frugal fun http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9531/all en-US How Much Should You Actually Be Spending on a Date? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_couple_balloons_000043029394.jpg" alt="Couple learning how much to spend on a date" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Going on a date at the end of a long week can be the perfect stress reliever. However, when you're spending half of what you're making trying to impress your date, you'll just go broke and regret every penny you spent. Fortunately, we've found some ways for you to figure out how much you should splurge this weekend &mdash; and how to get the most out of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-love-with-these-fun-and-cheap-first-date-ideas">every date night opportunity</a>.</p> <h2>1. Know What the Average Person Spends</h2> <p>Your paycheck should govern how much you can afford. Cosmopolitan found that men spend about $80 on a first date, on average. Other sources suggest that the typical person spends between $50&ndash;$100 on date night, occurring on average once a month. However, according to Match.com, 58% of women don't even want an expensive date.</p> <h2>2. Shell Out a Bit More on Your First Date</h2> <p>A first date is different than every date that follows. Spending freely on your first date is a great way to show your date that you are serious, but it doesn't mean that you need to continue spending the same amount on future dates. After all, you don't want to be too frugal on the first date, which can make you seem cheap. On the other hand, if you tend to have a lot of first dates, you may want to rein in your spending.</p> <h2>3. Budget for Special Occasions</h2> <p>Special occasions like Valentine's Day and Christmas will have higher associated price tags. If you decide to go on a date during one of these expensive holidays, you can expect to spend more. In fact, some restaurants will even offer a special holiday menu, with more expensive entrees. Plan your budget proactively if you intend on spending more lavishly on special occasions.</p> <h2>4. Consider Your Location</h2> <p>Dating in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Washington DC, and other large cities will cost you more. This is especially the case when you factor in the cost of public transportation, tipping, and the higher cost of food and entertainment in these large cities. You will have to take into account where you live when you are coming up with a budget for the weekend.</p> <h2>5. Set Personal Rules</h2> <p>The best way to limit your spending is to set rules for yourself. For instance, you can decide that you won't spend more than $20 on a weeknight date, but can spend up to $50 on a weekend date. The only way to determine how much to spend is to take into account your personal finances, income, and what you feel comfortable spending. The last thing you want to do is run up high credit card bills just trying to impress your date.</p> <h2>6. Have Fun Without the Expense</h2> <p>A simple way to reduce your spending would simply be to limit how often you go out. However, if you budget well and take advantage of affordable (or free) dates, then you can go out much more often. Casual dates (such as lunch dates) are more affordable, allowing you to go out more often. They are also more laid back, so you can get to know your date better.</p> <p>We have also found some of the best ways to impress your date for less than $20, so you can take them out whenever you have time (instead of whenever you have money):</p> <ul> <li>Book a free tour;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Rent a pair of bikes;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Find a great rooftop hangout;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Go to a food, film, music, or art festival;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Research your local area on Yelp or online to find cheap, highly rated places near you;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Use Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Deals, and Yelp Deals to find deals for food, shopping, and events near you;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Take advantage of free dates, like hiking or a day at the beach;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Show off your cooking skills instead of dining out.</li> </ul> <h2>7. Make It About the Experience</h2> <p>Try not to let your feelings for your date cloud your judgment on how much you should spend. Just because they're worth a million bucks doesn't mean you should spend that. You should find a partner that is worth your time, not just your money. Then, the price tag won't seem so important.</p> <p>Going for coffee and dessert won't cost you more than $20 and can set the stage for a romantic experience and healthy conversation. Remember, your date is not about a price tag; it's about the experience shared. Spending lots of money on the date isn't important. What is important is that you work to create a memorable experience for you both that will help strengthen your future relationship.</p> <p><em>How do you determine how much you should spend on your date? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do">Spice Up the Conversation by Skipping &quot;What Do You Do?