The items/experiences below are not all free (is anything absolutely free anyways?), but they are ways for you to enjoy life without paying a ton of money for it.
Have a potluck.
I always love a fun potluck. You can have one at your home, or you can even see if your group of friends/family want to have a rotating schedule – with a different person hosting one each week or each month.
This can be a great way to get everyone together at a much cheaper price. I would rather have a fun get together at home instead of at a restaurant anyways – the atmosphere is just better!
Use Groupon or other discount websites.
If there is something that you know you plan on buying, you should always try seeing if there is a coupon or discount out there first. There almost always is.
Different websites to look at include Booking.com, Groupon, LivingSocial, Airbnb, Restaurant.com, and RetailMeNot.
Earn extra money.
Of course, I included this point in this blog post. I think there are so many positives of earning extra money, so it only makes sense.
If you know that you need to save a certain amount of money in order to do something (such as taking a vacation, skydiving, or something else), then you may want to work on making extra money so that you can afford it.
You could sell items, earn free cash back from shopping online, take up a part-time job, freelance or something else.
You could then put all of this extra money towards what you are saving for so that it is not coming directly out of your budget.
Related article: 10 Things I’ve Done To Make Extra Money
Find a trail.
We’ve been taking walks and bike rides on the Katy Trail near our home a lot lately. I think last week we did around 20 miles altogether by just walking the trail with our dogs. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to relax, enjoy the nice weather, and get a frugal workout in.
If you live by a lake or beach, utilize that and walk near it! Whenever I go on vacation to the beach, I always talk to the people who live there and tell them how lucky they are to live near the beach. Almost every single time they say “Yes, it’s nice, but I haven’t been to the beach in over a year.” WHAT?! You guys are crazy!
You need to utilize the areas around you. I’m sure 99% of you have a great public area to use. You can go for a hike, bike ride, walk, run, and more.
Use rewards points.
If you can trust yourself with credit cards, then you may want to try earning some free travel or free gift cards by using your credit card just like you normally would.
Read a book.
I will admit that I don’t read as many books as I would like, but whenever I do start reading a good one it is nearly impossible to put it down.
Reading a book can be a lot of fun, and it can be free if you get your books from the library.
Use your student ID.
Even though I graduated with my MBA in 2012, I still carry about my student ID. Many stores, restaurants, movie theaters and other places will give you a discount if you show them your student ID.
Some may say that this crosses into the cheap or maybe even stealing category, but I don’t really see anything wrong with it. It doesn’t save me a huge amount of money, but I can usually save somewhere around 10% to 25% when I go places just for carrying a small card in my wallet.
Get an annual pass.
This may exceed budgets for some, but if you have a place that you love to go to (such as a national park, amusement park, etc.) and you know that you would get good use out of it, then you may be able to justify the costs.
If you average out how many times you use it by the annual cost, you may find that you are actually just spending a couple of dollars each time you go. It can be especially cheap if you live close to the park because you can save on gas as well.
You might be saying “but the food is so expensive at amusement parks!” Yes, that is true. However, you can always pack your lunch, put it in a cooler, and take a break from visiting the park to eat your packed lunch.