A beginner’s guide to budget-friendly fun

Part of growing up is realizing many things are too expensive to indulge in all the time. However, maintaining a healthy social life is just as important as taking care of your finances. This can be difficult when many social activities cost a lot. Balancing money and fun can be challenging, but it is possible.

Here are a few ways to have a good time without spending too much money.

Go for a picnic

Having a picnic can be a great budget-friendly option, especially if the picnic site is within walking distance to save money on gas! Despite its simplicity, picnics are great for their versatility. Friends can play games, spend time catching up and, of course, prepare food for each other to enjoy.

There are several affordable recipes to try, like fried rice. It’s easy to make, and you can always add whatever you like to customize it to your taste. Soups are also a great option, like a simple egg drop soup. Many of them aren’t too complex and don’t require many ingredients.

Find local events

Many cities host events like festivals and carnivals throughout the year, which are free to attend. There are often things to spend money on at these events, but they can still be enjoyed without them. Check city websites or newspapers to see what is available throughout the year.

For example, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) offers limited free admission on Wednesday nights, and guests under 25 always get in for free.

Celebration Square in Mississauga, Ont., also hosts free movie nights on Thursdays during the summer.

Visit a farmer’s market

While farmer’s markets aren’t always budget-friendly, they typically offer produce and other goods at a much lower price than what can be found in grocery stores.

Even if visitors don’t buy anything, there is still so much to see and do. Some vendors have handmade crafts to look at. Some markets will have live music for everyone to enjoy. These markets also tend to have lots of free samples from vendors, so visitors don’t need to spend money to have a good time.  

Try geocaching

Geocaching can be best described as a worldwide treasure hunt. Millions of stockpiles (called “geocaches”) have been hidden around the world, and they can only be found via GPS. The app is free to download, and the search for geocaches can often lead to new, unexplored parts of a city and its surrounding areas. It’s a great way to get out and explore and can be done alone or with friends.   

Spend time in nature

Spending time outdoors can come in various forms. With the number of options available, there is bound to be something for everyone. While some of these activities require equipment, they don’t have to be expensive, especially for beginners. Here are just some of the experiences that nature has to offer:

  • Hiking
  • Bird watching
  • Stargazing
  • Camping

Spend time at home

When in doubt, spending a night at home is always a solid option. Friends can bring games, rent movies and even find karaoke videos on YouTube. Regardless of the chosen activities, a night in is one of the easiest ways to have fun without being too heavy on the wallet.

Spending time with friends doesn’t have to be costly. While learning to spend money wisely is an important part of growing up, it doesn’t have to be at the expense of a healthy social life. Finding a balance between money and fun can be challenging but is completely feasible if you know where to look.

About the author

Kyle Quilatan

Kyle is a writer for Youth Mind who studied English at Wilfrid Laurier University. When he’s not writing, he enjoys art and music.

Kyle Quilatan

Kyle is a writer for Youth Mind who studied English at Wilfrid Laurier University. When he’s not writing, he enjoys art and music.

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