities such as fireworks on the 4th of July, egg hunts at Easter, or free New Yearís Eve parties.
24. Camp out. If you already have a tent and some sleeping bags, an overnight camp out at the local park or in your yard is a fun, inexpensive change of pace.
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-Author: J. Derrick