Today we’re discussing frugal forms of entertainment. What entertainment have you discovered that costs little or no money?

I guess for me that would have to include taking photos. Sure, I had to buy the camera. But then the rest is free. I like to drive to favorite places and take scenic photos. That costs only a bit of gas because those two places are 3-4 miles away.

Also frugal entertainment, or no cost entertainment, is in the form of the books I get to read before they’re on the store shelves. I like to read real books, but lately I’ve been reading on my Kindle so I don’t have books to store. Plus it’s easier to hold with my aching hands.

Gardening isn’t exactly free. But the pure enjoyment I get out of watching things grow, of taking photos of new blooms, is free of charge. And then I publish them here for you to see as well.

Then of course after you get your garden going, you can later divide plants and thus have free plants to put elsewhere or give to a friend or neighbor. Just puttering in the dirt with a spade is fun for me.

This online article explains that Prozac and other anti-depressants may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential.

You might want to read this article online about exposure to the bacteria in soil.

Your garden has its own microbiome, and research suggests it’s good for you. Our health depends on the flourishing microbiome in our guts—and on how much of the natural world’s microbiome we let infiltrate.

The companionship of my animals is pure unadulterated joy. Yes, it costs money to feed and medicate them and take them to the vet sometimes. But they’re worth it. They’re so very worth it.

Otherwise I like to move furniture, change up tables and vignettes. That’s free. I like to shop my apartment and switch things up.

Looking around at my peaceful surroundings is free. I so enjoy being a homebody.

Please share your tips for free or frugal entertainment in the comments.

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  1. We can all find free ways to entertain ourselves. Great suggestions here. Family, nature, pets, reading are great things to do.

  2. We started our plants this weekend putting seeds in the packs to plant this spring. Still too cold to work the raised beds to plant early spring vegetables as the dirt is still frozen. Ruit trees and bushes were pruned earlier this winter and I am looking forward to getting out in my garden to plant and enjoy the quality time there. It is great for your well being all around.

  3. Oh my adopted Oklahoma City has grown but many of the updated neighborhoods can be crowded for a first time visit. I like Sunday mornings to load up the dogs and walk in this neighborhoods without the chaos of too many people and stress me and the pups.

  4. We like going to the movies when it is dollar day. We also like taking photos, but since we sometimes use film, I don’t know if that part of it is considered frugal since it costs and arm and 3 legs to have it developed. We use the 4×5 film in our graflex cameras…a total workout to use those…which helps with gym costs. 🙂 Love and hugs!

  5. I appreciate everyone’s comments. I don’t have anything earth-shaking to add. I also read, and use the library or buy used online. We have beautiful city parks around here, so we use those quite a bit for walking. Our state parks are nice, too, and don’t cost much, relatively speaking. I love Netflix and Amazon Prime – such good television, cheaper than cable, and you can watch when you want to. I also like crafting, but as my life is very busy right now (sandwich generation!) I don’t have as much time for that as I would like. I find that a stash of craft supplies can last me years! And, I must try those junk journals! Finally, I also like sitting on the back porch, tending our backyard garden, and watching the birds.

  6. Good evening Brenda, I am late to the party but lucky for me to be able to read so many interesting and lovely comments. I rarely watch tv and do not go to the movies, but we have Amazon Prime so when my husband wants to watch a movie we stream it from there. I LOVe reading and have Kindle Unlimited, I did read 59 books on it last year but I am not sure f I am going to keep it this year because I am not sure are that many great books. I do read a lot of books on my Kindles from my library and I get a lot of great books for free. Sometimes I buy books from the thrift store or the library and of course Amazon. I used to buy a lot of books but I am really trying to pare down on that. When we moved 10 years ago we donated over 350 books and these past 5 years I donated another 200. I also send a to family and a friend who then share them with others who do not live near libraries.

    I love walking and if I can do it at the ocean or the bay it is even better. I am so lucky that my entire life I have lived wither by the ocean or one of the Great Lakes. The sand between my toes and the sound of the water lapping at the shore brings me such peace.

    The way I relax is to bake and although not all recipes are frugal I think it is worth it because I love to share with my family and friends and that makes it worth whatever it costs.

    Puzzles are a great way to relax and they are pretty inexpensive but you can also buy them at the thrift store.

    There are also tons of free online classes, I am taking a class right now on Art History and I love it!

    Sharing your plants, books, puzzles, and food with others is a great way to be frugal because often times the people with whom you share reciprocate and share the same with you!

    Have a great night Brenda, Ivy and Charlie.

  7. Gosh, I think everything I do and enjoy for frugal entertainment has been mentioned! Reading is a major one for me and I use my public library or our neighborhood Little Library or I buy books for cheap from a thrift store and then donate them back when I’ve read them. One thing I find to be great entertainment is reading my blogs online. Yours is at the top of the list, Brenda! Of course that costs a little for electricity for running the computer and sometimes the printer if I want to save something, plus the cost to have the internet. I guess that’s sort of frugal, not sure!

    In the past photography has been very entertaining, not so much lately. And when I was doing it a lot it was when we used film and that was, indeed, expensive. I miss that, though.

