Free and fun entertainment

I used to think that to go out and socialize, I needed to spend money.  I often found myself spending money in excess of what I had budgeted just because my friends were doing so. I didn’t want to seem like I was putting a damper on the evening.

Recently, I read an article from Krystal at Moneyville that I really connected with.  Krystal identifies this ‘peer pressure spending’ issue and suggests some alternate activities for hanging out with your friends.

This got me thinking – I often go out with friends because I don’t have an alternate suggestion. I struggle to come up with frugal date ideas for CF. I over commit my time and money on big events because it’s ‘expected’ of me. In all of these situations, I put myself in the position to be affected by peer pressure an spend more than I planned. In order to take control and suggest cheaper alternatives, I’ve suggested some free and fun activities whether you’re in a group, on a date or just checking things out.


Peruse your local art galleries or museums

Many small galleries and museums offer free admission. For example, the Vancouver Art Gallery offers admission by donation between 5pm and 9pm on Tuesday evenings (it’s in very very small print at the bottom of the page!). Living in Paris, I observed similar deals. At the time, The Louvre offered free admission for students on the last Tuesday of the month. Now, they offer free admission to everyone on the first Sunday of the month. If it happens in Vancouver AND Paris, you can find probably something in your neighborhood as well.

Keep in mind that if you’re looking for art to browse you don’t necessarily need to go to an art gallery. Check out your local art store – there’s nothing wrong with browsing!  Many local artists will also display their works at public markets, community events and coffee shops.


Comedy and theatre shows

Did you know it’s possible to get free tickets to comedy shows? I have seen free tickets posted by the club itself semi-regularly on Craigslist. We emailed, and ended up getting 6 free tickets!  It makes sense when you think about it; the more people at the show, the more money the club will make off drinks and food. I’m sure the comics appreciate a full crowd rather than empty seats as well. Who knows, you may witness the next Russell Peters!

Many theatres will also offer free passes to shows… if you’re willing to put in a bit of work!  During the summer, Vancouver hosts productions of Shakespeare in the park.  These shows are extensively staffed by volunteers.  If you are willing to volunteer a few hours,  you get to see shows for free! When we volunteer for the Vancouver International Wine Festival, we receive tickets to a special volunteer appreciation show. Support the arts, and you’ll get to enjoy it too.


Local events

With summer just around the corner, the number of free festivals and events is about to take off. One of the  highlights for me last year was a Fresh Air Cinema viewing of Mamma Mia.  It was shown on a giant projection screen in the middle of the park. Free, fun and an awesome way to spend a summer evening.

Many cities also have music festivals during the summer.  Coming up next month in Vancouver, we have the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, for example.  Lots of free music, a great atmosphere and a great crowd.

Hopefully some of these ideas will spark an idea or motivate you to do some research into activities in your area. There are a lot of options out there waiting for you to find them.

Posted in: Minimalism and Frugality, Money

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