10 Ways To Live A Fun Life On A Small Budget

 Aahhhh! Summertime!

My favorite time of the year. I sorted out the family’s vacation schedule for the rest of summer break (girls go back to school in early September) and been juggling the girls’ summer camp schedule to boot.

When I started planning our vacations, it dawned on me that we hadn’t set the vacation budget for this year (D ’oh! 😊). I was left trying to figure out how to fit in all the fun we want to do this summer.

This left me contemplating ………………… I’ve learned a few tricks over the years to maximize fun and minimize the expense. It works great for not only vacations but also enjoying things in your everyday life.

I thought, why not share these tricks with you?

Enjoying the fruits of our labor is a vital part to the success cycle we have been living over the past few years. It’s important to recognize success and treat yourself once in awhile to reinforce why you work so damn hard in the 1st place. As a friend of mine says, “Work Hard And Play Harder”.

Living a fun life doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, following the same discipline you used to establish good money habits can also be used to get the most value out of the fun things you enjoy in your life.

I like to call it, “value-based fun”. 😊

A benefit of the value-based fun strategy is that you learn to live more on less, learn that having fun doesn’t have to cost alot, and the strategy also reinforces the need to maintain a high savings rate.

I know from experience. Back in college and my early working years, I used a scarcity mentality to will myself into believing that having a lot of fun was not possible unless I had a lot of money. I saw my college friends making a lot of money and spending it like it’s going out of style. I assumed I needed to do the same.

Instead of being creative, I chose to fixate on what I did not have versus finding ways to make it happen. I missed out on a lot of great opportunities and just good fun by not trying to live my best life. Plus, I was stressed out by constantly worrying about what I didn’t have instead of findings to ways to enjoy what I already had.

It wasn’t until years later when I adopted an abundance mindset and turn my receiver on to accept new thoughts and ideas that my life really improved.

Let’s look at 10 great ways to have fun and enjoy life while on a budget.

10 Ways To Maximize Fun On A Budget

Here are 10 ways to maximize your fun and not have it ruin your budget.

The Library

If you thought all your local library had to offer was borrowing books you are sadly mistaken.

For inexpensive entertainment, you can’t beat the library for a great place to have fun.

10 Ways to enjoy life for less money

If you have kids, most modern libraries have play areas where kids can learn, play, and explore. They have computer programs and games that are very age appropriate, educational, and that they’ll enjoy.

Libraries have tons of free events and activities for all ages. Concerts, book readings, magic shows, arts & crafts, book clubs, you name it they have it.

My library also has free passes to local museums, historical exhibits, and local amusement parks. If you want to watch your favorite show but don’t have cable, use the library’s free internet.

On top of that, libraries have tons of books and movies you can check out without spending a dime. This way when you’re bored at home, you can have fun and interesting things to do without having to pay for it.

I’ve even seen libraries lend out Go-Pro’s, laptops, digital cameras, musical instruments, even fishing equipment to people. You just check them out the way you would a book….. pretty cool huh?

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Many local libraries now consolidate resources with other local libraries to expand offerings and save on costs. If your library doesn’t have what you’re looking for, ask them to see if they can get it transferred from other local libraries in their network.

Farmer’s Market

Do you like fresh produce but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it? The farmer’s market is the place for you. Local farmers from around the area bring their fresh produce and fares to sell directly to customers.

Imagine getting seasonal, fresh, and top-quality fruits & vegetables directly from farmers. Not only is it better quality, but you pay a helluva lot less than the grocery store. The reason is that direct buying cuts out the middleman that supplies grocery stores.

10 Ways To Have Fun On Less Money

To save the most money, go late to the market. The farmers do not want to take home any excess produce and will literally cut you the best deals imaginable at that time. I remember buying a bushel (about 50) ears of sweet corn for around $2!….. True story. I not only fed my family but passed it around to all the neighbors too! 😊

Think farmer’s markets only sell produce? Think again.

Local entrepreneurs sell their wares as well. Anything from local bakeries to arts & crafts to clothes to jewelry are also sold there.

Farmers markets have become a social experience too. My local farmer’s market has live bands playing during market hours. They also host all types of events from outdoor concerts to bourbon / wine taste fests to mini carnivals to food trucks.

You name it, they do it. Great place to take a date or the kids on a Saturday afternoon or a weekday excursion.

Discount Socializing

Want to enjoy all the fine things your city has to offer but don’t want to spend a ton of money to do it? Look for discounts.

Discounts come in all shapes and size. Use online apps like GameTime to buy sports and concert tickets at the last minute. If your timing it right, you could save up to 80% off tickets! …. And these aren’t nosebleed seats either!

My go-to app for finding discounts is Groupon. Anything from dining to movies to vacation trips to massages and so much more are offered thru Groupon. I highly recommend checking it out.

Ever go out for Taco Tuesday or Half-Off Appetizers at Happy Hour? Eating out on a discount lets you explore and indulge without breaking the bank. You can save up to 50% off on eating out!

My son and I went to a local tourist city on our “mancation”. I won’t name where it was but is well-known for their homemade fudge. In fact, this city has 17 fudge shops and gives out 1-ounce samples at each place. We ended up checking out a lot of these places, eating a ton of fudge, and found our favorite spot for buying a couple of pounds to take home with us.