&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-143-fun-and-frugal-ways-to-spend-your-weekend">Flashback Friday: 143 Fun and Frugal Ways to Spend Your Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-relationship-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">Make These 6 Relationship Moves Now or You&#039;ll Regret It in 20 Years</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle date night Dating frugal fun going out relationships Wed, 23 Sep 2015 17:00:25 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1567470 at http://www.wisebread.com Fight the Post-Holiday Blues: 20 Cheap Ways to Make January Special http://www.wisebread.com/fight-the-post-holiday-blues-20-cheap-ways-to-make-january-special <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fight-the-post-holiday-blues-20-cheap-ways-to-make-january-special" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5326400672_50b7ba2f35_z.jpg" alt="paper snowflakes" title="paper snowflakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>January can be a tough month &mdash; the post-holiday blues and dreary weather can be enough to make anyone feel a little down. Combine this with failed New Year's resolutions and a long month, and you've got a case of the winter doldrums. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-for-making-resolutions-stick-in-the-new-year">4 Tips for Making Resolutions Stick in the New Year</a>)</p> <p>But don't give in to the Holiday Hangover. Here are 20 ways to make January feel a bit more special.</p> <h2>1. Change Your Diet</h2> <p>Always felt that eating animal products wasn't right but weren't sure if you had what it took to become a vegetarian? Or maybe you've been keen on the Atkins diet but didn't think you could make a long-term commitment. You don't have to &mdash; just set aside the month of January to try a new diet. It doesn't have to be drastic. You can try a quick and easy detox. It's only a month, after all.</p> <h2>2. Volunteer</h2> <p>Find a cause and volunteer for one month. You might find that you like it so much that you don't want to stop when January's up.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. Decorate for January</h2> <p>It can be kind of depressing, taking down all of the lights and chipping the Christmas tree. Well, why not decorate the house for January? Create paper snowflakes and string them around the living room. Or get a headstart on Valentines Day, and start decking out your home in hearts.</p> <h2>4. Start a Journal</h2> <p>Keeping a diary is a good way to jog your memory, but it can be tough to keep up every single day. Try doing it for the month of January &mdash; knowing that you have a quitting date can make the task seem easier.</p> <h2>5. Spring Clean (a Few Months Early)</h2> <p>Get started on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning">spring cleaning</a> before spring is here &mdash; and make a big donation to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or your favorite secondhand store, or sell excess stuff online. If you really pare down your belongings, you can start out the year fresh and uncluttered.</p> <h2>6. Get a Makeover</h2> <p>Not a big one &mdash; but little changes to your appearance can make you feel better. Get a fresh haircut, try a new hair color, or test out some new drugstore cosmetics.</p> <h2>7. Go on a Date Once a Week</h2> <p>Whether you're single or not, date nights are great. Going out every night is pricey, so pick one night per week to go out for some frugal fun. Whether you grab a burger or just go stare at the stars, spending time with your partner, spouse, or a new love interest is a good way to build a solid relationship.</p> <h2>8. Get in Touch With Long-Lost Friend</h2> <p>You've always wondered what happened to Becky from first grade &mdash; so try to find her.</p> <h2>9. Write Letters</h2> <p>When was the last time your wrote a proper letter to your grandmother? Some grannies are on email, but others don't know how to operate a computer. Regardless, real letters aren't often sent anymore and are appreciated. Take some photos, write about your life, and ask lots of questions. Write one letter per week, and take your time.</p> <h2>10. Chronicle Your Past Year</h2> <p>How did the last year go for you? Sit down for five minutes every morning and look back on emails that you sent over the past year. Note major achievements and mistakes. Don't dwell on problems, but think of ways to avoid them in the future.</p> <h2>11. Stay in and Watch a Movie Every Night</h2> <p>Dig into your movie collection or hit your local library and check out movies that you've always wanted to watch but never got around to seeing. Going out is fun, but staying in is affordable (and if you live in a cold climate like I do, it's preferable). If you're not a big movie buff, you can do the same with books (although perhaps at a slower pace).</p> <h2>12. Start a Workout (That You Enjoy)</h2> <p>Exercising can sometimes be a drag, which is why it's better to find a workout routine that you can look forward to. If you played basketball or tennis in high school, look into joining a local league or playing at your gym. Try kayaking or rock climbing, or take tai chi at a community center.