Have you fallen into the trap of thinking you have to spend money to have fun? Has going out to eat become the default choice for getting out of the house? When you get home, sit on the potty and have a great big poop (can you hear the sound of your money being flushed down the toilet?), do you think about how much more that money could be doing for you if you’d saved just half of it?
So many of the things we love to do cost money. Sometimes big money. We go to the movies and drop a hundred bucks. We go to a concert and drop another couple of hundred. We head out to the theatre, the symphony, the ballet and money disappears for tickets, a meal before or after, a baby-sitter, and parking. Even when we head off to a friend’s house, we take flowers and a hostess gift or a bottle or two of wine.
Hey, I’m all for having a swell time, as long as you’ve got your savings bases covered. But if you’re compromising your savings because you think you have to spend money to really enjoy your friends, think again.
Harken back, if you will, to The Good Ol’ Days, when people had Basket Parties; everyone bought something to eat, and they all shared. They spent loads of time together, laughing, having fun, and it cost no more than feeding themselves dinner at home that night. Friends got together for Poker Night (and played with toothpicks or match-sticks, not money). People sat around talking about the music they liked, the books the read and the crap their kids were doing. People enjoyed each other.
Whatever happened to having fun by being together? And why does having loads of fun have to come with a hefty price tag? After all, whether you’re playing cards with friends, hosting a pot-luck or taking advantage of free events in your community, you can have a blast without dropping a bundle.
Many communities have websites that list free events. Google your community name plus “free event”. Check local community papers. Take up bird-watching, star-gazing, or marathon-running. Make friends with people who have similar interest that don’t involve spending money.
Looking for things to do with the kids? A lot of museums have a free admission day once per month. Call your local museums and inquire. Some theatre companies offer “pay what you can” performances. Or you can check to see if there’s a “dress rehearsal” rate. And for truly life-enriching experiences, volunteer your time.
Some of that money you used to spend to have a great time can now be redirected to your educational savings, retirement savings or emergency savings account where it’ll last past the next flush of the toilet!