Happiness, Hobbies, and Money: Frugal Activities That Take Us Happy (WMW13)
This post is a part of Women’s Money Week, make sure you stop by and check out loads of other great posts!
What makes you happy? Do you feel like you have to spend money to be happy? What about your family and friends, do they think they can only be happy spending money? My kids are still really little (3.5 years old, and 1.5 years old), and luckily, it doesn’t take much to make them happy. And for the most part, my husband and I don’t have to spend money to be happy either. Here are some fun activities we do that make us happy, and don’t cost a lot of money:
Movies – Watching movies makes us all happy! My husband is a big movie nerd, we even attempted to watch all the big Oscar movies one year, over a few weeks, in the theatres (not frugal!) but now, that is an expense we cannot afford. Instead, we take movies out from the library (FOR FREE!). We visit the library each week, and the kids select DVDs, and my husband and I will pick a Blu-ray or two to watch. It’s a free activity that my kids look forward to each week (they also pick lots of books for bedtime stories), and it’s free. We also have Netflix, which is a much cheaper option than paying for movies through your cable provider. Of course, you do have to wait a little longer to see the new movies, but that’s fine with us.
Video Games – These can get expensive. This is mostly my husbands hobby, but naturally, my son is starting to love them too. My husband has every video games system from his childhood, and the games to go with them! We have a pretty awesome collection in our basement, that is worth a far chunk of change, which also means it cost us a fair bit too. My husband is very smart though and only buys the older games second hand from thrift stores! He also sells any duplicate games, or ones he wouldn’t want the kids playing. He only buys games when he sells them, which keeps this hobby from taking over our budget. We also saved up points on our credit card to buy a Wii U (which you can read about here).
Food – Food makes me so very happy! I love eating it, but I love cooking for others even more. I love seeing how happy my family is when they are eating something I made. And I love the challenge of creating a delicious and healthy menu on a budget. Taking simple ingredients, that are of course on sale, and turning them into a fancy meal is so much fun! Being a “foodie” doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. I am a big Jamie Oliver fan, and his approach to cooking is fantastic. He creates meals that are simple to make, use everyday ingredients, yet present really well. I even got to meet him once, check out some of his recipes to spruce up your cooking!
Baking – I treat this separate to the above food category, because for me it is an activity, not a necessity like cooking dinner. I love baking, and I love getting my kids involved in it. My son loves helping stir and dump ingredients in the bowl, and of course eating our creations. It’s a great way to kill an afternoon, and it’s a learning activity as well. Sure, he is a little young to understand fractions, but ask him what goes in a batch of brownies and he’ll list off every single ingredient! And it doesn’t have to be expensive, most of my baking creations are “free” because I am only using ingredients that are pantry staples, or using up bananas that were about to go bad.
Vacations – Getting away from the everyday grind is needed, but spending 1000s on a getaway isn’t necessary. Sure, laying on a beach for a week with a tropical drink in hand sounds wonderful right about now, but maybe there is a beach nearby you can visit in the summer. Have you ever taken a staycation? I bet there are lots of touristy things to do in your very own city or town that you have been meaning to do. Or what about camping? Tents aren’t for everyone, so maybe renting an RV is more your style. Maybe you could take a road trip to find the best burger joints in your area, or go hiking for a day in a provincial/state park. If you feel like you really need to get away right now, take a small day trip, and start saving to take a bigger vacation later.
What do you do that is fun and makes you happy, but doesn’t cost you a lot of money?