One of the areas I cut back on when I changed my lifestyle was my “entertainment” budget. This was the money I allocated to myself on a monthly basis for entertainment throughout the month. Being on a tight budget, it was one of the first areas that had to go. So I started to look for ways to do the things that I enjoyed for less or by finding alternative frugal entertainment ideas which cost little or no money.

As the month’s progressed I found that with a little bit of work and creativity, I really didn’t need that much money to do the things that I enjoyed.  For anyone who going through a similar thing, I would recommend writing a list of things which you enjoy doing and then try to find ways to do them for free or with very little money.

Here’s my top 10 frugal entertainment ideas:

  1. Reading – I love books and being able to read books for free from the library is amazing. I also get free books on my kindle, if you have a kindle search for free kindle books on amazon and loads come up. I also pick books up from jumble sales and car boot sales or swap events. I keep a list of books that I would like to read and then search for them when I’m out.
  2. Coffee Shops – I used to love spending an hour or two in a coffee shop watching the world go by. This was drastically reduced when I had children as there was no way I was able to enjoy a relaxing few hours anywhere! However there were a few occasions when I would find myself child free and pop to a coffee shop. Now I simply make use of the various free hot drink offers that are available. The most popular ones are as follows: O2 app with a free cafe Nero hot drink, John Lewis hot drink and cake offer and Boundary Mills free hot drink and cake offer. Garden centres often send vouchers for free hot drinks as well. Always make a habit of checking your emails and post to see if any vouchers come through.
  3. Catching up with Friends– I try to arrange to meet up with friends a few times per month, I just try to make sure this is done as frugally as possible. This could be play dates at each others houses if I’m meeting up with those friends who have children, or getting together at free events and picnics. My budget still stretches to coffees out with friends but whereas before this would maybe be a breakfast or lunch out, a coffee out means I still get to meet up but the budget is not affected as much.
  4. Parks – we have a lovely play park and splash park within walking distance from our house. I definately make the most of that in the nicer weather. We take a picnic, snacks and drinks and we can be set for the day.
  5. Walks along the beach– we moved house in July 2017 (which coincided with my redundancy-which you can read about here) to be closer to better schools and a nicer lifestyle. Now we have the beautiful North East Coastline within walking distance and whatever the weather we go for walks along the promenade and look for shells and sea glass. Even stopping for hot chocolates or ice creams along the way is far cheaper than what we used to spend on days out.
  6. Annual Memberships– we make the most of annual memberships for museums and other attractions in the local area to get the most value. I find these are really good for using on days when the weather is not so great for a frugal child friendly activity.
  7. Cinema – I love going to the cinema but it can be so expensive and so not something which I can do very often on a frugal budget! However something which I’ve actually been doing for years is going to the cinema for free to see previews of films! The site that I’m signed up to is called Show Film First, a have a blog post about it here you sign up through their website and they send you details of free films when they are available. You can usually claim up to 4 tickets so a great night out for free!
  8. Meals out– this is something which I don’t do very often at all as the budget just doesn’t allow it and to be honest I find that I’m getting really picky the older I’m getting and I find that if I do go for a meal out I can’t help but start to think about the price and how I could make it cheaper and nicer at home! However I do still manage to enjoy a meal out through mystery shopping, I’ll have a post about mystery shopping soon. But basically it’s where a company pays you to visit certain stores and assess the service that you receive. The pay isn’t great (some assignments pay more than others) but you’ll usually get a free meal and drinks out of it.
  9. Movie Afternoon/Nights – some of my friends and I get together to have movie afternoons. It’s a great way to catch up for very little money. We share the cost of making nachos and buying a bag of popcorn and some sweets and drinks so it costs very little and is so much fun.
  10. Getting organised –  last one is a bit of a random one but it’s relevant as I see it as entertainment! I love feel like I’m getting organised with regards to my household, budgets, cleaning, meals and food shopping, so I like to spend free time getting organised with all life admin as it makes me feel more together!

So that’s my top 10 frugal entertainment ideas. How do you like to spend your free time without spending a lot of money?

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