Rediscovering frugal fun on a cash budget

Photo by qisur

Back when it was easy for us to head out and spend a little extra money on entertainment, we neglected all the free entertainment we have available. Since we started living on a cash budget, we’ve had to get more creative about how we entertain ourselves on the weekends. A lot of it isn’t really creativity, though, as much as it’s rediscovering all of the entertainment right in front of us.

Here are some of the things we’ve rediscovered:

Card games

We picked up a pack of cards on our frugal camping trip last month, and we discovered a website with a huge directory of card games. We’ve been playing together and learning new games ever since. I hadn’t played cards since my dorm room days, and even then it was rare, so this is a really fun new activity. Aside from the $3 we paid for the cards, it’s absolutely free! :) If cards aren’t your thing, you might like to play dice games. My family loves to play an old fashioned dice game called 1000, and all it requires is a pair of dice and a scratch pad for keeping score.

Board games

We have a stack of board games in our coat closet that hasn’t been touched in several years. Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit … we’ve rediscovered all of them. Chances are you have some neglected board games lying around somewhere. Dust them off for some free fun tonight!

Crossword Puzzles

We have a book of New York Times crossword puzzles that we bought a few years ago for a road trip. I think it was about $4. Lately we’re been solving them again. Lots of fun if you like words and puzzles! You can also find free crossword puzzles online.


During our college days, we both amassed a pretty good sized collection of DVDs. We often neglect them in favor of rentals, which isn’t too expensive with Netflix and Redbox. But lately we’ve been dusting off our old collection and rewatching some of our favorites. It’s been long enough since we’ve seen some of them that they feel almost new.


Between the library and our personal collection, Tony and I have been making a pretty good dent in our summer reading list. Books are another thing we both spent a lot of money on once upon a time. It’s a good thing they can provide so much entertainment! We don’t buy books anymore, but we’ve been going through the book shelf reading each other’s collections and checking out a ton at the library.


Now that we’re looking for free entertainment, we’ve found ourselve venturing outdoors a lot more. Whether we’re hiking or heading to the beach, we’re appreciating all the frugal fun that nature has to offer.

I’m actually surprised at how much fun we’re having with these simple frugal activities. They feel brand new, and enjoying them together has brought Tony and I that much closer!

3 thoughts on “Rediscovering frugal fun on a cash budget

  1. EastTXmom

    Oh my gosh, I can so relate to the love of reading. I hate to confess, but I spend quite a bit on books, usually in big chunks. Most I can get from the library and back in our frugal days, discovered new authors who I am now a fan of, but books are definitely my weakness. At the moment, I have roughly 25 books on my to be read stack and that’s not counting the ones I’m on the waiting list for at the library.

    Give me a book, pretty much any kind of read, and I am a happy camper.

    Take care, stay cool.

  2. Kate

    I love card games and used to play them all the time when I was a kid with my family.
    Now i have rediscovered card games and have also found that they save me money in a rather unusual way. I play them with my partner when we go for a drink down the pub, but now we don’t buy so many drinks during the veing as the games slow the drinking down.

    So a great tip is when going out to have a drink with friends etc, take a pack of cards, you will have lost more fun and spend lots less.

  3. Megan

    The husband-elect and I just moved into a new apt over in Durham, and we’re trying our dead-level best to keep the moving expenses and random purchases to a minimum. I always forget how expensive moving can be! We’re doing our best to keep the entertainment budget to a minimum too – watching our old dvds, borrowing tv on dvd from family, actually reading the books off our shelves. I’m a junkie for booklists – what’s on your summer reading list this summer?

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