frugal fun http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9531/all en-US 8 Ways to Make Your Weekend Feel Longer http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-your-weekend-feel-longer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-make-your-weekend-feel-longer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_relaxing_in_a_hammock.jpg" alt="Young woman relaxing in a hammock" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What's not to love about weekends? The stresses of work fade away and life seems almost limitless. In fact, the only bad thing about weekends is their duration. Forty-eight hours isn't nearly enough time to decompress, recharge, and prepare for the coming workweek.</p> <p>So, how do we make those two precious days feel longer? Turns out, the trick is to try new things. As David Eagleman writes in his book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2sIwWUd" target="_blank">The Brain: The Story of You</a>, pursuing novel activities provides our brains with fresh data and &quot;stretches&quot; our perception of time. In contrast, doing the same old things (like binge-watching <em>Game of Thrones</em>) doesn't supply our noggins with new input and makes our weekends seem fast and forgettable. So on Saturday morning, resolve to break out of your routine and embrace the unfamiliar. Here are eight ideas to get your started.</p> <h2>1. Rise and shine</h2> <p>Expand your weekend by expanding your day. Wake up earlier than usual &mdash; perhaps even earlier than you do during the week &mdash; knock out a few household chores, and treat the dog to an extra long walk. By the time most folks are dragging themselves out of bed, you'll be energized and ready for a new adventure. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-benefits-of-being-a-morning-person?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Benefits of Being a Morning Person</a>)</p> <h2>2. Try a different mode of transportation</h2> <p>No matter where the weekend takes you, get there in a new way. Choose a slower pace by biking or walking to your destination. Make the journey part of the experience. Stop for coffee along the way, wander through a used bookstore, or explore a local farmers market. For longer trips, engage with fellow travelers and avoid parking hassles by taking public transportation.</p> <h2>3. Coordinate an escape room event with friends</h2> <p>Escape rooms are themed adventure games that require participants to solve a series of puzzles or riddles in order to &quot;escape&quot; from a room within a set period of time. To be successful, everyone has to work together, follow clues, and strategize. Enlist a group of friends and build a fun evening around this adrenaline-filled experience at your nearest escape room venue.</p> <h2>4. Browse yard sales and estate sales</h2> <p>Besides phenomenal bargains, yard sales and estate sales offer buyers a chance to hear the story behind each item they select. It's an interactive experience that just can't be matched in any other way. If you've never whiled away a Saturday wandering block-wide yard sales or strolling through a house where literally everything you see is for sale, give it a try. You'll be hooked.</p> <h2>5. Get out of town</h2> <p>Shake up your routine with a spontaneous weekend getaway. Pack the essentials, grab a friend or two, and see what other parts of your state have to offer. Many bus and train lines offer daylong excursions to nearby areas of interest. Bring a book and let someone else drive for a change.</p> <h2>6. Host a game night</h2> <p>When was the last time you devoted an entire evening to just having fun with friends and family? Hosting an informal game night puts people face-to-face again, gets them talking, and promotes something we all need a bit more of &mdash; unbridled silliness. If weather permits, try lawn games like ladder golf, cornhole, or badminton. If you're stuck inside, <a href="http://amzn.to/2rFhOCg" target="_blank">Jenga</a>, charades, and <a href="http://amzn.to/2rptLwC" target="_blank">Pictionary</a> are classics that everyone loves. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-how-to-host-a-great-game-night?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Host a Great Game Night</a>)</p> <h2>7. Go screen-free</h2> <p>Digital devices have a way of keeping us tethered to work, wrapped up in social drama, and consumed with mindless media. Oh, and in the process, they suck hours from our day. Encourage new thinking and new experiences by making at least part of your weekend completely screen-free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-important-reasons-you-need-to-cut-back-on-screen-time?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Important Reasons You Need to Cut Back on Screen Time</a>)</p> <h2>8. Volunteer</h2> <p>Not only does volunteering make a difference in the lives of others, it helps us learn new skills and deepens our connection to the community. Consider donating your time and talent to a local animal shelter, youth organization, or food pantry. Just a few hours every weekend can change your whole perspective.