</p> <h2>13. Get Your Taxes Done Early</h2> <p>OK, this might not be FUN <em>per se</em>, but it's a real load off of your chest if you have all of your taxes in order before January is done. Set all of the appropriate paperwork in one central location so you won't lose sight of it, and once you have everything, either prepare your taxes online or have them done by a professional. You'll feel awfully smug in April when everyone else is scrambling to get their taxes finished and filed.</p> <h2>14. Audit Your Finances</h2> <p>Performing a financial audit of your expenses is a good way to face up to holiday spending, as well as set your financial behavior for the year. Find out how much you owe (if anything) or how much money you should be saving, and make the requisite changes to pay down credit cards or set aside part of your salary for retirement. While the idea of taking a hard look at your financial habits can be daunting, it's also a relief once you finally know what kind of monetary challenges you face.</p> <h2>15. Thank Someone for Something Every Day</h2> <p>There's a Facebook tradition in November in which people post a daily status that indicates thankfulness for something &mdash; friends, family, coworkers, and more. Do the same in January &mdash; if you're not on Facebook, email or write to people who you are thankful for and let them know why. This little exercise reminds us of all that we have to be thankful for, and it reminds other people why they are important.</p> <h2>16. Perform Random Acts of Kindness</h2> <p>I have a weekly habit of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-ways-to-pay-it-forward">paying for the person behind me</a> at the Starbucks drive-thru. The first time someone paid for my coffee, I nearly cried with gratitude (I was having a really bad day). It's a fun way to be anonymously kind, and doesn't cost much more than what I normally spend (usually less than $3 extra per week).</p> <h2>17. Start Growing Things</h2> <p>From window herb gardens to paperwhites, growing stuff indoors is easy and brightens up a room. Or start ordering your seeds for your outdoor garden.</p> <h2>18. Indulge Yourself a Little</h2> <p>You don't have to sacrifice something in order to start off the year. Go ahead and indulge in something &mdash; a piece of chocolate with your morning coffee, a glass of (not terribly expensive) wine with dinner every night. Take a long hot bath with bubbles.</p> <h2>19. Take a Break From the Internet</h2> <p>Sometimes, a vacation from our plugged in lives can be good. Take a break from Facebook and the Internet (except where it is absolutely necessary), and even email, if you can handle it. Just be sure to let people know that you will be unavailable on social media, and enjoy a vacation from your screen.</p> <h2>20. Organize Some Parties</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-potluck-parties-that-help-you-share-the-wealth">Potlucks and soup swaps</a> are popular these days, and why not enjoy the same kind of familial camaraderie that you had during the holidays? Get friends an family together a few times during January for some home-cooked meals and conversation.</p> <p><em>How are you working through the post-holiday blues? Do you have traditions in your house to make January feel less boring?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fight-the-post-holiday-blues-20-cheap-ways-to-make-january-special">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-free-ways-to-cheer-yourself-up">30 Free Ways to Cheer Yourself Up</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-budget-challenge-2016-how-to-live-frugally-when-you-have-no-time">My Budget Challenge 2016: How to Live Frugally When You Have No Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living cheer up frugal fun january new year's resolutions Tue, 08 Jan 2013 11:00:31 +0000 Andrea Karim 961759 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Free Ways to Get Out of the House http://www.wisebread.com/7-free-ways-to-get-out-of-the-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-free-ways-to-get-out-of-the-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/outside.jpg" alt="Path in a park" title="Path in a park" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you work from home or simply spend most of your free time at home, you may be looking for something to do that gets you out of the house for a few hours. If you&rsquo;re on a tight budget, leaving the house can seem nearly impossible, since most activities or events you think of will probably have a cost associated with them. Here is a list of seven free ways you can get out of the house and enjoy some social interactions or get a change of scenery. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-frugal-without-becoming-a-hermit">How to Be Frugal (Without Being a Hermit)</a>)</p> <h2>1. Visit Friends</h2> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t cost a dime to spend some time visiting friends! Get on the phone or send an email to some friends you haven&rsquo;t seen in a while, and ask if they&rsquo;d like to get together and catch up. You can simply say, &ldquo;When would be a good time for me to stop by? I&rsquo;d love to catch up!&rdquo; and chances are, your friend will invite you over &mdash; getting you out of your own house for free and giving you both the benefit of social interaction. Once you reconnect with several of your friends, don&rsquo;t be surprised if you start getting phone calls and email invites to events and get-together&rsquo;s more frequently.