Hobbies and entertainment don’t need to cost a lot of money (although some definitely do), if you’re flexible, think outside the box and look at all your options it is amazing what you can find for free or very cheap.
Today for the 21 Day Money Challenge, find things you enjoy doing that don’t cost a lot or are free and write a list to have them handy when you want something to do but don’t want to spend $200+ on a night out. Also, look for ways to either save money with the hobbies you do have or make money from them.
What you want to do to entertain yourself will vary. Personally, we walk and explore our area a lot. My kids love playing Pokemon Go, there is great street art, little festival and lots of free entertainment where we live now. Use your library too. Borrow books, DVD’s, toys, participate in classes and see what else they have on. Libraries are a wonderful resource that we don’t use enough anymore!
Here are a few suggestions for things on your own, as a family and for dates.
Look for festivals and free entertainment in your area
Most cities have free events from festivals to pilates in the park run by locals. Research the free entertainment in your area, make a list and choose what you want to do. Check the local tourism website or look for blogs focused on the area. I lived in Canberra for a while and here are 9 free things to do there.
Meetup and Facebook groups
Do a search for your hobbies and interests on Meetup and Facebook to find groups of like minded people and join in. Many have free membership and free entertainment, meet ups or events.
Events On Facebook
Check the events section on Facebook for things your friends are going, suggested events for you, festivals and more in your area or the area you are visiting. You can find a lot of free fun this way. One of my local meetup groups gets free tickets to comedy clubs.
Check out blog and social media giveaways. Bloggers and influencers often have tickets to events such as Disney on Ice, the circus, zoo, theme parks, theatre and all sorts of attractions to give away to their readers.
Coupons And Discounts
If you want to go out for dinner, head to the movies or do anything that is going to cost money, look for coupons and discounts first. Here are 10 ways to get them in Australia, along with vip and loyalty programs to get more discounts.
Combine With Others
Connect with other families, couples or groups and do things like pot luck dinners, picnics at the park or bulk buy tickets to things you want to do and get a discount.
Dates don’t need to be expensive. When I was married, we didn’t do dates. Prior to marriage it was often things like movies, dinner etc. I grew up Mormon so different to ‘regular’ dating in the sense there is no sex before marriage, generally, he paid or he expected to pay (even though I often offered), it was expected we’d look for frugal fun etc. Since I’ve been divorced, I have been horrified, the dating scene is not for me! I did date a guy for a while but now I am content hanging out with my best friend and am not looking for anything.
Whether you are single or married, there are 25 free and cheap ideas here you can check out. Mostly, look for free entertainment, use coupons or split the bill.
How you save money on hobbies will vary depending on what they are. My daughters do Auskick which is free in our area (not all clinics are free). They have a boot program so boots only cost $10 and my daughters have had the opportunity to train with Carlton Football Club (as in the professional AFL players) twice and they played half time at Etihad Stadium at a Geelong vs Carlton game, which was super exciting since we go for Geelong, I was the only mum who got to go on the field with them plus my parents and one of my sisters came down to Melbourne for the game.
What are your hobbies? Can they be done cheaper?
I used to sew a lot. I bought fabric on sale or at second-hand shops. I sold some of the things I made plus made gifts, both of these things made this hobby pay for itself.
My daughters loved rock climbing. We got to do it a bit for free thanks to my sister who worked there, my sister also got my daughter her harness which will grow with her and saved me money there.
Hobbies also help you create a community of friends, give you something to do, help with your health and mental well-being. Growing up, my dad played AFL. The connections he had from the footy club meant we got free or reduced food, he had friends help renovate the house, we bartered things and the club was a community. It also gave the family something to do together plus dad got paid to play and coach which helped pay for the mortgage.
Think about your hobby. If it is hard to afford, is there a way you can reduce the expense such as buying necessary items second hand, being part of the committee for the club, helping fundraise and things like that to reduce your fees. I think hobbies are important for your overall health and mental well-being so try to work them into your budget.
My hobbies and how I save money with them, including travel
My number 1 hobby/form of entertainment is travel. I love to travel, explore, discover new things and thankfully, I have a best friend with the same desire plus my kids have been taught to travel from a young age. I made a career for myself where we get to travel, as has my bestie, but we do it in different ways which complement each other.
He is a photographer, videographer, public speaker, and marketer. I do marketing, public speaking, multiple blogs, influencer programs, have MC’d festivals and more. We got to see the total solar eclipse in Indonesia last year, stay in hotels around Australia, were part of the 2014 Visit Canberra tourism campaign which meant we got to eat, see and do everything! (This was how we met). Before we moved to Melbourne, we had a weekend where we went in a hot air balloon, helicopter, rode horses and swam with dolphins. Originally pitched to me as the option to pick one experience up to $100, I negotiated to get all that for all 4 of us.
When we speak at events or get pitched by a brand to do work, we offer packages including both of us (and the kids) so we can do it together and expand the benefits for the brand. We’ve tailored our lives to work with our hobbies and passions.
Not everyone can do this, but I have shared 29 ways to make money travelling, even as a family, you might be interested in.
We are into AFL and get free tickets, my kids play and this has meant we do this as a family plus get free tickets through them for professional games.
I had a hobby of writing, which also turned into a business with blogging, freelance writing and becoming an author. You can read about how to set up a blog and make money here or check out how to get into freelance writing here.
Lastly, I do love the 1920s and 1950s type entertainment. There is a Speakeasy near us I like to go to which does vaudeville (lots of short acts) just like the 1920s. They’ve had dress up parties and special events we’ve been to and love it. I’ve also hosted similar parties where friends and family dress up, we eat food from that era, have music, entertainment etc. The kids love it.