Ask the Readers: How Do You Have Frugal Fun?

By Ashley Jacobs on 20 November 2012 (Updated 27 November 2012) 48 comments
Photo: 1000heads

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Christie, JimnLori, and Step for winning this week's contest!

Having time to cut loose and relax is an important part of life. With all the stresses of day to day life, it is vital to be able to have time to unwind and have a little fun! But when your finances are tight, sometimes having fun without breaking the bank can be a challenge.

How do you have frugal fun? Do you go to discount movie theaters? Have game night with friends? Attend free concerts? 

Tell us how you have frugal fun and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

For extra entries:

  • You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:
  • a Rafflecopter giveaway

    If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

    Giveaway Rules:

    • Contest ends Monday, November 26th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after November 26th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
    • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
    • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
    • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Also, don't miss our Best Deals giveaway! Every Sunday for the next five weeks, we will be giving away a $50 Amazon gift card, two copies of our book 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, and a Wise Bread tote! We will also be giving away a $100 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner who fills out our Best Deals survey. For details, click here!

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
OFG

We make fun out of every day moments. I know that sounds cheesy but it's true. We enjoy cooking together, so rather than going out to eat, we find deals on interesting ingredients and spend time cooking in the kitchen. We turn up the music, light some candles and dance and sing around the room while we stir the pots and mix up the ingredients. It's much more fun for us then just sitting quietly in a restaurant.

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Therese

In the summer we go to free concerts, and in the colder months we go to matinees at the theater. All year long, we go for walks.

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suzemagoo

We have frugal fun in several ways. The most common method is to live slow enough to make shared chores fun -- yard work and cooking being big favorites. The second most common is from learning -- whether its from library books or a surfing the web to research questions that arise in very free robust discussions. Lastly, we enjoy endless fun from what we already own -- like playing with our sweet dog and two adorable kitties. All these are either free or so close to it that frugal fun is a daily event here.

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steph

we geocache!!

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Christie

We have frugal fun by having friends over for a picnic at a local beach in the summer, or a potluck in the winter. (When we were all couples, this was much smaller! Now with 10 kids between the 3 couples, it gets crowded fast!) For date night, we often use 2 for 1 coupons, even if it was for a cup of coffee. Going to our local coffee house for a great cup of coffee and a good long chat were some of our best dates. One of our favorite "mini-splurge" dates is getting some great cheese (the really good stuff), a bottle of sparkling juice, and making homemade bread and a salad. Feels really upscale, yet totally on budget. Besides, do you know how many great cheeses are out there? There are infinite possibilities for cheese night at our house!

Guest's picture
lostAnnfound

Get together with friends for movie night or to play some cards.

Guest's picture

I love taking a picnic to free outdoor concerts. Good food, good friends, and good music is the best combination ever.

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Guest

For frugal fun, I go to the discount theatre on Tuesdays - which only costs $1.50. The other days it's $3.25, which isn't too bad either. I skip the popcorn and bring my own water bottle and snacks.

On Friday nights I go hiking with friends - it's normally $5.00 per visit during the day but evenings it's free.

I have a friend who frequently earns bowling passes so he gives alot of them to me so I bowl for free when I practice. I am on a bowling league but I don't buy the bottled water and eat their food - too expensive. I make sure I eat dinner beforehand.

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Candice C.

I go to free events at my university, take advantage of happy hours at restaurants, and go hiking with my dog and friends.

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Melissa Gardner

At-home movie night with Dollar Tree popcorn and snacks. I also like doing a potluck dinner and chat with friends...

Guest's picture
Guest

hiking, also this counts as frugal exercise

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Betty

In the winter, we get dvds from library for movie night, have our own spa days at home, beaches and parks in the nice weather

Guest's picture

hike

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Lori P

We get discounts for going out to eat, movies and other attractions. We also have movie nights at home, potluck dinners with friends and family, find free passes to museums, go to family day at the local fair and see free concerts. It can take some work to find discounts and free passes, but so worth it.

Guest's picture
emily

a friend of mine works for a company that rents vacation homes. So we get free lodging in amazing mountain towns like Breckenridge and Vail. Then spend the day hiking around and having fun!

Guest's picture

A matinee movie always makes me feel better!

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RebeccaM

Look up free events online and attend them :)

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Buela Barbour

Frugal Fun begins with a thirty pack of PBR, a half dozen friends and mustaches taped all over the tv...every time your paper mustache perfectly lines up to whatever is on tv...everyone drinks. Hell, it's cheaper and far more fun than hanging out in a bar with a bunch of pretentious pricks.

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Shannon

We love to rent movies for free from the library. Add in a homemade dinner with chocolate fondue and it makes for a cheap romantic evening

Guest's picture
Kate

I know it sounds silly, but exercising has actually become a great and basically free (if I don't count running equipment) hobby for me. If I'm bored I can usually go for a run outside, or do free yoga videos online.

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Lisa

Camping!

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Rusty

Rent a movie and stay home with chinese takeout. Perfect!

Guest's picture
Guest

Cooking in and reading (library or borrowed books). To get out, we go for a walk in the park.

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Amy

My boyfriend and I host Game Nights, usually for a group of six, at your house. Five or six hours of pure entertainment from Settlers of Catan, Cards Against Humanity, and Bang. On top of that, sometimes we make pulled pork sandwiches and serve them to everyone for less than $20!

Guest's picture
Rebecca B. A. R.

