HOW TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME, AND WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO GO

     

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Wise Bread readers are masters at saving more & spending less. You know how to siêu thị smart, how khổng lồ stretch a budget, và how to find the best đơn hàng on just about anything.

But what about when you want to cut loose và relax?

Life, after all, is about balance & having some hobbies is a key component of living a happy, healthy life. If only those hobbies weren"t so expensive.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways khổng lồ stay true to your frugal principles và still have a good time in the process. Here are 35 ways khổng lồ enjoy yourself without breaking the bank. (See also: 20 không tính tiền Ways to lớn Relieve Stress)

1. Reading

Too obvious? Maybe, but it"s cheap, cheap, cheap, & if you enjoy doing it, you"ll never run out of new material. Find an endless supply of stuff to read on the Internet, pick up used books at garage sales and thrift stores, or take advantage of your miễn phí library card và gain access to lớn everything from the old classics khổng lồ the latest best-sellers.

2. Journaling/Writing

Writing offers a number of benefits, not the least of which is learning khổng lồ write better by constructing your thoughts on paper. Work through your issues by journaling or leave something memorable for your descendants by writing your memoirs. If you"re not yet ready to put your life on paper, try writing about someone else"s life instead, or write about a cause or sự kiện that you think is important.

Or just make the whole thing up. One of the great things about writing fiction is that you have control over how the story develops.

3. Writing Poetry

There is an art lớn making words rhyme,

A rhythm that requires those words to keep time,

But master it & you will see,

There"s nothing quite so creative as poetry.

Where to start? Turco"s The New Book of Forms và Hollander"s Rhyme"s Reason are classic introductions lớn English rhyme and verse, with clear explanations và plenty of examples.

4. Performing Slam Poetry

If traditional rhyme isn"t your thing, consider slam poetry instead. Meant lớn be spoken, slam poetry is much more visceral in content, often used as a means to vent about political issues, humanitarian injustices, và personal milestones. It"s also much more flexible when it comes khổng lồ style và syntax. You can use rhyme if you want, but it"s not required; in fact, the only real "requirements" of slam poetry is that it"s passionate, & if you"re going to compete, your poem must be three minutes or under.

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5. Sewing

When I was in elementary school, my mother made matching outfits for me và my best friend. They featured faux suede vests & skirts with cream-colored satin shirts, and since this was the "70s, we were hot stuff in those outfits to lớn say the least.

I never really got into sewing after a dress-debacle in my 8th grade Home-Ec class, but now, with a daughter of my own, I"ve pulled out mom"s sewing machine, and I"m slowly but surely learning how khổng lồ make my own garments. My only regret is that I didn"t vị it sooner. Sewing is a wonderfully creative outlet and the perfect way to lớn fashion a custom wardrobe for a fraction of what you"d spend buying off the racks. Plus — and this is my goal — if you get really good at working with patterns, you can start working on your own designs. Move over, Jaclyn Smith!

6. Walking

Despite the obvious cardiovascular benefits, walking is a great way to clear your head, let off some steam, and just enjoy the outdoors. You can walk the trail at your local park or just walk your neighborhood after dinner. The benefits are the same, & it"s free. (See also: Surprising Benefits of a 10-Minute Walk)

7. Gardening

When we moved out of the city some seven-plus years ago, I wanted khổng lồ fully experience the whole "country-lifestyle," so I promptly tilled up an area for a small garden. It was one of the best things I"ve ever done. Not only vị you get to commune with nature, but if you grow edibles, you can cut down your grocery bill khổng lồ boot. Và just let me say, there"s nothing like homegrown tomatoes. Plus, you don"t need lots of space to lớn enjoy this hobby — container gardening works well even in the smallest of spaces — & if you grow heirloom plants and harvest your seeds, you"ll only have to buy your starter plants once.

8. Bird-Watching

When we moved lớn said country home, we noticed a mud nest on our front porch. Hubby wanted khổng lồ tear it down— andI wanted lớn know what lived in it. As it turns out, that nest belonged to a pair of Purple Martins, birds known for eating their weight in mosquitoes. Và because they come back every spring, I"ve never had khổng lồ buy a can of repellant. The moral of this story? Learning more about the birds in your backyard might be worth your time.

9. Painting

Years ago, my girlfriends và I decided to lớn try our hand at painting. We began with oils, which I loved as a medium, but they were a little pricey & a pain to lớn clean up. Then I discovered acrylics. Water soluble & much, much cheaper, they have been my go-to medium ever since. You can find canvases & brushes — also inexpensive — at most craft stores, and there"s an endless supply of how-tos on the web.

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10. Drawing

If painting isn"t your thing, try drawing. Sketchbooks are relatively cheap và easy to tote, so you can take your hobby with you wherever you go. And lượt thích painting, you can self-teach using books, online instruction, & lots of practice.