</p> <h2>2. Go Hiking, Biking, or Walking</h2> <p>There are hiking trails all over the world, and many of them are free to use. You can find trails by state and location with <a href="http://www.traillink.com/">TrailLink</a> website. Not only will this activity get you out of the house for free, but you&rsquo;ll enjoy the great outdoors and get exercise at the same time. You might also considering joining a local group on <a href="http://www.meetup.com/">Meetup.com</a> for hiking, biking, or walking.</p> <h2>3. Go on a Picnic</h2> <p>You don&rsquo;t always need an actual destination to get out of the house. Pack your lunch or dinner in a cooler and head outside. You can enjoy your meal in your own backyard, or visit a nearby park and do some people watching. (Or bring a book or magazine in case there is no one else out and about.) The fresh air will help clear your mind and reduce stress.</p> <h2>4. Visit a Park</h2> <p>Even if you don&rsquo;t like to eat outdoors, you can still visit a local park. Walk around the park and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the area. Try to meet new people, or simply enjoy being in different surroundings and give yourself permission to relax. If you live near a national park, consider going for the day. More than half of all national parks never charge an entrance fee; others have free-entrance days. Find out where the parks are located and when they offer free admission by visiting the <a href="http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm/index.htm">National Park Service website</a>.</p> <h2>5. Go to the Library</h2> <p>If you don&rsquo;t regularly <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/duh-libraries">visit the library</a>, you may be unaware of all the community resources the library offers for free. Not only can you check out books, but you can often borrow movies and music as well. The library has an extensive magazine and journal selection, most have computers and internet access for the public, and many will host free community events. Visit your local library to see what it has to offer, and don&rsquo;t forget to look at the community bulletin board to see what else is happening in your area.</p> <h2>6. Go to a Free-Admission Museum</h2> <p>Many museums have free admission. Other museums have certain days each year where they do not charge admission. This is a great activity for a rainy or cold day, when you are looking for something to do indoors but still want to get out of your own home. Read <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-visit-museums-for-free">How to Visit a Museum for Free</a> to for information on how to find local options.</p> <h2>7. Go to Free-Admission Festivals</h2> <p>Most communities will put together a variety of events and festivals throughout the year for people to attend. There may be live music, plays, or outdoor festivals held during the warm weather months that offer free admission. You can go and walk around and socialize even if you don&rsquo;t buy anything from the vendors. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">Farmers markets</a> are another opportunity to get out of the house for free &mdash; and even though the vendors are set up to sell their goods, it can be fun just to walk around and see what everyone is selling.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-free-ways-to-get-out-of-the-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-free-or-cheap-ways-to-be-blissfully-unproductive">13 Free or Cheap Ways to Be Blissfully Unproductive</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-143-fun-and-frugal-ways-to-spend-your-weekend">Flashback Friday: 143 Fun and Frugal Ways to Spend Your Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-seattle">Free and Cheap Things to Do in Seattle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date">How Much Should You Actually Be Spending on a Date?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-reasons-to-visit-your-local-library-today">7 Modern Reasons to Visit Your Local Library Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment festivals free things to do frugal fun library museum Thu, 09 Aug 2012 10:36:41 +0000 Debbie Dragon 948687 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Free or Cheap Ways to Be Blissfully Unproductive http://www.wisebread.com/13-free-or-cheap-ways-to-be-blissfully-unproductive <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-free-or-cheap-ways-to-be-blissfully-unproductive" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/paddleboat bliss.jpg" alt="paddleboat fun" title="paddleboat fun" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I often think I should be productive even in my downtime. I don't want to live slothfully and, well, there's always something important to do. And, as I pursue professional opportunities that mesh with my personal interests and vice versa, then much of my leisure time becomes filled with activities that can reap rewards in all aspects of my life.</p> <p>Certainly, there are productive activities that are fun to me, beneficial to my well-being, and professionally inspirational. I really like reading about business trends and strategies, watching culturally relevant television shows and movies, sprinting for better fitness, de-cluttering for a clearer state of mind, trying new recipes and cooking to save money, doing volunteer work to improve myself and my community, and designing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-own-amortization-schedule-0">spreadsheets</a>. But I wonder if I should try to squeeze value out of every moment.