Guest Article: Freedom for Free

Logo of Groupon
Logo of Groupon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

contributed by Vikonda Morales

With unemployment being rather common and raises in the workplace being rather rare, people are seeking out entertainment that is available for either a low cost or no cost at all. While some individuals might say that absolutely everything in life is expensive, this is certainly not the case to me!

Always Free
Some activities have always been free. Take children down to the local playground for an entertaining day spent on the swings, slide or running through a sprinkler system. Even adults can venture to a nearby state park, where walking around the track, sitting by the lake with a packed picnic lunch from home or exploring the natural wonders of the area will not cost a dime. Contact the department of recreation in your area to see if the park will play host to any outdoor concerts, festivals or classes, as these events are often available at a low cost. Events and activities such as these are often quite popular during the summer. Consider the possibilities of at home activities as well. Eat dinner under the tree with your sweetheart or plan a pot luck pool party with your closest friends.Stick with Known Sources
Ask your local church, temple or the school that your children attend if they will be hosting any upcoming events. For example, parishes often have festivals, carnivals or other such happenings in the summer. While the attractions, games and rides might cost a little bit of money, people can control how much they spend at these gatherings quite easily. Perhaps there will even be live music, so teenagers could grab an inexpensive bottle of lemonade and a pretzel and settle down to listen to their favorite local bands playing music through the night.

Network with Locals
Finding out where your friends discover free or low cost activities is another method of saving a few dollars. Ask for recommendations from parents at school or neighbors. See if any local pools or children’s play areas would let you and a friend split a membership, so that the cost is not as high as it would be if only one person paid. Furthermore, consider forming a club with people who share interests with you. For example, you and a few friends who love to read could start your own book club, and game aficionados could get together once a week for a few rounds of cards. Perhaps you can swap DVDs, board games or more.

Deals and Coupons
Check with the local library to see if they are offering any upcoming classes or programs, as they are often available at a low cost or for free to people who have a library card. Additionally, it’s become quite popular for websites to advertise local deals. Groupon and Living Social, for example, offer reduced price admissions for everything from a romantic restaurant for a date night out to a hotel getaway that the whole family will enjoy. Always browse through the weekly circulars and save coupons from your favorite shops, as you could purchase bargain books for your book club or lower priced cooking supplies for a food making session with friends.

Fortunately, finding free and low cost activities in which to engage is not as much of a hassle as it may seem. Seeking out the right resources and being aware of the scope of activities available are the first steps.

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Vikonda Morales writes about parenting, finances & saving money at www.lifeinsurancequotes.org.
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