Hi there income streamers!
You all know the old saying, “the best things in life are free.” It certainly doesn’t seem that way at times – sports games can cost a week’s worth of work, fancy dinners cost a fortune even before tip and tax, and traveling sometimes seems to be more stress than its worth after checking out airline prices. However, with a little creativity, it’s easy to shift out of the “Spend Money For Fun” mindset. Advertising has convinced us that paying for experiences is the only way to enjoy ourselves – but that simply isn’t true. Here’s some of the things I enjoy most in life, and I hope you can convince your friends or a date to give them a try along with you!
1. Walk in the woods
Connecting to nature is such a calm and meditative experience, and I don’t know how I’d get through the week without it. Check out a forest near you, or for a more intense workout, see if your local national park has a hiking trail. Bringing friends can also make it a great opportunity to catch up!
The original sport still does the best job of delivering those sweet endorphins while letting me feel wild and primal – plus it keeps me in great shape! Other sports require equipment and balls and field space, but with running you can just get up and go. Running with friends make the miles fly by and will motivate you to keep on track with your training plan.
3. Play music
This is something not nearly enough people do. Many Native American tribes used to perform music around a fire every night – and now it seems that today’s Americans never participate in music themselves. Sure, they may listen to it plenty, but nothing beats the experience of letting go of your anxiety and singing like a fool. If you already own an instrument, relearn it! If not, I highly recommend borrowing one from a friend and letting them teach you. Its a great, free way to relieve stress, learn a skill, and grow your confidence as you learn to not fear embarrassing yourself. I’ve had plenty of moments failing when performing and I’m so glad I have because I know there’s no consequence when that happens; I simply learn from the mistake and move on.
4. Learn something
Learning alongside others can be frightening – it leaves you vulnerable to failing and looking dumb. Good! Being vulnerable in front of others is the best way to bond with them. It creates memories to laugh on, and it gives you a chance to learn from them if they happen to be successful at the task. There’s plenty of options for skills to learn with others, including a language, a craft like pottery, painting or smithing, a programming language, or a sport, but the most important thing is that whatever skill you pick lets you fail and laugh. Friends can also keep you on track with training and allow you to practice with them, which is particularly useful with language learning.
Writing alone or with friends can be a very fruitful experience. I find writing therapeutic, as it allows for self reflection, and I think it can be a great way to slow down and think in today’s fast-paced society. Writing alone can be a great way to think out loud, but writing for others to read both exposes you emotionally (which is a good thing!) and lets you develop your writing skills to engage an audience. Plus, if your friends are writing too, you get to learn more about them through what they reveal! If writing extensively intimidates you, start with short poems or essays, and see if you enjoy it first.
The library is the most undervalued resource in society, especially as a social tool. Reading something along with your friends lets you all discuss the books points with each other and can lead to entertaining and fruitful discussions – plus, they may have great recommendations on what to read!
Cooking isn’t perfectly “free”, since someone needs to pay for the ingredients, but I included it here for its minimal cost. Before the days of fast food, cooking was always an intensely social experience as everyone gathered in the kitchen and chatted over chopping vegetables and frying up food. It can be a fun and goofy experience if you’re not experienced, and an impressive and educative one if you or a friend is. Give it a try! If nothing else, do it for a the tasty meal afterward.
Working together with your friends or a date is a great way to hang out and talk while also doing something towards a common goal. It shows generosity and can also teach you some skills – I learned the main skills I use in programming by volunteering! If you and your friends/date have a common interest, seek out a cause related to it, and if not see if there’s something you all care about or connect to.
This one may seem really intimidating to anyone who doesn’t have a history in theatre – but I don’t either! Acting, like playing music, used to be something common for groups to do and I think it could definitely be a funny and low stakes way to take a risk and try to grow. It allows you and your friends to get in touch with a different character and risk embarrassment – which, like I’ve been saying, is the best way to bond with each other. Risking embarrassment and vulnerability creates memories, builds trust, and allows you to become a more well-rounded person.
10. Visit a piece of strange history
Does your hometown have a quirky feature or footnote that it prides itself on? Well, good news! So does just about every town in America, making this country a great place to go out and learn a little more about a neighbouring place you may be bused to driving by without a second thought. In the Boston area alone I know of hundreds of hidden gems, including abandoned insane asylums, niche museums like the Museum of Glass Blowing in Sandwich, and several historical sites relating to Native Americans, pilgrims, the Irish Mob, and countless politicians. There’s always something interesting to explore with friends or dates if you look hard enough – ask around, or try visiting your local town hall to see if they have a brochure of landmarks in the area.
That’s all I have for now folks – but to be honest, these kinds of activities are enough fun to last me a lifetime. I’ve tried every one and they always end in laughs, memories and a new tidbit of knowledge. And none of them costed me a penny!
Do you guys have any fun, free activities? What’s the best date you’ve ever been on? Have any of you tried these ideas and had a fantastic or terrible experience? Let me know in the comments, and as always, stay earning streamers!
For more funky frugal fun, check out @StevesStreams on Twitter!