Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The truth about almost free fun

There is free fun.  There is almost free fun.  Then there is fun that involves a $100 bar tab, a round trip ticket and/or a new outfit.  In reading some articles this week about saving money, free fun definitely shows its face.  Cutting your spending and eliminating fun seems like a sure way for your lofty saving goals to die a quick death.

I was thinking about camping.  This Friday night we are taking the youth camping.  Camping is one of those things that seems, on the outside, like a cheap activity.  It can be.  It can also add up.  Like many other activities there are supplies that you need to acquire.  Buy them all at once and it's pricey.  Slowly accumulate over time or borrow and you won't feel nearly the pain.   Groceries, drinks, coolers, ice, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, firewood, cooking utensils, the three hour drive to 'get away from it all', canoe rental, lanterns, batteries,campsite name it and you can spend it.  All the sudden you think, "I should have gotten a hotel, gone on a day hike and gone out to dinner.  I'd be better rested and have spent the same."  This Friday's camping should actually fall in the almost free category.  Not too far away, on private land, hot dogs, s'mores and breakfast.

Actual free fun in Denver over the past few months:
City Park Jazz on Sunday nights (free if I pack a picnic and don't visit the Cupcake Truck)
Civic Center "Ride In" Movies...this weekend it's Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Walking the dog
Movies and books from the library
Free day at the Denver Art Museum and The Cell
4th of July Fireworks
Riding my bike (just need to go more often)

Almost free fun (subject to your interpretation):
Rockies Games
Dining via Groupon or Living Social (and the multiple copycat sites)
4 mile historic park
Zumba (my gym membership is now $45/year)
Farmers Market
New Mexico road trip using free hotel nights
Community pool

I need to find more ways to slide some of my travel from "budget busters anonymous" to "screaming deal" without limiting myself to Tulsa.  Or Pueblo.  Or Arvada.

It's a worthy challenge.  Visit "Where the Hell is Matt?"  He got a sponsor to fund his quest to travel the world doing a silly dance.

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