25 Inexpensive Ways To Have Fun


Sadly, one of the first things to go during a recession is the entertainment budget. The cost of movies is out of the stratosphere these days. Baseball and other pro-sports events are even worse. Vacations for many people are simply out of the question. Who can afford these activities when money is so tight?

Yet we all need some fun, joy, and entertainment  in our lives. We all need R&R to survive. What’s a person to do?

Well, the good news is , having fun is not synonymous with spending a lot of money. Just because money is tight doesn’t mean you have to forego having fun. There are lots of ways to have fun on a tight budget.

25 Inexpensive Ways To Have Fun

1. Meal Night  

Everyone in the family makes one course for the evening meal.

2. Talent Show 

Everyone performs something: a song; No ifs, and, or buts. Even the family pet. You can do a dance, recite a poem, imitate someone famous, tells jokes, or recite a speech such as the Gettysburg Address. Put together some costumes. Make a stage area. Wear the costumes. Write up a program to distribute to everyone. Make it look professional by using a computer and add decorations and art work, even pictures. Invite the neighbors.

3. Play Board Games

Clue, Parcheesi, Monopoly, Scrabble, Aggravation are some of my favorites. What board games do you like?

4. Play Card Games

Gin Rummy, War, Old Maid, Hearts, War, Go Fish, Uno to name a few.

5. Play Outdoor Games

Blindman’s Bluff, Red Rover, Hide and Seek, Tag, Jump rope, Frisbee, Fly a Kite

6. Go on a Picnic

Pack a picnic lunch and head to a local or state park. While there take a hike and identify trees, bird watch, identify flowers and insects. Create books on what you see with drawings and descriptions with date and time.

7. Take a Waking Tour of Your City

Discover the history of your city and more.

8. Throw a Block Party

9. Have a Scavenger Hunt – family or neighborhood

10. Start a Family Scrapbook

11. Volunteer

At a hospital, a homeless shelter, or an animal shelter.

12. Go to a Flea Market or Go Antiquing

You don’t have to buy anything. Sometimes just walking around and looking at everything can be a barrel of laughs. And then sometimes you may find a really good bargain.

13. Work Crossword Puzzles Together

14. Start a Vegetable Garden or a Flower Garden

A vegetable garden to help save on your grocery bill, and a flower garden to feed your soul.

15. Have a Family Read-a-Book-Out-Loud Night

Read one chapter a night. Let everyone who can read have a chance to read.

16. Support a Local Sports Team

Much less expensive than pro-sports. Enroll children in Little League or other sports programs. And attend the games to watch your children.

17. Children can join Brownies, Boy Scouts, or Girl Scout

18. Rent a Movie Night

Much cheaper than the theater. Better yet, go to your local public library. Many have videos and CDs of many titles. The movies there are FREE.

19. Discover the Library

Lots of books. Many have children’s reading clubs in the summer, many have Story Telling Hour. Check out your library. There are many free things  and programs for both children and adults at your local public library. Also, don’t buy magazines, you can get them for FREE at the library.

20. Take up Star-Gazing

You can get books at your local library on what to look for in the night sky. If you have an Observatory near you they may have free or inexpensive programs as well. Pair this activity with a Family Night Camping In Your Own Backyard. Have a cookout that night. Build the tents together out of old blankets or sheets. Tell scary stories by flashlight. And laugh a lot.

21. City Activities

Many cities have free concerts in the park and other free or low cost activities such as art fairs, jazz festivals, various parades throughout out the year.

22. Go to a Museum, Science Center, or the Zoo

Look for days with half-price tickets or some times even free entrance.

23. Have a “Remember When” Night

Share old records, old CD’s, old pictures, old clothes, old toys.

24. Have a Garage Sale

Family or neighborhood. Make a little money on all those old things you no longer need.

25. Jig Saw Puzzle

Work it as a family. Really a great activity during a winter snowstorm.

OK. OK!! So I can’t count. Below are three additional ideas for you.

26. Family Car Wash Day

Wonderful way too cool off on a hot summer day. Set up a business for the neighborhood and earn some pocket money.

