When you take a look at your monthly household budget, how much are you actually spending on entertainment? If it looks like a lot, then you are probably allotting too much of your household maintenance funds on activities that keep you entertained.
Although there is absolutely nothing wrong in going out on family dinners or brunches at nice restaurants or paying prime dollar for tickets to blockbuster movies once in a while, it also would not hurt to limit your spending in this aspect. The good news is that there are plenty of free ways to entertain yourself at home, which we will enumerate here.
This Year, Challenge Yourself to Spend Less on Entertainment
If you’re not the type to monitor the ins and outs of your household expenses, now is as good a time to start as any. The year is just beginning and you can add to your list of resolutions an item like this: “Spend less money on entertainment”. This involves lowering your budget when eating out, going to the mall, doing crafts projects, watching movies, etc.
You can even challenge yourself and limit your budget on food. Instead of paying for pizza delivery, create a meal out of the ingredients that you already have at home. Not only will you save money, but you will also eat healthier.
It’s fun to add a few rules on how you can meet the challenge of spending less on entertainment. For instance, nobody should make a run to the convenience store to buy extra food so you can only consume what you have in the pantry.
If you abide by these rules, you can stick to the challenge of spending less on entertainment. But what are you supposed to do to occupy your time? Read on to find out.
Things to Occupy Your Time with Minus the Need to Spend
If you find yourself sweating at the mere thought of not spending any money during the weekend, don’t fret! There are actually a lot of free ways to entertain yourself while at home.
Aside from not having to spend a lot of money or not spending anything at all, there are extra perks to doing such activities, which we will enumerate here:
Activity: Tending to your garden
Hours required: One hour or more, during the cooler part of the afternoon.
Benefit: You can grow your own food and have beautiful surroundings.
The number one thing that you can do to entertain yourself while at home without having to spend any money is tending to your garden. Of course, you initially have to buy the seeds and the garden soil as well as other gardening tools. But once you already have these items on hand, you can spend practically hours growing your garden.
Take your pick from plants which are ornamental, herbal or flowering. If you grow edible plants, you can have a supply of fresh herbs that you can use while cooking.
You can even whip up a salad without having to run to the grocery store to stock up on greens. Aside from growing your own food, you can also have more beautiful surroundings. Don’t worry if there is no extra space in your house or apartment for an elaborate garden – even vertical gardens or potted plants on window sills would do.
Activity: Organizing your room
Hours required: Half a day or more.
Benefit: You can feel refreshed whenever you walk into your room to rest and relax.
When was the last time that you organized your room? Whether you’re a college student or an adult who has a bunch of paperwork from ages ago stocked up on your filing cabinet, it is never too late to organize your things. Get rid of documents which are three years or older – except for the important ones that should be kept on file.
Rearrange your furniture, get rid of clutter, clean the windows and do a general cleaning of all the parts of the room. Doing so will give you that refreshed feeling once you lay down on your bed at night, knowing that all your things are organized.
Activity: Conduct an at-home spa session
Hours required: Two hours or more.
Benefit: You will feel and look great afterwards!
If you have a bunch of female friends, have them come over for an at-home spa party. Light up some scented candles and have the girls bring beauty product samples.
By indulging in these natural beauty treatments that you can all do right in the comfort of your own home, you would not have to spend a penny. Not only that, but you will also look and feel great afterwards. Isn’t that an excellent way to pass the time?
Activity: Listen to podcasts or take online courses
Hours required: Two hours or more, on a weekly basis.
Benefit: You will learn something new without having to enroll in school.
When you visit the Podcast section of the iTunes store, there are high-quality audio programs that you can download or listen to for free. One example is The Splendid Table where you can learn about food; Speaking of Faith which is a podcast about religion; This Week in Tech where you can listen to technology-related news; and Marketplace which is all about economics and business.
Another option is for you to visit MIT’s OpenCourseWare. Through it, you can look for a topic that you are interested in and download MP3 files of lectures on the subject.
Listen and learn while doing your household chores. Some of the subjects which you can learn the basics are philosophy, economics, Western philosophy and Physics. The iTunes store also has the “iTunes U” section which stands for iTunes University, offering free courses on a bunch of topics.
Activity: Catch up on your reading of binge on watching one TV series episode after another
Hours required: Two hours or more.
Benefit: You can use the activity as an excuse to be a couch potato or simply hog the bed.
When you have nothing else to do on the weekend and you would not want to spend any extra money on home entertainment, the best thing to do is catch up on your reading.
You should have a title or two of books which are lying around somewhere, always unread. Reading a book stimulates the imagination and is one of the best, free ways to pass the time.
If you have already read all the titles in your home library, swap your existing books with a friend or download free new e-books through the Amazon store for your Kindle; iTunes for your iPad or iPhone; and Google Play for your Android device. Make sure that you have a good document reader app so you can easily flip through the pages.
You can also catch up on the episodes of your favorite HBO series, medical drama or sitcom. Instead of watching one new episode every week, most people actually prefer binge-watching their favorite shows all in one sitting. This is a fun, great way to pass the time.
Activity: Learn a new recipe
Hours required: One or two hours.
Benefit: Once you perfect the recipe, you can add it to your cooking arsenal.
Whether you’re into baking or whipping up gourmet dishes, you can always take the time to learn a new recipe. Bring out your mom’s index card of recipes or go online to download some. Using the ingredients that you already have in your kitchen, you can whip up meals and improve your cooking or baking skills.
Activity: Gather the kids around to play board games
Hours required: Two to three hours.
Benefit: You can use the activity as a way to bond with the kids.
If you’re a couple with young or teenage kids, use your moneyless weekend to play board games. Bring out the board games that you have in the library or attic.
Teach the children the rules of the game, and you should have endless hours of fun engaging in the activity. This helps stimulate the minds of children and adults, while also serving as the perfect bonding activity for kids and parents.
Hours required: One hour or more.
Benefit: You can turn something that’s about to be thrown away into an item that’s more useful and beautiful.
Finally, there are lots of sites that you can visit which will teach you how to upcycle. This activity involves turning old items found in the house into something new and exciting.
For instance, you can turn old wine bottles into a breath taking chandelier if you have the right tools. Instead of buying expensive scent diffusers, you can turn bamboo skewers and essential oils into a DIY home fragrance. Sew together old t-shirts into a blanket, skirt or bag. The list of how you can upcycle ordinary things that can be found inside the house is practically endless.
Just use your imagination and you can surely come up with other free ways to entertain yourself at home.