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11. Cooking

Forget about prepackaged mixes và store-bought cans — there"s something about cooking và baking from scratch that feels almost spiritual. Maybe it"s the creative aspect of pulling it all together, tasting and adjusting along the way to lớn be sure your recipe is just right. Maybe it"s the satisfaction of seeing your creation turn out well, a manifestation of all the love and intention that went into making it. Maybe it"s the presentation, with all the little drizzles và sprinkles that turn your dish into art.

Or maybe it"s just that it tastes better.

Depending upon what you have in your cabinets, you may need to purchase certain spices và staples, but I"ve found that it"s not too hard khổng lồ keep a well-stocked kitchen, và it"s definitely cheaper than eating out. Plus, it"s nice khổng lồ get a craving for something and know that I have the ingredients to lớn make it, meaning fewer spontaneous trips lớn the grocery store.

Where khổng lồ start? Pick a cuisine or style you like, và decide lớn master its ingredients and recipes. (See also: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies)

12. Genealogy

I can"t tell you what got me started in genealogy. But I can tell you that once I started digging, I was forever hooked. There"s something absolutely fascinating about tracing your past, learning where you came from, và even (occasionally) stumbling upon photos và stories of ancestors you never met. I have an ancestor who was a Revolutionary War Patriot, for example, & there"s a memorial built in his honor in his hometown.

I have another ancestor who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth & he, too, is remembered in a memorial, this one placed in an Abbey in Somerset.

Not all of my ancestors have notable stories, of course, but following their trail is interesting nonetheless. You can splurge for an Ancestry.com membership or you can begin by exploring the không tính tiền genealogy websites online and the genealogy section at your local library.

13. Become an Expert

When I discovered that I had an ancestor with ties khổng lồ Queen Elizabeth, I couldn"t help but learn more about that particular era. Between the assassination attempts on the Queen và all the betrayal & beheadings during her father"s (King Henry VIII) reign, there"s more than enough information lớn keep my interest piqued. Và in the process, I"ve become a bit of an expert on this topic.

Now, think about something that interests you. Are you a history buff? Fascinated by science? Passionate about climate change? Dig in deeper và learn everything you can. In a world where we"re bombarded with information 24/7, it"s a nice change of pace to cover more than just a few fleeting details. (See also: 11 Ways lớn Learn Something New)

14. Jewelry-Making

If you"ve got kids, then you"ve probably seen the rubber-band bracelets that are all the rage. My daughter loves making them, and has even branched out khổng lồ woven friendship bracelets using string & cord. Helping her figure out new techniques and patterns reminded me of how much fun those smaller craft projects could be và while the rubber-band variation isn"t really my thing, wire jewelry offers some great possibilities.

There are literally hundreds of websites where you can get ideas và inspiration, along with step-by-step tutorials to walk you through a complete project. You can find wire at most craft stores, but you"ll pay less if you order from some of the jewelry-supply websites, such as Fire Mountain Gems. Beads can be found at most of these sites as well, or you can order them in bulk from Amazon.

And if you find that you"re especially good at jewelry making, you can sell your stuff on Etsy for extra cash. (See also: 5 Ways to Launch a Small Business With Etsy)

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15. Guitar

Of all the musical instruments you could play, the guitar is probably the most practical — easy khổng lồ take with you, và if you buy it used, you can get one relatively cheap.

There"s also plenty of free lessons lớn be had. Justin Guitar & GuitarLessons both offer free instruction as bởi many other websites. Or, you can just head over to lớn YouTube — you"ll find both generic lessons as well as instructions for specific songs, meaning you can finally learn how to play that 80s tune that you love so much.

16. Card Tricks

Who hasn"t seen a thẻ trick và wondered, "How did they do that?" Well, here"s your chance lớn find out! The beauty of learning thẻ tricks compared to lớn other types of magic is that you can buy a deck of cards for a dollar — one dollar, và you have everything you need khổng lồ start learning new tricks.

Granted, some are more complex than others, but many are relatively easy và if you địa chỉ cửa hàng a fancy shuffle, you"ll look like a pro when you perform your trick.

Cards not your thing, or a dollar to lớn high a price to pay? How about coin tricks?

17. Play Cards

Want khổng lồ stretch that dollar even further? Learn to play Texas Hold "Em or Five thẻ Draw or Bridge for that matter. Playing cards is a fun và easy way lớn relax và unwind, and it"s also a great option when the mạng internet mysteriously goes down and you decide khổng lồ reinvent family time.

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18. Star-Gazing

There is something magical about looking out at the night sky, even if you don"t have a telescope. Learn to spot the different constellations with one of the many astronomy apps available (I use Star Chart — it"s free!) & subscribe to lớn some of the astronomy websites (such as Astronomy Magazine và Sky & Telescope) lớn learn more about space & upcoming celestial events.