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-ways-to-make-your-weekend-feel-longer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Ways%2520to%2520Make%2520Your%2520Weekend%2520Feel%2520Longer.jpg&amp;description=8%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Your%20Weekend%20Feel%20Longer"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Your%20Weekend%20Feel%20Longer.jpg" alt="8 Ways to Make Your Weekend Feel Longer" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-your-weekend-feel-longer">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/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors">14 Fun Ways to Spend a Snow Day Indoors</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/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-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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment frugal fun fun activities relaxation weekend weekend fun weekend plans workweek Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1970389 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Fun Ways to Spend a Snow Day Indoors http://www.wisebread.com/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-492188694.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to spend a snow day indoors" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm what you would describe as the &quot;indoorsy type.&quot; Not only is my skin capable of burning within five minutes on sunny days, but I am also a complete and utter wuss about any and all inclement weather, and my teeth tend to chatter when the temperature dips below 60 degrees F.</p> <p>Suffice it to say, I prefer to spend the long winter months holed up inside, particularly now that I have moved to the wintry tundra that is Wisconsin. Thankfully, staying indoors over the winter doesn't have to be a drag. In fact, all the frugal and fun indoor activities can make winter the best season of all.</p> <p>Here are 14 fun indoor activities you can enjoy while the wind is howling and the snow is falling outside.</p> <h2>1. Enjoy a Movie Marathon</h2> <p>There's no better time to watch movies at home than on a cold winter day. While you could just pop in your favorite DVD or pick something to stream on Netflix, it's even more fun to create a themed movie marathon. Some movie themes to consider:</p> <ul> <ul> <li>Watch every film in a franchise. Maybe you've always wanted to see all of Freddie's <em>Nightmare on Elm Street</em> adventures or watch every single movie in the <em>The Fast and The Furious </em>franchise.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Watch several films by a specific director. Check out early, midcareer, and recent films by a director you love to see how their talents have grown and changed over the years.</li> </ul> </ul> <ul> <li>Watch a remake back-to-back with the original.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Watch films from a best-of list.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Watch several of the most popular films from the year you were born.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Have a Spa Day at Home</h2> <p>A luxurious bath is a staple of indoor winter relaxation, but you can do much more than just stretch out in a hot tub with a book. Why not treat yourself to a mani/pedi, deep condition your hair, exfoliate your skin, and give yourself a facial while you're at it? These are all <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-spa-treatments-you-can-do-at-home" target="_blank">spa treatments you can easily give yourself</a> at home without breaking the bank. You'll feel refreshed, and you'll be helping to protect your skin and hair from winter dryness.</p> <h2>3. Teach Yourself to Draw</h2> <p>You can probably remember spending hours at a time drawing when you were a child, but it's likely you haven't done so in a while. Pull out some pencils and paper, and you'll soon remember just how fun drawing is. Whether you simply find pictures online that you'd like to copy (which is how art students learn, after all), or you take the time to learn the <a href="https://design.tutsplus.com/articles/i-want-to-draw-simple-exercises-for-complete-beginners--vector-20583" target="_blank">fundamentals of drawing</a>, your reintroduction to being an artist can be a thrilling way to spend your indoor hours during winter. The key is to let go of any perfectionist tendencies and draw the things that feel the most fun to you, whether that's unicorns, chain saws, or chainsaw-wielding unicorns.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-ways-to-beat-stress?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Cheap Ways to Beat Stress</a></p> <h2>4. Bake Some Treats</h2> <p>Nothing is more homey than the smell of fresh-baked cookies. Even if you have never made anything more complex than slice-and-bake cookies, following the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate chips or oatmeal canister is an easy way to get started as a from-scratch baker.</p> <p>If you're willing to try other types of baking, the time you spend indoors on a long winter day is perfect for allowing bread dough or pizza dough to rise. There is something very satisfying about spending the day working on something you can eat and share with others.</p> <h2>5. Put Your Photos in Albums</h2> <p>Whether you have physical photos stored in old shoe boxes, or a computer full of photo files, a winter day spent indoors is the perfect time to organize your pictures into albums. It will be fun to walk down memory lane looking at your old photos, and you'll end the day with an enviable sense of accomplishment.