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How to Have Fun on the Frugal


This is a guest post from Miss T, who blogs at Prairie Eco Thrifter. Miss T. grew up in the Canadian prairies and still lives there today. She is passionate about saving money, being healthy, looking out for our environment, and most of all having fun. Her blog shares tips on how you too can have the relaxation from a green, debt free, and fun life.

fun on the frugal - picnic

There seems to be this misnomer that the only way to have fun is to party; to spend to the extremes on pleasure. Take celebrities for example. Their fun is with friends that don’t seem to last and often are surrounded by a foundation of excess and addiction. The more sex, drugs, and rock and roll so to speak the better.

In my post high school days I too fell into this trap. Sure it was fun for a short while but later on my friendships faded and my money disappeared. Instead of feeling happy I felt lonely and broke.

What I later realized is that what one may find enjoyable another may not and that fun is unique to each one of us. I didn’t have to follow the crowd to really enjoy myself; extremes weren’t necessary. What I liked to do in my spare time didn’t have to popular.

Additionally, I learned that the more friends you have does not mean the more merrier you are. In fact, I had may relationships that weren’t nurturing at all and were of low quality. They just cost me a lot of money. Now, I cherish the few relationships I have, even if by numbers they aren’t plentiful because they are the most soul nurturing friendships I have ever had. Plus they don’t cost me a ton of cash.

What I am trying to tell you is that there are many ways to engage in this world; to have fun in a frugal, sustainable, and fulfilling way. Below is a list of a few activities I have found enjoyable that don’t cost much if anything and can be done alone, as a couple, or with a group. Take a look and see if any of them appeal to you.

  1. Yoga. Yoga for me is simply wonderful. I can do it at any time and at any place. I don’t have to go to a studio if I don’t want to. It can be done on a beach in the sun, in a field with the flowers, in a hotel room, or even at a rest stop. Heck you can even do some poses on a plane. I’ve made yoga frugal by taking some intro classes at a newbie rate to learn the ropes and prevent injuries and followed that with DVD’s off of Amazon. Not only does yoga unwind my brain after a long day but it also makes my body feel really good. There is something about stretching that heals. I have even been able to get my husband into it. Together we have been building flexibility and strength while achieving mental and emotional balance.
  2. Camping. There is something about escaping into the great outdoors that is not only healing but also a ton of fun. What kinds of wildlife will you encounter? What kind of constellations will you see? How many different things can we cook on a campfire? Camping for me is all about letting go of our conveniences and finding peace and ease with the simple things. It’s about having fun with yourself amongst nature. Camping doesn’t cost much. You can buy some basic equipment online like a tent and such and then you are set. Just pack up some campfire treats and some versatile clothes and you are set. Camping has been a family tradition for me growing up and now my hubby and I camp. Eventually we will be sharing this experience with our kids. I can’t wait to see what kind of fun they are going to have.
  3. Picnics. Whether it’s in your backyard, front porch, local park, or a sentimental location, a picnic, can be a great way to connect with others and have a few laughs. It can be a gathering of many using a potluck style or it can be romantic moment with just you and your special someone. The best thing is you can bring whatever you want to eat, no matter how simple or complicated the recipe and you get to enjoy it with mother nature. There is something very refreshing in sitting outside eating a delicious meal while listening to the birds, frogs, and bugs. Sometimes, that cool summer breeze just puts the icing on the cake. Picnics don’t require much; just a blanket, some good eats, and some great friends.

That’s just a sample of some creative ways to have fun on the frugal. I hope I have encouraged you to explore your inner self and identify the things that make you happy and do them. This life is short you mind as well enjoy the time that you have.

So, what kinds of ways do you have fun in a frugal, sustainable, and fulfilling way? Please share below.

Thanks Miss T. for the great suggestions! I try to do yoga twice a week and it’s great for relaxation. We are not big campers though because Mrs. RB40 likes indoor plumbing. 😉

This week I am participating in a Yakezie blog swap where I am to discuss the topic “Balancing Frugality and Fun.” See my take at Prairie Eco Thrifter – Frugal Fun.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Justin May 20, 2011, 7:49 am

    I’ve tried Yoga before after purchasing a Groupon deal, Yoga is one of the most expensive pass times, at least in Dallas. I have yet to find a class that is free for beginners, all the studios I priced wanted $80-100 a month!

    • Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter May 20, 2011, 11:17 am

      If you are willing to go to the less main stream ones you can sometimes get a deal. Or try videos like me; just make sure you are doing the poses safely.

    • No Debt MBA May 23, 2011, 7:13 am

      I’ve had luck doing yoga at my local YMCA – the classes were included in my membership which at the Y doesn’t cost too much at all. Yoga tends to get much cheaper once you’re no longer a beginner as you can just practice on your own with your own mat. My mat has lasted me many years and cost only $20.

  • MoneyCone May 20, 2011, 8:54 am

    Excellent tips T! Plus all the activities you’ve mentioned creates happy memories that last a lifetime!

    • Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter May 20, 2011, 11:18 am

      Thanks Moneycone. Yes, memories are huge to me so if I can create a bunch of happy ones that I am much better off.

  • krantcents May 20, 2011, 10:41 am

    My favorite thing to do is to have lunch at the beach! My wife and I go to a little grocery in Malibu and get 2 huge fresh fruit plates topped with whipped cream or yogurt for roughly $12 total. We then go to a small beach next to the famous Malibu Colony and have lunch. We watch the waves for a couple hours and maybe catch a frozen yogurt before we leave.

    • Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter May 20, 2011, 11:19 am

      @ krant cents. That sounds awesome and romantic. Gosh I haven’t done anything like that in ages. Guess I need to get the hubby and I in gear.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2011, 4:49 pm

      I love go to the beach as well. These days, we have to drive for 1 hour to get there though and it’s always cold there….

  • Financial Success For Young Adults May 22, 2011, 2:03 pm

    I love Yoga! It’s a great way to relax and work out. I would add also that visiting a park and feeding the ducks is a good way to have fun . There’s a park 10 minutes away from my house that I used to go to with my family every Sunday. And the nice thing about living in the South is that the ducks fly here for most of the winter! 🙂

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