</p> <p>I can justify my frivolity by saying that being unproductive on occasion boosts productivity at other times. That may be true, but it misses the point entirely. And, though I believe that I should be a good steward of my time, I also think that I should savor unproductive pursuits purely for their own sake. If collateral benefits are derived, that is wonderful. However, the real purpose is to <a href="http://zenhabits.net/kill-time/">enjoy the present moment</a>.</p> <p>If you are looking for more joy in your life and want to have free or cheap fun (specifically the kind that does not involve being connected with technology), consider some of these ways to be blissfully unproductive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-less-creativity-can-make-you-more-creative">How Less Creativity Can Make You More Creative</a>)</p> <h3>1. Make Someone Laugh</h3> <p>There are many ways to make someone else laugh that are genuinely funny and don't involve rudeness or putdowns. For example, I tell stories about myself that reveal quirky behaviors and extreme fears, which turn out to be unfounded. My teenage son shares humorous observations about the flawed-but-accepted-as-normal thinking of adults. My husband imitates people from our shared past, capturing their personalities through accents and inflections.</p> <p>You might develop formulas for joke telling, like the way a couple of my friends do. They'll see a company name like &quot;Speedy Transport&quot; emblazoned on the cab of a tractor-trailer and say something like, &quot;Speedy Transport. Yeah, business really picked up after we changed the name from Sluggish Transportation.&quot; The humor is not so much in the words but in the delivery and surprising silliness from otherwise-serious businesspeople.</p> <h3>2. Watch People Do Things You&rsquo;d Never Do</h3> <p>I love to watch people do daring activities that I have no intention of trying but nevertheless find intriguing. Your list may be different, but mine includes rock climbing, hang gliding, and kayaking. I don't go out of my way to observe people involved with these things. But if I happen to see someone navigating a Class III or IV rapid in a decked kayak after I have finished canoeing, or if I catch a glimpse of a hang glider or rock climber when I am hiking, then I'll stick around a while.</p> <p>Because I have neither immediate plans nor long-term goals of trying or mastering these activities, this time is unproductive. I am not picking up tips or observing technique. I just like watching them.</p> <h3>3. Listen to Outdoor Creatures</h3> <p>When I traveled to Minnesota several years ago, one of the sounds that I learned to love is the <a href="http://blog.syracuse.com/indepth/2008/07/audio_hear_the_calls_of_the_co.html">loon's call</a>. I associated these voices with peacefulness, serenity, and the timelessness of the outdoors and wilderness. Closer to home, I like to hear critters outside (preferably at a distance) such as a cicadas, crickets, and frogs at night and birds in the morning.</p> <p>If you like these sounds, you&rsquo;ll find being outside and listening to them naturally blissful.</p> <h3>4. Ride Paddleboats in a Park</h3> <p>I am not quite sure of the original use of paddleboats. They seem to exist as a way for municipal parks to generate income and provide entertainment to little kids, young teens, and their parents. Unlike canoes and sailboats, which have value for transporting people and goods, the paddleboat is good for 30-minute segments of unproductivity.</p> <h3>5. Stroll Through a Public Arboretum or Garden</h3> <p>Though I hope to move beyond weed puller to fruit-and-vegetable grower one day, I am not a gardener. So visiting an arboretum, greenhouse, or garden doesn't give me ideas or inspirations that are useful to my efforts. Seeing flowers, trees, and plants is just a pleasant way to pass the time. Some sites charge but many are available to strollers for free.</p> <h3>6. Gaze at Clouds and Tell What They Look Like</h3> <p>Looking at clouds and describing what earthly objects they remind you of is the perennial, classic way to be unproductive. Lay directly on the grass or on a blanket for greater comfort. Relax and share what you &quot;see&quot; with a friend or family member.</p> <h3>7. Read a Book Void of Cultural, Societal, or Historical Value</h3> <p>I often consume media in order to become a better _______ (fill-in-the-blank): writer, parent, citizen, party guest, advocate, businessperson, volunteer, etc. I do enjoy learning and growing, and hopefully becoming more interesting. But not all books or other types of media (movies, magazines, TV) have to be relevant to personal and professional goals.</p> <p>Just as Gretchen Rubin talks about in <em>The Happiness Project</em>, I can choose to love something (like <a href="http://happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2010/08/read-about-my-childrens-literature-reading-groups-in-the-new-york-times/">children's literature for Gretchen</a>) just because I do. Read for pleasure, not just to become enlightened.</p> <h3>8. Experience the Past</h3> <p>It can be fun to patronize a long-established country store, especially if &mdash; like me &mdash; you grew up frequenting 7-11's and other modern-day convenience stores. Or you might enjoy navigating with a paper map and compass, testing your abilities to see if you can find your way without a GPS.