</p> <h2>6. Have a Dance Party</h2> <p>You may be cooped up inside, but that doesn't mean you can't get some exercise in. Move your couch out of the way, turn on your favorite station on Spotify, and get down in your own private dance club. This is also the perfect time to learn how to do all of your favorite dance moves. Find some tutorials on YouTube and hone your moves at home.</p> <p>Finally, you probably still have that old Dance Dance Revolution video game and mat stashed somewhere. Dust them off and make your dance party an actual game challenge.</p> <h2>7. Break Out a Jigsaw Puzzle or Board Game</h2> <p>Whether you're rocking the snow day solo or with the whole family, you can have a lot of old-fashioned fun by dusting off a puzzle or board game.</p> <h2>8. Read by the Fire</h2> <p>One of my most cherished memories from my first house with my husband was the day I spent rereading <em>Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows</em> in the living room while snow fell just outside the windows beside me. There is something so cozy about curling up with a book on a cold day, especially if you are lucky enough to have a roaring fireplace next to you (not to mention a cup of hot chocolate).</p> <h2>9. Write a Letter</h2> <p>Receiving an actual letter in the mail is such a rare occurrence these days that we rarely think to sit down and write one ourselves. Taking the time to think of someone special you could write to and putting your thoughts into a handwritten note will make you (and them) feel great.</p> <h2>10. Take a Nap</h2> <p>Napping is one of life's pleasures, and adults don't often get to indulge. The only problem with napping is that it can sometimes leave you feeling groggier than you did beforehand. If you need to get anything done on your winter day inside (even if it's just making dinner later), then plan on following these <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323932604579050990895301888#project%3DSLEEP0902%26articleTabs%3Darticle" target="_blank">scientifically approved</a> tips:</p> <ul> <li>Aim for a nap during your natural energy slump in the afternoon. This is usually between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Thirty- to 60 minutes is the length of naps most likely to make you groggy after you wake up. Try to sleep either longer or shorter than 30-60 minutes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you don't have more than an hour, plan on a quick 10-20-minute snooze, which will leave you feeling awake and alert afterward.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you've got plenty of time to nap, a 90-minute siesta lets you go through a full sleep cycle, which will allow you to wake up easily and feel refreshed.</li> </ul> <h2>11. Catch Up With Friends and Family</h2> <p>Extroverts who might otherwise be climbing the walls on days they are stuck indoors now have many different ways to stay in touch with their nearest and dearest, no matter how frightful the weather might be. Phone calls, Skype, and FaceTime all give you the opportunity to connect, as do Facebook and Twitter. A day of nowhere-to-be is a great time to reach out to those you may have been thinking about but haven't had the time to connect with.</p> <h2>12. Rearrange Your Furniture</h2> <p>Not only does swapping your couch with that chair and moving your TV into a different corner help your home feel new and improved, it also gives you a chance to clean some neglected spots. It's likely that you'll unearth some stale Cheetos and pet hair tumbleweeds from beneath the couch, which you can easily sweep up when the couch is pulled away.</p> <p>While cleaning is no one's idea of fun, rearranging furniture can bring new life to a tired room &mdash; and you can't help but clean while you go. It's immensely satisfying to throw yourself down on your newly moved chair and enjoy the new layout in your much cleaner living room.</p> <h2>13. Create Music Playlists for Your Every Mood</h2> <p>Putting together mix tapes is getting to be a lost art, but you can recreate the fun by creating playlists of tunes you love on your favorite digital music provider.</p> <h2>14. Channel Your Inner Bartender or Barista</h2> <p>Being stuck at home doesn't mean you have to miss out on happy hour or your favorite elaborate coffee drink. Use your indoor time to learn how to mix your favorite cocktails or brew your favorite coffee treats. You can find recipes and video tutorials online.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors">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/50-fun-things-to-do-when-youre-stuck-inside-during-winter">50 Fun Things to Do When You&#039;re Stuck Inside During Winter</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/8-ways-to-make-your-weekend-feel-longer">8 Ways to Make Your Weekend Feel Longer</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/learn-to-love-winter-with-some-simple-self-deception">Mental Tricks That Will Help You Hate Winter Less</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/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle frugal fun fun activities rainy day rainy day activities SAD snow day stuck inside winter Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1898664 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10 http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-489243814.jpg" alt="Woman finding hobby she can start for under $10" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Exploring new hobbies and pastimes is a great way to feel better about yourself, develop new skills, and meet new people. Don't want to break the bank? You don't have to! Here's a long list of engaging, satisfying activities you can begin this year without spending much money. Most will set you back a mere $5 to $10. Better yet, a good majority of these activities are absolutely free.