25 Ideas for Frugal Fun

by adustyframe ~ April 29th, 2009

Frugality is a fact of life for us. My family never had much money when I was growing up, but I never really knew it.

My Mom made being frugal fun. We love a good thrift store trip and rummage sales are fun too. We learned to create our own fun and use what we owned.

At Christmas, we used to tell each other what a great bargain we got on the gifts. My dad would say, “You guys! Don’t tell how much you spent!” But we loved hearing the awesome deals.

When Lee and I were first married, we both worked full time but still lived frugally.

It’s sort of like a game with us even though now  it’s also  a  necessity.

I don’t do every frugal thing I could do. Sometimes, I don’t have the time or energy to go off the deep end. But even though our frugality is very forced right now, I’ve learned that we can survive with so much less than we think we can.

One attitude that helps during forced frugality is contenment. Focusing on what we have rather than we don’t have makes all the difference in the world.

Here are some ideas that we use.

1. Use the library. We check out DVD’s, CD’s, books, pattern books, idea books, project books, and more there.

I save a lot of money by using the library. Ours seems to have a nice selection of Christian fiction and the DVD’s are fairly recent so we get free entertainment.

2. Take a walk.

3. Play at the Park

4. Invite friends over to play

5. Use what you have–I have plenty of craft projects to keep me busy for ages. James has plenty of toys to keep him busy too. Sometimes just getting out something  long forgotten is enough to spark some excitement.

6. Try a new recipe

7.  Build a bon fire in your backyard–of course if you don’t do this safely the end result won’t be frugal! Invite friends over and have everyone bring a  Smore ingredient for some extra fun.

8. Take advantage of community events— Our area has a church that offers concerts once a month, the downtown green space has concerts every Wednesday during lunch hour in the summer, as well as other events. Take time to find out what’s going on in your area and take advantage of the free stuff.

9. Do an art project or science experiment together.

10. Have a contest with family members. My sisters and I used to have belching contests (blush!)  but they were awfully fun and caused a lot of laughs. Of course we never did this at inappropriate times! You could try a bubble blowing contest.

11. Play a game. Pick one that’s been in the back of the cupboard.

12. Sing in the car or around the piano–be silly even. Sing opera style with lots of vibrato and silly faces and both arms held out.

13. Garden–give your children a corner to plant something of their own choosing.

14. Observe birds in your yard. Put out feeders and see which birds visit.

15. Look through your photo albums and share memories.

16. Read a chapter book together. Snuggle on the couch and read a chapter each night. What warm memories you’ll create with your kids–for free!

17. Swap. Swap games, movies, or books with friend. Enjoy their favorites for a change of pace.

18. Have a marathon night–it could be a marthon movie night, or game night, or craft night.  We did this at Christmas when my siblings were here. We watched Christmas movies all afternoon on Christmas Eve.

19. Lay in the yard and watch the stars. You can lay in the grass and read stories on a sunny afternoon too.

20. Sleep outside.

21. Build  a “fort” with boards or bricks. My sisters and I made a brick fort with the neighborhood kids one year. Their mom gave us a piece of carpet and we all dragged bricks and stones and wood over to their yard. We built and elaborate club house complete with rooms and chairs. We played together for hours on end having our own free fun.

22. See how many ways you can spice up popcorn. Make it a family contest to think up ideas. Try them together. Pizza, parmesan, carmel, spice, chocolate, M&M, etc. What can you think of?

23. Learn to enjoy just being together. Sitting outside together, snuggling on the couch, playing games, reading together–just being. If you learn to enjoy time with one another and look at being together as the fun, there’s much less to be “bored” about.

24. Repurpose things–use what you have and make do with repurposed items. Toilet paper rolls could be bowling pins, pots can be drums, anything you have can probably be used for something else for your frugal fun. Put on your thinking caps.

25. Be silly with one another. It doesn’t cost anything to use your own vocabulary, have a tickle party, skip around the block, play hopscotch, or sing at the top of your lungs in the car.



9 Thoughts Shared to 25 Ideas for Frugal Fun

  1. Beth

    I really loved your list. I laughed at some, like #10. I really enjoy your blog.

  2. Jane Anne

    This list is so encouraging. Thanks for sharing it. All of these things are great reminders to me that my kids will have fun when I am purposeful about what we do. I don’t have to spend money to have fun!

    My latest post: Deceived by Complacency

  3. Jerri

    Great list. We love to have marathon nights! I’m thinking about going to thrift stores more often, too…

  4. Stacey

    GRAET post!!! I love your idea’s. I thought I would add one more. Lowes hardware stores have a free event every weekend where parents and children can build a project together. The children also get a free apron with their first class.

  5. Stacey

    ugg..I need to spell check before I send these things…lol. GREAT post 🙂

  6. Pam

    I wrote a book two years ago called Creating Happy Memories. It is filled with fun memories and traditions that you can create for little or NO money. I became a single mom when my daughter was 10 and was very interested in providing low or no cost memories for her. If you are interested it is available at Amazon and I give all of my royalties to the children’s program at our local Homeless Center.God Bless

  7. theprincessofquitealot

    FANTASTIC. Also story time at the library and several of our local craft stores have free make and takes for kids on Saturdays.

  8. ashley @ twentysixcats

    A great list! One word though, the library is NOT very frugal if you always forget to return the books on time! 😉 hehe We never are around our library in our daily wanderings, and it’s a pretty trafficky ride to get there so we put it off… we finally just returned a book yesterday that was a week overdue! Sigh. :-p

  9. lynn@queenofthecastlerecipes

    What a terrific list. We enjoy lots of the same things 🙂