</p> <p>Sure, historical knowledge and skills could come in handy one day. But the idea is to do something out of your ordinary pattern just for kicks</p> <h3>9. Look at Old Photos and Scrapbooks</h3> <p>Looking through old photos and scrapbooks can make you smile and recall some things you did simply for fun. You don't have to post them online or organize them. Just enjoy the memories.</p> <h3>10. Throw a Cheap Party</h3> <p>Invite friends over for ice cream or popsicles in the summer and spring. Host the party outside so that you don't have to clean inside (though you might want to tidy up the bathroom) and so kids can play while the parents talk. If you don't have the front porch or backyard for a get-together, consider meeting up at a local park or reserving space there for a couple of hours.</p> <p>Host a chili party in the fall or winter, and let people bring a favorite topping if they insist on contributing something. Enjoy the company and conversation.</p> <h3>11. Watch a Pick-Up Game (or Be Part of One)</h3> <p>If there are public playgrounds or schools with open fields and outdoor basketball courts in your town, then you can watch a soccer match or play in a pick-up game. Though there are probably organized games for kids that may be interesting, it's nice to happen upon an informal, impromptu gathering.</p> <p>Last year, when I went to my son's high school to watch him in the football team's first scrimmage for the season, a couple of little kids were playing their own football game as I sat on the practice-field bleachers. Unlike many older students, they weren't marketing themselves as well-rounded student-athletes or potential scholarship athletes. They were just having fun. Watching them reminded me that sports can be about sheer joy.</p> <h3>12. Wade in a River, Stream, Lake, or Ocean</h3> <p>Wading is best done as an impulsive response, not a planned activity. Instead of hesitating when you come to a stream, peel off your socks and shoes, roll up your pants, walk in, and let the water soothe you.</p> <h3>13. Walk at Sunrise or Dusk</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m not a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-benefits-of-being-a-morning-person">morning person</a>, so I tend to take walks closer to dusk. Whether I take in a sunrise or a sunset, I like to see how the light changes the landscape as the sun moves above and below the horizon.</p> <p><em>What do you like to do that is blissfully unproductive but also free or cheap? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-free-or-cheap-ways-to-be-blissfully-unproductive">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-free-ways-to-get-out-of-the-house">7 Free Ways to Get Out of the House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date">How Much Should You Actually Be Spending on a Date?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-seattle">Free and Cheap Things to Do in Seattle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">Massive List of Things to Do While Watching TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-143-fun-and-frugal-ways-to-spend-your-weekend">Flashback Friday: 143 Fun and Frugal Ways to Spend Your Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Productivity free things to do frugal fun relaxation Tue, 24 Jul 2012 10:00:35 +0000 Julie Rains 942735 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Frugal Ways to Battle Boredom http://www.wisebread.com/15-frugal-ways-to-battle-boredom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-frugal-ways-to-battle-boredom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bored_girl2.jpg" alt="Bored girl" title="Bored girl" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="162" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If I have a free day with absolutely nothing to do, my first impulse is often to go shopping. I could just take a walk, window shop, and peruse my favorite stores without feeling the need to buy a thing. Unfortunately, my wallet is no shrinking violet.</p> <p>The good news is that there are a lot of great ways to battle boredom and keep your spending under wraps. And you don&rsquo;t even have to resort to doing laundry or balancing your checkbook (although that&rsquo;s not a bad idea either). Here are a few of my frugal (and 100% fun) favorites. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mommy-im-bored-25-frugal-ways-to-beat-summer-bordeom">Mommy, I'm Bored: 25 Frugal&nbsp;Things to&nbsp;Do With Kids</a>)</p> <h3>1. Find Friends</h3> <p>If you have good company, you&rsquo;ll never be bored. Seek out a good friend and spend some time catching up.</p> <h3>2. Make a Theme</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve held a few parties, and the best ones always have a theme. So pick a theme you think you and your friends can get into, and invite a crowd over to celebrate the 80s, ugly Christmas sweaters, or any other theme that makes you smile. If it goes over well, make it an annual function. Better still, make it BYOB (bring your own beer). Check out some <a href="http://www.celebrations.com/themeparty">unique party ideas</a>.