Family out on for a hike on a nice day.

How To Be Frugal And Fun At The Same Time

Jamie Johnson5-minute read
February 02, 2022

One of the biggest misconceptions about saving money is that you can’t be frugal and enjoy your life at the same time. Many people assume that going on a budget means they have to give up their social life. 

But this couldn’t be further from the truth – there are tons of fun things to do for free. This article will explain how you can be fun and frugal at the same time, and give you 10 cool things to do on a budget. 

How Can I Have Fun Without Spending Money?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer spending increased by 1.9% from 2017 to 2018. The average American brought in $78,635 before taxes and had $61,224 to spend after taxes. 

Here is a small overview of how the average American spends money:

  • $4,464 on eating at home
  • $3,459 on dining at restaurants
  • $1,866 on apparel and services
  • $3,405 on entertainment
  • $3,226 on personal care products

By eliminating just a portion of that money, you could add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your savings account every year. And cutting back on restaurants and entertainment doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy yourself. 

Frugality isn’t about cutting out everything you enjoy; it’s about spending more carefully so you can save for the future. And there are many fun things to do for cheap or without spending any money at all. 

What Can I Do That’s Fun And Cheap?

If you’re trying to cut back on spending, but you still want to have a good time, here are 10 fun things to do on a budget. 

1. Stay Up To Date On Free Local Attractions

There are probably many free local attractions you’ve been overlooking. For instance, local zoos often mail out free tickets to taxpayers every few months. 

And local museums and aquariums may offer free or discounted tickets periodically. Your city may occasionally host free concerts and movie nights. And local restaurants will often have bands come to play and won’t charge a cover for patrons who stay and enjoy the music. 

2. Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market

If you’re looking to save money on food, one of the best ways to do this is by visiting your local farmer’s market. You’ll pay less for fruits and veggies than what you would have paid at the grocery store, and the quality is often much better. Plus, it’s just a great way to spend a Saturday morning. 

3. Take A Tour Of Your City

Most cities offer free tours to residents and visitors. A walking excursion can be a great way to play tourist in your own town, and even learn a few things you didn’t know before. To find out more information, you can check with your city’s local Chamber of Commerce. 

4. Visit Your Local Library

The library is always a great source of free entertainment. Not only can you find books for free, but you can check out audiobooks, TV shows, and movies as well. Your local library may also host free classes and events.

The library is also perfect for parents who are looking for inexpensive ways to entertain young children. Many libraries provide free reading challenges, storytimes, arts and crafts, and other educational activities. 

5. Shop At Local Thrift Stores

If you love to shop but don’t want to spend tons of money on clothes, checking out local thrift stores is a great option. Many have a large selection of high-quality clothes for a fraction of what you’d pay at a department store. You’ll help the environment and your wallet. 

6. Spend Some Time Outdoors

The outdoors is always free and can provide some of the best entertainment you’ll ever find. You can go hiking, go for a run, take a bike ride, or even take a walk around the block. And going outside for your exercise is a great way to avoid paying for a monthly gym membership. 

7. Volunteer As An Usher At A Local Theater

If you love going to see plays and musicals, then you could volunteer to be an usher and see these shows for free. You’ll show up 60 – 90 minutes before the performance begins, and receive your assignments. Once the preparations are over, you can stay, find an empty seat, and enjoy the show.

8. Host A Yard Sale

Not only is hosting a yard sale free, but it’s a great way to earn a little extra money. When you own a home, it’s easy to start collecting unwanted clothes, furniture, and toys over the years.

So why not gather up all of these items and host a yard sale? You’ll clear up some space in your home and earn extra money. Just make sure to check with your homeowners association to see if they have any restrictions on when you can host a yard sale. 

9. Sign Up To Be A Mystery Shopper

If you’re a foodie who loves to try out different restaurants, then you should look into being a mystery shopper. Mystery shoppers can earn free meals and outings in exchange for providing the company with feedback. You can also earn retail rewards at stores like Best Buy or Estee Lauder. 

You’re not going to make a lot of money as a mystery shopper. And you will have to front the costs until the company reimburses you. But it’s a great way to earn a little extra money and still get to do the activities you enjoy. 

10. Host A Movie Night For Friends And Family 

It’s no secret that going to the movies can get pretty pricey, especially when you add in the cost of food and drinks. So why not host your own movie night at home and invite your friends and family to join you?

Even better, if you have a movie projector, you could make it an outdoor movie night under the stars. Pull out some blankets, pop some popcorn, and you can have a fun movie night without breaking the bank. 


Many people pair frugality with deprivation and boredom, but this doesn’t have to be the case. By intentionally looking for free and inexpensive activities, you can cut down on your spending while still having fun. Once your spending is under control, you can do things like save an emergency fund and give yourself more financial breathing room. For more articles like this one, check out our personal finance learning center.

Jamie Johnson

Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about a variety of personal finance topics, including loans, building credit, and paying down debt. She currently writes for clients like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Insider, and Bankrate.