How the heck do we still have fun with such tight budgeting?
Whoa. If anyone were to say that our budget prevents us from having fun, I would probably collapse in laughter because they couldn’t possibly be any further from the truth. First of all, there are SO many fun things to do for absolutely no cost at all (subtract the initial cost of gear, like shoes and socks or whatever). What’s great about many free activities is that they are often athletic-based. So, in addition to doing something fun, you can burn calories, stay fit, and enjoy that dopamine rush for as long as it lasts.
Here is a list of activities that we often do on a typical weekend day, for free:
-Camping (sometimes we have to pay a small camping fee)
-Yoga (free yoga by the ocean)
I’m sure I am missing many activities, as I only spent about 30 seconds thinking these up just now. Hawaii has so many different beaches we like to go to, and each one offers a unique experience than the other. In addition, there are many, many hiking trails to explore, and we still have many more to check out. Camping has been another great activity, although I don’t recommend camping in the rainforest unless you are 100% ready to take on buckets and buckets of rain! Sometimes, we go out to the movies (using discounted movie tickets that I get from work), and sometimes we do spend money on special activities, like going to the zoo (for a discount with Kama’aina), or we'll take a trip over to Kailua and rock climb at the Volcanic Rock Gym (not very cheap, but will fit in the “personal expenses” category every once and a while). Of course, our free activities are unique to the environment in which we live. However, I think it would be an excuse for anyone to say that there is absolutely nothing fun and free that they can do in their environment. The more you go out and explore fun and free things to do, the happier your wallet will become, and the happier you will become as well. Getting some fresh air and enjoying what nature has to offer is an amazing experience that I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying. The activities I have listed are some of our favorites, and so we have invested in the proper gear for all of them (ie. purchasing a football and waboba ball (bounces on water) with a free $10 gift card from Sport’s Authority on Black Friday, finding great bikes for a great discount on craigslist, and using Christmas money toward LL Bean hiking boots that can be exchanged for free any and every time they wear out). These small initial purchases have allowed us to enjoy our weekends without breaking our banks. Whatever fun free activity you enjoy might require some small investments at the start, but will be well worth the savings and enjoyment from then on out. And of course, let’s keep our eyes on the prize: with less spending on activities and things to do on the weekends comes greater opportunities to save and invest, and the closer to early retirement we will come.