Odds on, your local city probably has a ton of free or discounted activities and entertainment throughout the year that you may not have been aware of like concerts, festivals, movies in the park, and so much more. You should be able to find these activities online on your town’s event calendar.

Museums, theme parks, movie theaters, etc. also have certain days of the week or month where they offer free or discounted admission. You can save a ton of money hitting these events on the right day.

Enjoy The Great Outdoors

There are plenty of fun yet frugal things that can be done outside. Plus, if you either own or have access to the gear then it can be extremely cheap to enjoy yourself.

10 Ways to enjoy life for less money

Here are a few things you can do to enjoy the great outdoors:

  • Bike Riding
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Rock Climbing
  • Swimming
  • Camping at a state park
  • Picnics
  • Trail Riding
  • Kayaking / Tubing

The best part is you can go alone, with a group, or take the family. Good times don’t have to cost a lot of money just an adventurous spirit!

Use Meetup

If you want to make friends and try new things in your city, the website Meetup is a great place to start. Search for event like 5K runs, book clubs, bowling, and so much more. You can enjoy your city, meet new people, and make friends all without busting the budget.

Mystery Shopping

Want to earn free meals, hotel stays, and free outings? Become a mystery shopper!

To mystery shop, you’ll have to pay for things upfront and be reimbursed afterwards when surveys are filled out. It does require some work. You’ll have to keep your receipts, answer surveys, and report out to the mystery shopping company about the shopping experience.

This work helps the company being evaluated to improve their customer’s shopping experience.

Mystery shopping is not a get rich quick scheme, and most likely, you’ll only have it as a part-time gig. However, being a mystery shopper can be a fun way to earn some side cash, explore the city you live in, and have some fun experiencing things you may not have otherwise.

Want to learn more about how to start mystery shopping? Check out Bestmark to get started.

Discount Travel

Love to travel but cannot afford much? Don’t worry. There are lots of options for you.

First off, traveling abroad can be a much cheaper and easier option than traveling within the United States. If you choose to visit a country where the U.S. dollar is worth more, the exchange rate works in your favor which allows you to afford more for less. I have friends that love to travel to Belize and Costa Rica. Your dollar goes very far in these countries. You get to live like a king for a fraction of what is paid at other destinations.

Second, another fun way to enjoy traveling is by tapping into your network. Basically, you crash with friends and family while you explore the city they live in. I have friends and family that live in Tampa, Nashville, Dallas, Houston, Denver, and LA. I’ve crashed at their place more than once and enjoyed partying with them in their home city.

10 Ways to enjoy life for less money

Some of my best memories are those trips and it didn’t cost me much money. My biggest expense was airfare since I had no hotel expense. My food was cheap because we ate breakfast and lunch at their place, and I took them out for dinners and drinks to show my appreciation.

Lastly, when traveling on a budget, hotels are not the only option for lodging on the road. Consider alternatives like Airbnb, Home Exchange, and Couchsurfing. These sites can offer more cost-effective options that staying in a hotel.

Stay At Home Fun

Staying at home may not sound like a lot of fun to you, but there are a ton of ways to make staying at home fun and fit within your budget. Here are a few examples of fun things you can do at home:

  • Host a card night or board game night with your friends. Have everyone potluck snacks and drinks to share.
  • Have a movie premier night. Invite family and friends over for a movie premiering on cable, Amazon, HBO, etc. Make your own popcorn and adult drinks for enjoying the occasion. Way cheaper and way more fun than going out to a movie theater.
  • Host a potluck BBQ.
  • Schedule a bonfire night in the backyard complete with roasting hot dogs and s’mores.
  • Hang out with the neighbors and catch a ball game on TV.

Staying at home doesn’t have to be boring. It just requires some creativity.

Thrift Shopping

Discount shopping is more than just going to your local Salvation Army to look for vintage 70’s clothing! Lol 😊

Seriously, consignment shops and second-hand stores carry current, trendy designer clothes at a fraction of the cost of retail stores.

While I hate shopping, my wife treats each shopping trip like an adventure. It’s a chance to explore new parts of the city she has never been to before. Sometimes, she’ll also check out a new restaurant in the area or a new watering hole.

In her point of view, it doesn’t cost her much money and she has fun shopping. A win-win for her! 😊

Splurge For Lunch

Love to eat out for dinner but cannot afford it? Try eating out for lunch Instead. Many restaurants have either the same or similar items on both the lunch and dinner menus. The bonus is that the lunch menus are usually much more inexpensive.

One of my favorites is to look for “mom ‘n’ pop” restaurants for lunch. Not only is lunch cheaper, but you usually get more value at a mom ‘n’ pop than a chain restaurant. Plus, you get to support local businesses to boot! I also find that you get better quality food at a more inexpensive price.

This way, you can still enjoy going out to eat without breaking the bank to do it.

How Do You Enjoy Your Life?

These 10 things are just a handful of ways to enjoy life on a budget. A lot of people think a budget is restricting but I disagree.

The secret is to be smart and creative in how your money is being spent on fun activities. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on entertainment to have a good time.

Doing your research will help you find things that are fun and inexpensive that leave you not worrying about blowing your budget.

So, what things do you enjoy that don’t cost a lot of money? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me your comments here.

Live The Life You Love, Want, And Deserve! 😊