6 Tips On Having Fun When You’re Broke

Having fun when broke seems like such a difficult thing to do. We do need something fun once in a while to let loose and shed stress. Here are several innovative entertainment options that don’t cost a penny for those in debt:

1.       Borrow Movies From the Local Library

Majority of local libraries offer lifetime memberships for free, or if not, at very low costs, and are a great way to continue having fun when broke. Library membership gives you free access to the internet, thousands of books and, of course, movies. If going out to the movies is too expensive for your family, just borrow a DVD (or ten) from the local library and binge watch as much as you want. Some libraries will even have complete box sets for popular television shows, so you can cancel that cable subscription and save some money.

having fun when broke tips

2.       Free Live Music

Sure, getting tickets to a Taylor Swift concert will probably not fare well with your tight budget. That does not mean you have to live the next three to four years without listening to live music. Indie artists looking for recognition often hold free acoustic sessions at local bars, restaurants and clubs. Some may even play for free at concert venues. Be on the lookout for such live music events that do not require purchasing tickets.  They are usually advertised on local supermarket billboards and Facebook pages.

3.       Visits to Museums

Don’t feel bad that you can’t afford tickets to Disneyland. There are still plenty of options to entertain kids with a budget of less than 10 bucks. Plan a family outing to the local museum, which will have a treasure trove of historical information and fun facts about the place you live that kids will absolutely be intrigued by. Most museums do not charge locals an entrance fee (as your tax dollars help maintain it). The only money you’ll need will be to buy a snack or two for the kids.

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4.       Romantic Picnic in your Backyard

Wondering what to do for an anniversary or Valentine’s Day without blowing your budget? How about a lovely picnic in your own backyard? It’s a great way of having fun when broke and you won’t need to travel anywhere. Besides, you’ll have all the privacy you need on your own property. However, you will have to plan in advance. Find some candles laying around, and if possible, flowers from the garden. Make the dinner at home (which will cost less and taste more delicious than at any fancy restaurant). Set up a dining area at a nice spot in the backyard, and voila, romance that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

5.       Board Games

The quintessential entertainment option for the broke and bored. Board games, especially secondhand ones, are inexpensive, but a world of fun once you really get into it.  You might even be able to borrow old games from friends for free. Grab some dollar-ninety-nine snacks and you will be entertained all night.

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6.       Having Fun When Broke is a Walk in the Park…Literally

Stop daydreaming about vacationing at someplace expensive. You can enjoy great scenery and fresh air in your own neighborhood for free. Plan a stroll in the local park to enjoy stunning flora and fauna without financial worries.

Yup, it’s easy as that. If you have any other suggestions of your own, feel free to share it in the comments section.

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5 Ways To Stop Impulse Spending Today

Impulse spending is an infamous contributor to personal debt. Many tearjerker debt stories start with “those shoes” or “that video game console I really thought I could afford.” Everyone struggles with ways to stop impulse spending at some point in their life. Myself included. I also know firsthand how hard it is to control bad habits like buying things without a second thought. But if you ever plan to get out of debt, it’s very important to control impulse spending and stick to a debt budget. Here are some suggestions that worked for me:

1.       Stop Browsing Shopping Sites

Those shiny retail sites online are highly optimized to make people buy things. They are like chocolate chip cookies to a six year old. When it’s right there on the table, how can you control yourself? Retail sites advertise items with slogans like “buy now 50% off” or “buy one and get one free.” Offers of this nature are really hard to ignore. Don’t fool yourself and believe that you can control yourself from clicking that “buy” button. Don’t visit retail sites telling yourself that you are only browsing. The temptation will be too much, so simply don’t ever venture there.

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2.       Leave the Credit Card at Home

If I have my check card with me, I’m always buying things. Leaving it behind is a good way to stop impulse spending. I keep telling myself that my purchases are small. A burger on the way home or a snack buying trip to the dollar store never really costs much. Except that these little purchases eventually add up to hundreds of dollars at the end of the month. Eventually, I decided to leave my credit card at home on weekdays. I only have it with me when I absolutely have to buy things like groceries or gas. I ended up cutting down hundreds of dollars in frivolous spending simply by not having my credit card with me all the time.

3.       Schedule Shopping

Scheduling shopping trips can help cut down unnecessary purchases. For example, say you are out of milk. So you go to the grocery store, and while there, you think ‘why not get an ice cream tub and new cereal, too’? You don’t actually need the latter two items, but you spend money on it anyway. You can control stupid impulse buys like this by scheduling grocery runs. Make a list of everything you need per month or for two weeks and buy it all at once. When you spend couple of hundred dollars buying things you do need, you are less likely to add unnecessary items to the list.

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4.       Make Payments Early in the Month

We won’t be making impulse purchases if we don’t have money on hand, period. A friend of mine had this practice where she would pay all her bills—rent, utility, mortgage, cable, etc—the first day of the month once she received her paycheck. Then she’ll do the monthly grocery run. After all that, there was only a pittance left that didn’t buy much. She even managed to deposit a portion of it in a savings account. I think that’s an excellent method for everyone to control spending and save for the long run.

5.      A Budget Can Stop Impulse Spending

If you can’t beat it, indulge it, but only in a strictly controlled manner. If you can’t stop yourself from wasting money buying shoes every week, maybe it’s not a good idea to go cold turkey. You will only fall short of your own expectations. Instead, allocate a small amount without hurting regular expenses to “entertain yourself.” If you can’t completely stop impulse spending, at least restrict it.

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The above are only suggestions. Don’t try them all at once. Try one or two, and see where it takes you.

Have you ever struggled with impulse shopping?

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