How To Cut Down Spending Without Cutting Down Fun

Today we welcome back our Tuesday contributor, Catherine Alford!

I was feeling pretty confident about this blog post, but now that it’s time to write it, I’m kind of shaking in my shimmies (if people even say that anymore.) The reason is that I know exactly how to cut down spending while still having fun. Unfortunately, I am a huge nerd, so it suddenly dawned on me that you might not have the same idea of fun as I do.

Oh well, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had a nerd alert on the Internet, so behold three awesome ways that I like to have fun without spending a lot of cash.

Go To Free Museums

Don’t you love it when museums are free? I know I do. When I worked for the park service in Richmond, Virginia, it was so awesome that all of our battlefields were free! Anyone could go and get their learn on without spending an entrance fee.

There are tons of museums like this across the country and the world. You just have to do your research to find out where they are. You can also look up which museums have “student days” or “teacher days” to see if you can get a good discount.

Go To The Library

The library is a hilarious place. I once rented a very antiquated work out DVD that was from the 80s. I cracked up every time I tried to complete it. However, not all parts of your local library are from the stone ages. You can get fun audio books, the latest hardback releases, and even request a library transfer.

Some people don’t like waiting on long lists to get their paws on a best seller, but the waiting makes the reward that much sweeter. Anyway, the library by my house before I came to Grenada was absolutely enormous full of top notch computers and nice, quiet places to work. I loved it, and it’s one of the things I miss the most about the U.S.

Party at Craft Markets and Antique Fairs

I just love going to antique fairs, thrift stores, and craft markets. You never know what you’re going to find. Plus, I always give stuff weird names (“What’s this thingy ma bob?”) which adds to the fun. I admit my husband isn’t the biggest fan of scouring markets like this. He would much prefer the cool bright lights of the mall, but when I can score him a whole set of antique medical text books for $10, he gets more into it!

Of course, there are always free concerts, music festivals, cultural festivals, hiking, and camping that you can do for relatively cheap and still have an amazing time!

Seriously, why spend money at fancy restaurants and upscale country clubs when you can be on the floor digging through a box of old photographs? No? Just me?

What’s your idea of a good time? Something expensive? Something cheap? Please share.

Like What You See?

Join the other readers who have signed up for our email newsletter! No spam, just periodic updates to help improve your finances!

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog,


  1. My idea of fun is usually just being outside in nature and that’s really cheap. Just need to make sure I’ve bought enough sunblock! =)

  2. I’m with you on the free museums thing. Target is a big sponsor of free museum nights/days and you generally can find a museum in your area (if your city has more than one major museum) with a free night. The Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Musem Harlem here in NYC both each have a Target sponsored free day.

  3. One of the reasons I like living in California is all the free things I can do. A lot is is associated with weather, geography (ocean, mountains, desert, etc), free concerts, free days at the museums and naturally beautiful scenery. I live in an expensive part of the country, but there is still plenty that is free!

  4. Justin @ The Family Finances says:

    My family are huge library supporters. We rent books and movies, and our little boy will definitely take part in all the kids activities when he gets a bit older. One thing that’s not on your list is going to local parks. Take a walk, ride your bike, feed the ducks, watch the kids play… there’s so much to enjoy at the park.

  5. ” I once rented a very antiquated work out DVD that was from the 80s. I cracked up every time I tried to complete it.” I love it. I remember doing my Mom’s 8 minute abs video when I was younger… such a classic!

  6. My idea of having fun is walking around the city. I live in south jersey so I frequently go to Philadelphia and walk around downtown. The best part about that is I have loads of fun,meet amazing people and I don’t have to spend a dime. And in Philadelphia there’s always free concerts along the waterfront which is awesome.

Share Your Thoughts