Contrary to popular belief, being frugal doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun. Sure, it’s easy to look at your budget and mark recreation down as an “unnecessarily luxury” you could do without. But unless you’re replacing the expensive entertainment with thriftier things, your fun-free lifestyle will quickly die (or you will, of boredom).

Leisure is just as important as work— maybe even more. For instance, having fun in the workplace has been shown to increase productivity and enhance the quality of the labour.1 Essentially, if you allow yourself to play, your work improves. So just think what the occasional luxury could do for your budgeting outlook!

Whether you’re throwing a party, going out on the town or staying in for the night, you don’t have to forgo fun and games to stay frugal.

Frugal Living: The Wrong Way

Want to go to the game?

Unfortunately, my new unreasonably thrifty lifestyle prohibits any involvement in what you conceive as “fun.”

HUH?

I’m cheap. So we can’t be friends.

Frugal Living: The Right Way

Want to go to the game?

Sure, but let’s sit in the cheap seats.

All right!

throw a party on a budget

Here are a few ways to keep a party on the cheap side.

Location

Finding a free space to host your party shouldn’t be too difficult. Homes make cosy settings, or you could reserve a room at a restaurant. Sometimes, that’ll open up cheaper food and drink options, if the restaurant provides a party package deal.

Theme & Decorations

Whether at home or away, focus your decorations around a simple theme, such as a single colour. That way, common items you already have on-hand can be transformed into decorations because they “match.”

invitations

You could make your own invitations, or if you aren’t craft-savvy, spread the word in person, by phone or with an e-vite.

Food

For a casual party among friends, host a potluck. Everyone brings a dish to share, and you save money. For a formal dinner party, serve filling, less expensive side dishes like bread and cooked veggies alongside the more costly meats and cheeses. To save even more on food, have your party after the meal and serve your guests hors d'oeuvres.

After spending your workday making money, you don’t have to spend your free time squandering it! We all know the simple pleasures of a good book or game night at home, but when you need to get out of the house, here are a few ways to cut the costs.

Borrow an outfit from a friend

Go to the theatre on the night when tickets are cheapest

Dress up an old ensemble with small accessories, like a scarf

Spend the day at a free museum

Go for coffee, not drinks

Eat the meal at home and just go out for dessert

Have a picnic or go for a walk

Save £3,000 by this time next year!

£8.22 a day £57.69 a week £250 a month

JUNE challenge: free fun

Hopefully your creative juices are flowing with ideas for fun, frugal recreation. Entertainment is the third largest expense for people in the UK. The average household’s recreational spending comes to £232.40 per month.2 This month, get your entertainment budget down to £0.

You can play sports, play cards, read books, sing karaoke, watch a DVD — the possibilities are endless! At the end of the month, put the money you would have spent on leisure into your savings.

Goal: £1,500 saved since January

free fun: The Wrong Way

free fun: The Right Way

Only if you’re buying! I’m living frugal!

Get real, you freeloader! Sponge off somebody else!

Sure! Let’s borrow one from the library. It’s free, so we’ll save quid.

Good idea!

Hey, want to see a movie?

Gee, this frugal living thing is harder than I thought…

Hey, want to see a movie?

References

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