</p> <h2>1. Exercise</h2> <p>Getting fit is a common resolution each year. Make it your new go-to hobby to keep yourself more accountable. You can walk or run today for free. All you really need is to dust off that pair of athletic shoes in the back of your closet.</p> <p>Not the running type? Head over to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fitnessblender.com/" target="_blank">Fitness Blender</a> for a wealth of free online workouts you can do in the comfort of your own living room.</p> <h2>2. Join a Sports Team</h2> <p>Working out solo might not be your style. Check around to find out what local sports leagues or teams meet in your area. My neighbor spends her summers running the fields with an adult soccer team that costs very little to join. I used to attempt to spike in the sand in a free beach volleyball group a few years ago.</p> <p>You can browse sites like <a href="http://sportsvite.com/cities" target="_blank">Sportsvite</a> to find teams in your area.</p> <h2>3. Write</h2> <p>Do you have a story you're just waiting to tell the world? Try writing it down instead of running it over in your head. You can get into a writing habit by taking as little as 10 minutes each day to peck out a few sentences on your keyboard or in a notebook.</p> <p>Need more motivation? Check your local calendar to see if there are any nearby writing groups that meet on a regular basis. Or create your own!</p> <h2>4. Blog</h2> <p>I've been blogging for over 10 years now. It's my main hobby, and it even turned into a part-time career. All you need is access to a computer and a free account at a site like <a href="http://www.blogger.com" target="_blank">Blogger</a>. If you're having trouble getting started, try first brainstorming a few topics you'd like to cover. Do you want to share recipes? Your thoughts on current events? Experiment to see what gets your creative juices flowing, then push &quot;Publish,&quot; even if it's only for your friends to read.</p> <h2>5. Try Vlogging</h2> <p>Similar to blogging, vlogging lets you share with the world in a very personal way. You can sign up on YouTube for a free account before you film yourself. You don't need fancy recording equipment, either. Many phones have built-in video &nbsp;these days. YouTube features very basic editing tools as well.</p> <h2>6. Practice Photography</h2> <p>Speaking of phones &mdash; many of them also have built-in cameras that would put old point-and-shoots to shame. In other words: You don't need a DSLR to learn how to take gorgeous photos. The <a href="http://iphonephotographyschool.com/" target="_blank">iPhone Photography School</a> has tons of free videos with all sorts of tips and tricks.</p> <h2>7. Play a Musical Instrument or Sing</h2> <p>I resurrected my singing pipes a few years ago by joining the women's chorus in my neighborhood. A few years before that, I spent a few bucks getting my violin refurbished from my high school years to sit in the community orchestra.</p> <p>If you don't have an instrument at home already, consider asking a friend or relative if you can borrow theirs. My husband learned to play guitar last year by using my brother's spare guitar and watching tutorial videos he found online. You can also contact a local music shop to ask about rental prices.</p> <h2>8. Listen to Music</h2> <p>Don't have time to join a group? That's just fine and dandy. Why not listen to more music instead? I don't like to brag, but I can rap just like Daveed Diggs through <em>Hamilton</em>'s &quot;Guns and Ships.&quot; Switch on YouTube or Pandora or your radio to get free access to music right now.</p> <h2>9. Join Community Theater</h2> <p>Find out when your neighborhood's theater group is holding auditions for its next show. I just typed &quot;community theater in my area&quot; into Google and &mdash; within seconds &mdash; found the website for two local companies that cost nothing to join.</p> <p>Never acted in a play before? Don't fret. There are often lots of &quot;extras&quot; in shows, so you don't have to worry about the pressure of playing lead.</p> <h2>10. Take Up Gardening</h2> <p>It's never too early to plan for your garden. If you start now, it doesn't need to cost you a whole lot, either. Head to your local library or purchase your own copy of <a href="http://amzn.to/2lgYx7l" target="_blank">Square Foot Gardening</a>. Once you've drafted a loose plan, order seeds. <a href="http://dollarseed.com/" target="_blank">DollarSeed</a> boasts that you can order non-GMO and heirloom seeds for as little as $1 per pack.</p> <p>The bonus here is that you can hopefully enjoy the fruits of your labor with some cheap food once everything grows.</p> <h2>11. Practice Cooking and Baking</h2> <p>Even if you don't want to grow your own food, you can still cook and bake for a hobby (and for your everyday life). You don't need to spend more than you're already putting out for your groceries each week. Consult that cookbook that's been sitting on your bookshelf for several years or pick one up at the library.