Living on a Tight Budget – Part 7

One of the most important parts of living on a tight budget is deciding what your priorities are. Once those are determined you can plan your activities accordingly. For most people, one of the main priorities of life is to have meaningful relationships with those you care about. Contrary to popular habit of going out to eat and then going to the movies, there are many other activities that can be fun and free, or at least very inexpensive.

My first idea is to get out into nature. Go to a park or playground. There are many around that are free to get into. Not only is it good exercise to hike or play, it also cultivates good relationships. Instead of watching a movie where there is little conversation among friends, spend your time really getting to know the person. How do they respond in certain circumstances? What do they like? What do they dislike? What makes them laugh? What makes them cry? We are meant to be social creatures so go be social!

Another idea is to pull out a good game. Many fun conversations happen over a game of cards or a board game. Get one with lots of interpersonal questions and learn about your opponents. Make up a game and just be silly. I have heard it said that those who cannot laugh at themselves are very close to insanity.

Maybe you like football or Frisbee. Get a group together and get a game going. Kick a soccer ball around or shoot some hoops. These are all great exercise and can be great fun without costing a lot of money.

If it is summer and you are hot, play in a sprinkler instead of going to a public pool. Even adults can have fun playing around in a sprinkler on a hot day, and they do not have to worry about the lifeguard looking at them funny.

If you want to get really goofy and bring a smile to someone’s day, get creative. One time a friend sat in a shopping cart while someone else pushed her through the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant. She ordered water and received a laugh from the attendant who gave her the water.

If it is a nice evening out, go stargazing. Find someone with a really good pair of binoculars and see how many planets and gaseous clouds you can find that you thought were stars. Find the band of the Milky Way.

There are so many activities you can do to relax or be relational or have fun that do not cost a dime. It just takes a bit of shifting in our thinking to prefer those free activities.

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