I love volunteering at our local no-kill shelter --playing with the kittens/cats and puppies/dogs. I also like reading books from the library or thrift store, walking my dogs, doing inexpensive crafts, and watching streamed netflix stuff and red box videos.

Guest's picture
Mel

We utilize public parks and free museums.

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Amber Cushing

Check out the free programs at the library. Adult and kids programs, hobby groups and lots more.

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Sara N

We go for a walk, host a potluck, attend church events, or read a book!

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Joan

I have two ways that I count as frugal fun. I love to read, so I can spend hours at my local library finding new authors and then checking the books out to take home to read. Also, our local libraries have used book sales quarterly, so I attend the sales and pick up books for around $1.00 each and bring them home for hours of enjoyment for very little cash.

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Guest

Go to all the free community events, like arts at night.

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Happy Love

My husband like to cuddle (PG-style) in the living room.

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Guest

Having fun on a frugal budget is pretty simple for me! I go to the library and get great books and movies as well as informational and educational series. Walking is a great way to get some excercise and take in the sights. Instead of going to traditional theaters, I'll go to indie or old movie houses. Most times they're much cheaper than the regular theaters and it's a pretty cool experience as well. Of course, you have to do your research in terms of what's happening in your city or town. Stop. Smell the roses. Live in the moment.

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Sonja

I joined a local volunteer organization called the Blue Ridge Eagles. We do all kinds of fundraisers so I get to go to events, volunteer and enjoy the events.

Added to that, I hike and bike, go to free festivals and free outdoor concerts. Also, locally we have free polo matches and we will bring a picnic. Almost any type of fun can be had outdoors!

Guest's picture
Dave

Well, though I'm a grown man with a family, I'm still a videogamer. My wife and daughter are, too. It's what we do when we don't have friends over, instead of TV - we don't have a TV feed into the house, just use Hulu and Netflix...

How to be frugal as a gamer? Two words: Steam Sale.

One of my favorite games of all time, Borderlands, was originally a $50 game with four expansions at $10 each. But by waiting a while after its initial release, I grabbed it during a Steam sale for __$7.49__ - ALL expansions included!

Actually - how *else* to be frugal as a gamer? Free-to-Play. Plenty of great stuff out there is free. Team Fortress 2; a couple MMOs (not my thing, but fairly popular); I think my daughter's favorite, Minecraft, is also free.

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Guest

I stay home with my dogs and we all go for long walks together.

Guest's picture

We basically just..make fun of each other! I was raised by a family who always finds something funny about anything. We crack jokes during dinner and spend almost 2 1/2 hours just sitting there and talking. It's much fun with the whole family.

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WonderRenae

We have potlucks! Everyone brings a dish, we all eat lots of good food, and enjoy the company of friends.

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Leigh

I use the library for most of my reading. We use the Redbox and Netflix instead of going out to movies. And when we do go out, we bring our own snacks. We rarely eat out and try new recipes that we find on Pinterest all the time.

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NJJ

Yes, we have frugal fun with potlucks, game nights movie nights and we even use coupons for our favorite restaurants or to try new restaurants

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KelR1

We have two Jack Russell Terriers. They make every day fun because they're tireless playing machines! The hubby and I also enjoy board games like Scrabble, Boggle, etc. It's good for the brain!

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Sarah

By attending neighborhood festivals and using my student ID three years after graduation

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Carmen

We love to get together with friends. Regardless if we plan to host, they always bring food which helps with the budget. We don't always do anything special - most of the time, we just spend time talking.

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Mel

We like to host game night. Each couple that attends brings an app to share, so it doesn't cost anyone much money and we spend the night playing Charades, Apples to Apples, and Pictionary! so much fun and very frugal!

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Cheri Scott

We live in the frozen north of Alaska and finding warm water to exercise in can be difficult. We ask for gift cards to our local indoor water park at gift giving times, or purchase them at a huge discount at Costco and go water walking 2-3 times a week. My son has multiple disabilities including cerebral palsy and I have bad knees, so water walking in the warm water of the lazy river is a fantastic way for us to exercise AND stay warm. Even better, since he is disabled and needs assistance to use the facility, I get to go for free as his caregiver, so our gift cards go twice as far!

Once a week, we follow up with a visit to a local coffee roaster/shop and treat ourselves to Mochas with other gift cards we have been gifted. Buy local!

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DeeDee

I received a Kindle as a gift and I download free books

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RoscoeTheRev

We love to watch movies as a family at home, so we either borrow them from our local library, or we use Netflix of Amazon Prime for the streaming video services. We also enjoy having a family game night where the whole family gets involved in playing dice or board-type games.

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scoutmaster

For over 25 years we have had Friday night set aside as "Family Fun Night". Our kids looked so forward to this and have told us it was one of the highlight of their growing up. As small fries we cooked, baked, played games, rented movies, went out to all types of activites. As teens, they had their friends, their "dates" & neighbors over and we all had a blast! Sometimes everyone would go camping, go to concerts, go to football games etc... Other times we hit the pool or beach together. Bad weather was "game night" or a taffy pull with old fashioned movies. We had pot lucks and caroling @ nursing homes. No matter what was happening in our lives, we always had that one night set aside. The cost for all the memories of being together, having frugal fun...priceless.

Guest's picture

We go to the discount movie theater in town, but only if it's a movie we REALLY want to see. We play outside, too. We even played 'keep away' with my son the other day -- using a balled up diaper instead of a ball...lol...