</p> <p>And if you don't want to buy specific ingredients, use what you have on hand! Sites like <a href="http://www.supercook.com/" target="_blank">SuperCook</a> give you tons of recipes you can search by the ingredients you already have in your pantry.</p> <h2>12. Become a Juggler</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kCt1bmSASCI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Join the other 2.4 million people who have watched this video on how to juggle on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCt1bmSASCI" target="_blank">YouTube</a>. You can snag an inexpensive set of&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/2lgWSiu" target="_blank">three juggling balls</a> for less than $6 on Amazon.</p> <h2>13. Enjoy Some Adult Coloring Books</h2> <p>De-stress and express yourself through coloring. By now, you may have seen all the awesome adult coloring books floating around everywhere. In fact, you can even get some cool ones on the cheap at the Dollar Store. Consider investing in some nice <a href="http://amzn.to/2kAHgHj" target="_blank">colored pencils</a> that give you a variety of shades from which to choose.</p> <h2>14. Try Drawing</h2> <p>Rather not color inside the lines? Drawing is another free activity you can try. Even kids can get in on the action. My five-year-old daughter loves following along with different projects on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/ArtforKidsHub" target="_blank">Art for Kids Hub</a>.</p> <h2>15. Try Knitting</h2> <p>If making a scarf sounds appealing to you, take a few bucks to your nearest craft store and pick up supplies to start knitting. A basic pair of knitting needles may cost you as little as $4. Yarn ranges in price depending on material, but acrylic is great to learn on and won't set you back more than a couple dollars. You can find many <a href="http://knitting.about.com/od/learntoknit/u/learntoknit.htm" target="_blank">tutorials and patterns</a> online for free.</p> <p>The same goes with many other crafts. Here's a tip: Before driving to the store to pick up supplies, check online to see if there are any coupons. Many chains, like Michael's and A.C. Moore offer regular coupons for 40% off.</p> <h2>16. Play Games</h2> <p>Like playing games? Grab your chess board or deck of cards from the closet and enjoy with a friend. It's that simple. If you cannot find someone to play with you, consider heading online to a site like <a href="http://www.addictinggames.com/" target="_blank">Addicting Games</a>, where you can engage in either solo or multiplayer games for free.</p> <h2>17. Go Hiking</h2> <p>The great outdoors is calling you. Slip on some sturdy shoes and go for a hike. This is another one of those hobbies that you can do with others in a club (just search your area calendar). The <a href="https://americanhiking.org/" target="_blank">American Hiking Society</a> has all sorts of information that can help you get started &mdash; including volunteer opportunities that may land you free vacations with like-minded naturalists.</p> <h2>18. Go Camping</h2> <p>Camping is a wonderful way to take a trip somewhere beautiful without going broke. Spend some time planning now for a great summer adventure. Staying a week is only $160 at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camping-for-a-week-is-only-160-at-these-national-parks" target="_blank"> various National Parks</a>&nbsp;throughout the United States.</p> <h2>19. Try Volunteering</h2> <p>You can also take up helping others for a new and rewarding hobby. Ask around to find good opportunities in your area. The church down the street from us has a soup kitchen every Friday, for example. Or check out sites like <a href="http://www.volunteermatch.org/" target="_blank">Volunteer Match</a> to find open spots online.</p> <h2>20. Get Couponing</h2> <p>Why not save money in the new year with a couponing habit? All it has to cost you is the price of a Sunday paper. Or maybe less! There are also several apps that show price-matching and price comparisons at multiple stores at once. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a>)</p> <h2>21. Practice Yoga or Meditation</h2> <p>One of my goals for the new year is to center myself. I run on a very nervous energy level. Yoga and meditation can help with that. Both involve deep breathing. And both are easy and free to begin at home. <a href="http://yogawithadriene.com/" target="_blank">Yoga with Adriene</a> is my favorite spot to find a variety of calming moves for zero dollars. The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has a good number of <a href="http://marc.ucla.edu/mindful-meditations" target="_blank">free guided meditations</a> and visualization exercises.</p> <h2>22. Become a History Buff</h2> <p>I've become obsessed with Broadway's <em>Hamilton</em>. Not just the musical, either. I've spent hours researching George Washington and the other founding fathers. The best part? I can do all this sleuthing around for free. Think of a historical figure, a period of time, or issue that interests you. Then search the Internet or your local library to find out more.</p> <p>For a more passive immersion, consider browsing documentaries on Netflix or Hulu and making a gigantic queue of the ones that interest you. Or check out <em>Drunk History</em>, also on Hulu.