27. Make Crafts

There are many crafts that you can make inexpensively. Pick up how-to books at the library or look in the library’s magazines.

28. Go Fishing

What ideas can you add to this list? Share them in the comments section below.

Featured Recipe      Quick Weeknight Roast Beef Dinner

I usually try to eat fresh foods. Many packaged foods just do not pass the taste test for me, no matter their color.   

But sometimes life is just super busy,  and on those days convenience foods are a God-send.  Today’s recipe takes a convenience food and pairs it with lots of fresh vegetables to come up with a quick and easy week night meal.

I got this idea from a recipe in a magazine. Sorry, I do not know which magazine. But that recipe was a bit too bland for me anyway, and only used potatoes and carrots with the beef. So I played around with it and came up with this. It is much prettier.

And best of all it is super inexpensive.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

1 -17 ounce package refrigerated cooked roast beef in au jus

1 pound small potatoes

2 large carrots

2 tomatoes

¼ pound green beans

2 cloves garlic

Peel from 1 lemon

3 or 4 sprigs of thyme

2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Olive oil [Oooooppps! not pictured]


Here is what you do:

Prep all of your vegetable. Begin by washing them. You will also need to peel the carrots. I do not peel the potatoes.

If the potatoes are not all the same size cut the larger ones in half or in quarters to make them all nearly the same size.

Peel the carrots and cut on the diagonal. I don’t do a very good job cutting on the diagonal. It is that whole 5th grade scissors thingie.

Carrots poorly cut on the diagonal.

Cut the tomatoes into quarters. I used Roma tomatoes. You can use any tomatoes you like.

Cut ends off beans. 

Peel the garlic.

Using a channel zester zest the lemon rind. 

NOTE: A lot of this can be done the night before. You can wash everything. The carrots can be peeled and cut, same for the beans. If potatoes need to be cut I would not do that the night before. I would not cut tomatoes the night before or peel the garlic or zest lemon the night before either.

When all of the vegetables are ready place the meat in a large pan. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, place the potatoes in a microwave safe bowl, drizzle some olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons) over the potatoes. Add pepper if using. Toss with your fingers to coat all of the potatoes with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for about 3-5 minutes depending on size of the potatoes.

Remove the potatoes and add the carrots to the bowl. Drizzle with bit of oil if necessary and more pepper if you wish. Place in the microwave and on high for about 3 -5 minutes. If these are finished before the meat is ready take the plastic wrap off and set aside.

After the 10 minutes are up check on the meat. You should be able to “cut” it into chunks. I “cut” the meat with a spatula while still in the pan.

Using a garlic press add the garlic to the meat and mix in well. Cover and cook about 5 minutes. When you remove that lid it will smell deliciously of garlic!!!! Oh be still my heart!!

Then add the tomatoes, green beans, and the thyme leaves (peel off with your fingers) cover and cook for about 5 minutes more. Doesn’t that look insanely pretty. The colors are beautiful!! So bright and lively!!

While you are  waiting for the tomatoes and beans to cook, chop the parsley.

When the tomatoes and green beans are warmed through but still crisp tender [You can tell this by the color. The colors will still be bright and vivid.]   add the potatoes and carrots. Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes. Even more pretty colors now!

Last, sprinkle the parsley and lemon peel over the dish and…………

………serve with a  a crusty hunk of bread with butter and a salad. As delicious a meal in under 30 minutes you will ever find!

Bon Appetit!!!!


1 -17 ounce pck roast beef              $4.99

1 pound small potatoes                   $1.50

2 large carrots                               $0.30

2 tomatoes                                    $0.62

¼ pound green beans                     $0.47

2 cloves garlic                                $0.10

Peel from 1 lemon                          $0.33*

3 or 4 sprigs of thyme                     $0.10

2-3 tbspn chopped parsley              $0.04

Olive oil                                         $0.36


Total cost = $8.81
Cost per person = $2.20

*Just using the peel here, so you can use juice later in the week, getting double duty out of this $0.33.

 Quote of the Day

I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day.

Rosa Parks


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