</p> <h3>3. Cook a Feast</h3> <p>Have you ever cracked open Julia Child&rsquo;s <em>Mastering the Art of French Cooking</em>? Many of those recipes take hours to prepare, but if you have time on your hands it&rsquo;s a great opportunity to put together the kind of meal you&rsquo;d find at a fancy restaurant &mdash; for less than you&rsquo;d pay at a greasy spoon.</p> <h3>4. Take a Nap</h3> <p>I can&rsquo;t say there&rsquo;s anything that makes me happier than taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon. Studies suggest that many people don&rsquo;t get enough sleep. This is your chance to catch up! Plus, a short nap is one of life&rsquo;s great (and free) luxuries, and it can do wonders to reduce stress and increase alertness.</p> <h3>5. Take a Short Trip&nbsp;</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m often amazed by how many parts of my city I rarely visit or have never even seen. If you have time to kill and feel like getting out, go for a drive or ride your bike to an area you&rsquo;re unfamiliar with. If you&rsquo;re lucky, you&rsquo;ll find a new store, park, or coffee shop you can make plans to visit again.</p> <h3>6. Read a Book</h3> <p>A good book &mdash; or even a trashy magazine &mdash; can transport you anywhere you want to go. Pick out a few good volumes at the library, then spend an hour or two curled up in your favorite chair.</p> <h3>7. Do Something You&rsquo;ve Always Meant to Do</h3> <p>Many people have a &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-bucket-list-look-back-before-looking-forward">bucket list</a>,&rdquo; but it often consists of big-ticket items such as traveling, running a marathon, or learning a language. You may be able to begin to tackle some of these in your down time, but if not, consider having a mini bucket list of simple activities you&rsquo;re always meaning to do, but haven&rsquo;t gotten around to.</p> <h3>8. Write a Story</h3> <p>More than a 100,000 people run a Google search on how to become a writer each month. If you&rsquo;re harboring a desire to put pen to paper, skip the search and start putting your thoughts on paper.</p> <h3>9. Visit an Ethnic Food Store</h3> <p>Visiting a local ethnic food store will introduce you to a whole new world of foods you may never have even heard of and provide you with key ingredients to cook some authentic cuisine from another part of the world. It&rsquo;s way cheaper &mdash; and way more fun &mdash; than takeout.</p> <h3>10. Call Your Mother (Father, Grandmother, Great Aunt)</h3> <p>A busy day-to-day life can often get in the way of relationships. If you&rsquo;ve been thinking of someone, give that person a call and find out how they&rsquo;re doing.</p> <h3>11. Play at the Park</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m about 20 years past my prime park-playing days, but I don&rsquo;t let that stop me from taking a ride on the swings now and then. If you think you&rsquo;re too old for the park, bring some kids &mdash; they&rsquo;ll provide encouragement.</p> <h3>12. Indulge Your Dog</h3> <p>The dog park is one of my favorite places in the world. Give a dog some space to run, and it will respond with pure, unadulterated, tongue-lolling joy. Sometimes, it does the same for me (minus the tongue).</p> <h3>13. Learn an Old-Time Skill</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s getting increasingly hard for many people to imagine, but there was a time before <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">TV</a>, which can often become crutch we use to make time pass rather than spend it doing something we enjoy. Consider taking up an old-time hobby such as knitting, collage, listening to music, or playing cards. Some of these activities involve an initial investment, so start small to see how you like it.</p> <h3>14. Start Up an Old Hobby</h3> <p>The older I get, the more I feel like doing the things I loved when I was a kid. Maybe you collected stamps, built model airplanes, or played guitar. Whatever it was, think about some of the hobbies that made you happy in the days when you had nothing but time.</p> <h3>15. Play a Board Game</h3> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t played a board game lately, you might think they&rsquo;re a thing of the past. No so. In fact, manufacturers are coming up with new games all the time, and you&rsquo;ll find that most of your old favorites are still available too. Check out the list of <a href="http://www.topboardgame.com/best-selling-board-games">best-selling board games in 2011</a> for some ideas. These games can be pricey, but they last for years. Choose one you love, and invite your friends to play rather than going for dinner. It&rsquo;ll pay for itself in no time.</p> <p>The opposite of earning money doesn&rsquo;t have to be spending it. The next time you&rsquo;re feeling bored, look for a way a valuable way to spend your time, rather than spending your money. And, if I&rsquo;ve missed your favorite cure for boredom, send it my way &mdash; I&rsquo;d love to hear them!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-frugal-ways-to-battle-boredom">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">47 Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-fun-and-cheap-things-to-do-during-the-weekday">8 Fun and Cheap Things to Do During the Weekday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment boredom frugal fun hobbies things to do Thu, 26 Jan 2012 11:36:15 +0000 Tara Struyk 877203 at http://www.wisebread.com