</p> <h2>23. Read More Books</h2> <p>Reading is free activity &mdash; at least if you have a library card &mdash; but it takes motivation. Consider writing out a list of a book to read each month to keep yourself in motion. You may even try starting a theme-based book club with your friends. Set a time to meet, write up the reading list, and read. Then rotate who hosts the book discussion each month (and be sure to involve lots of tasty treats and good beverages).</p> <h2>24. Try Some Upcycling DIY Projects</h2> <p>Click over to Pinterest and find an unlimited number of do-it-yourself projects you can finish by upcycling your old stuff. We have a great list of 18 awesome, practically free <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects" target="_blank">upcycled craft projects</a> to get you inspired.</p> <h2>25. Learn a New Language</h2> <p>A friend of mine spent last winter visiting her grandmother each week for Italian language lessons. She learned how to say hello, thank you, and a host of other practical phrases &mdash; and got some quality time with her beloved Nonna to boot.</p> <p>If you don't know anyone who speaks another language, you can also check out sites like <a href="https://www.duolingo.com/" target="_blank">Duolingo</a> to learn online for free.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">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/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/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/15-frugal-ways-to-battle-boredom">15 Frugal Ways to Battle Boredom</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/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</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/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date">How Much Should You Actually Be Spending on a Date?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle $10 or less frugal fun fun fun things to do hobbies pastimes things to do weekend activities Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1889318 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Frugal Winter Activities to Keep Kids Busy During Holiday Break http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-winter-activities-to-keep-kids-busy-during-holiday-break <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-frugal-winter-activities-to-keep-kids-busy-during-holiday-break" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-607926786.jpg" alt="frugal, fun ways to keep kids entertained over winter break" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are your kids counting down the days to winter break? While it might be a much needed vacation for your children, it can be stressful for parents. Not only do you want to keep the kids entertained, or at least engaged with something other than electronics, but you also want to do it on a budget.</p> <p>Here are a few ideas to make the most of winter break without spending too much money.</p> <h2>1. Volunteer</h2> <p>The holiday season is filled with wants. Children and teens are bombarded with ads, so it is only natural for them to have a huge list of wants for the holiday season. Help them refocus on what truly matters this season by seeking out volunteer opportunities. Local animal shelters and homeless shelters are a good place to start. You can also help elderly neighbors meet their needs, such as hanging Christmas lights or making them a meal.</p> <p>Volunteering is a great bonding experience for you and your child, and it also helps your child to meet others who are in need. It helps them realize that there is more to this season than the latest toy or gadget.</p> <h2>2. Go on a Nature Walk</h2> <p>Kids of all ages can enjoy a nature walk, especially if you have a goal in mind. I recently took my little ones for a nature walk to collect twigs and pine cones that I can incorporate in my holiday décor. Encourage kids to do the same, and make crafts or décor out of found goods.</p> <h2>3. Try a Kid Exchange</h2> <p>If you are feeling a little overwhelmed with your kids for the holiday break, chances are you are not alone. Find a family that has children in similar age groups of your own and propose to exchange nights. You can host a fun sleepover one night, and the other family can host a fun sleepover the next night. This will keep your children entertained for two nights, while giving you a night off. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-5-hidden-costs-of-winter?ref=seealso">How to Avoid These 5 Hidden Costs of Winter</a>)</p> <h2>4. Attend Local Plays</h2> <p>Many local theaters put on winter or children's performances during the holidays. Look for discounted or free shows to enjoy as a family.</p> <h2>5. Create a Holiday Library Scavenger Hunt</h2> <p>A trip to the library is free, but can sometimes leave kids complaining. Step up your library trip by making it into a game. Make a quick list of books your kids need to find to earn points. For example, have your kids find some of the following:</p> <ul> <li>A nonfiction kids' book about Christmas;</li> <li>A magazine with winter crafts;</li> <li>A book with the word &quot;Santa&quot; in it;</li> <li>A book with the word &quot;Snowflake&quot; in it;</li> <li>A book to learn about another culture's winter traditions;</li> <li>A funny holiday book.</li> </ul> <p>You can have your kids either write down the titles or check them out for some fun holiday reading.</p> <h2>6. Do Some Cookie Decorating</h2> <p>If the thought of baking cookies from scratch makes you break out in hives, relax! You can buy pre-made dough and some cookie decorating supplies for less than $10. Kids love to decorate cookies, and it can easily keep them occupied for up to an hour. For younger children, put frosting on a plate with a plastic knife, and give them a small cup of sprinkles, instead of the whole container. Listen to a holiday audiobook while you decorate for even more fun.</p> <h2>7. Camp in Your Living Room</h2> <p>Camping outside is out of the question if you live in cooler climates. However, a camp night in your living room will be something your kids remember for years to come. Either set up a tent or make your own tent out of chairs and blankets. Make s'mores on the stove and play fun campfire games, such as Name That Tune or Winking Assassin. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-awesome-staycations-you-should-take-before-winter-ends">5 Awesome Staycations You Should Take Before Winter Ends</a>)</p> <h2>8. Put on a Show</h2> <p>Tell your kids that you will be hosting a talent show with prizes before family movie night. This will hopefully motivate them to spend time practicing their talent before show time. That actual talent show will be a fun family moment that everyone can partake in before settling down to a movie. Don't forget to record the show for priceless memories.</p> <h2>9. Host a Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt</h2> <p>When you're a kid, there is no such thing as too many scavenger hunts. Fill mugs full of hot chocolate and pile everyone in the car for a fun Christmas light outing. You can either just drive around looking for Christmas lights or make it a game with a scavenger hunt.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-winter-activities-to-keep-kids-busy-during-holiday-break">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-3"> <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/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</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-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy">8 Reasons the Easter Bunny Should Give Money Instead of Candy</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/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</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/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals">Should Your Kids Contribute to Family Money Goals?</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/how-to-save-money-on-kids-activities">How to Save Money on Kids&#039; Activities</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family family time frugal fun fun activities fun for kids holiday activities holiday break kids winter activities Tue, 13 Dec 2016 11:30:06 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1853169 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-4"> <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/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors">14 Fun Ways to Spend a Snow Day Indoors</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/6-ways-it-pays-to-stay-single">6 Ways It Pays to Stay Single</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/6-terrible-money-moves-to-avoid-on-the-first-date">6 Terrible Money Moves to Avoid on the First 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/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</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/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master">23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master</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/30-free-ways-to-cheer-yourself-up">30 Free Ways to Cheer Yourself Up</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-76-new-years-resolutions-thatll-make-2017-your-year">Flashback Friday: 76 New Year&#039;s Resolutions That&#039;ll Make 2017 Your Year</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/17-reasons-to-look-forward-to-2017">17 Reasons to Look Forward to 2017</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-easy-to-keep-new-years-resolutions-that-really-pay-off">15 Easy to Keep New Year&#039;s Resolutions That Really Pay Off</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-6"> <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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-your-weekend-feel-longer">8 Ways to Make Your Weekend Feel Longer</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/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors">14 Fun Ways to Spend a Snow Day Indoors</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-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/8-ways-to-make-your-weekend-feel-longer">8 Ways to Make Your Weekend Feel Longer</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-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-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/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors">14 Fun Ways to Spend a Snow Day Indoors</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-8"> <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/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</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/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes</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/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-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/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