    I have been planning to get into doing “mixed media” art including art journaling which is like making “junk journals”, mentioned above. I have collected a ton of ephemera and “stuff” to use but haven’t actually sat down and put together anything yet.

    Then, there’s digging in the dirt! Like you said, Brenda, gardening isn’t always frugal, but by watching for sales on plants, seeds, and other supplies you can cut cost some. And as you said it’s so healthy for your gut, not to mention one’s attitude and outlook. And if that saves some doctor bills then I think it could qualify as frugal!

    This post has garnered a truck-load of great suggestions for frugality in the area of entertainment. It was a great idea and I think will be a good reference for me for information, especially about on-line movies and other entertainment that I’m not so savvy about. Thanks to all of you who responded with your own ways of being frugally entertained. And to you, Brenda, for posting on the topic.

    Hope the weekend is fun and “entertaining” for everyone!

    1. One thing about photography now: you can delete what you want and never have to print them out if you choose not to. I take so many photos I’d be in the poor house if I printed even a portion of them!

  8. I enjoy creating tablescapes and switching things up around the house. I also enjoy reading books on my Kindle app on my tablet, with my Dixie by my side. I get some books from Bookbub, but recently I downloaded the Libby app which allows me to”borrow” ebooks from my library. I also enjoy working with my plants and recently started rooting new plants from cuttings.

  9. These are mostly activities that my sister does, as she is a very active retiree: does the crossword puzzles and cryptograms in the newspaper, attends meetings of the local historical society, attends events sponsored by the community arts council (annual art show, artist demonstrations, concerts), attends the business expo (receives lots of free promotional items such as pens and notepads), and county extension programs on cooking and gardening. We also have many seasonal activities that are free, such as a hike in the state park sponsored by the state parks department on New Year’s Day, Cinco de Mayo street fair, Fourth of July fireworks display, and Christmas cantatas by some of our local churches. Thank you, Brenda, for this topic. It makes me feel very blessed to think of what we have available and to read the excellent suggestions of others who have commented.

  10. I am just loving this Blog ! I am finding out that there are so many other ladies out there who think in many of the same ways as me !

    I enjoy all of the activities already mentioned. When sitting on one of my porches, I also like to listen to the birds, and watch them flying around my garden. Sometimes the cloud formations are so beautiful, that I just enjoy looking at them.
    My outdoor clothesline is one of my pleasures. I have a nice washing machine with a large stainless steel tub in my small combination downstairs washroom/laundry room which is not far from my back porch, and clothesline. Today, for the first time this year it is a balmy 7 degrees above freezing, so I washed a throw that I used a lot over my legs after knee surgery. It did need to be freshened up, and it is out on the line now. It will smell wonderful when I bring it in. A few other things are on my indoor dryers, putting humidity into the air, which makes it easier for me to breathe, and it cuts down on colds/flu if you don’t breathe too much of that warm dry air in the house during winter. Soon I will be able to dry my sheets, and most of my other things out on the line. I love the smell of the fresh outdoors in them. I never use a dryer anymore.
    I know some people do not like to shop in Thrift Stores, but I find the Church Thrift Stores and Rummage Sales in my area are well run, a real thrilling treasure hunt, and the items are always clean. I have never had a problem, but I wash things as soon as I bring them home anyway. Even some thrift stores seem to have higher prices on some things than I would like, so lately I have been going when the Church Thrift stores have ” all you can put in a bag for $2.00 days. Yesterday I found a wonderful taupe trenchcoat, just like new for myself, an Alfred Sung top, a beautiful bright green jacket I will wear on St. Patrick’s Day to an Irish Stew Dinner at my Church, and at those prices, I could also add a beautiful Old Navy little girl’s quilted coat with a hood, for a friend’s grandaughter. When I gave it to my friend, she was so happy. It did not look like it had ever been worn. We do not have to pay tax at charity sales either, and our taxes in Ontario are way too high ! Now she has a lovely gift for her dear little one. I have all the basics I need, so I mainly restrict my shopping for clothing and small housewares, as well as books, to these kinds of sales. It is more of a challenge, and so much fun. I find my gardening clothes there, as well as some other beautiful things, so it is an outing, and it does not cost me anything but a bit of gas. I don’t drive far, but when I do, it is a lovely drive in the countryside. It is just one of my favourite things to do, and it does not strain my frugal budget. I have found some great cast iron cookware for a song too, but that is another story !

    1. I have a European style washer. You can put it on dry, but it doesn’t dry very well. I just layer my laundry around my apartment. Over the lampshades on either side of my couch right now are pillow cases drying.

  11. I’m a rather simple person, so I don’t need or spend much for “entertainment”. Like you, I’m pleased by life’s simple joys. Reading is my biggest form of entertainment but I get most of my books from the library. Or else I buy them used (online or library book sales). I do like to go out to eat with family and/or friends, but there are usually coupons or LocalFlavor deals. I take walks in our beautiful State Park – that’s free. Sometimes we walk around the antique mall, not even buying anything but getting a kick out of looking at all the old stuff. Going to the library is free. Park District classes are free or very minimal charge. Same with classes at the local community college. In the summer, our town and most of the Chicago-area towns have free concerts in the park.

  12. Our only form of “entertainment” that costs is our internet! We sometimes talk about even cancelling it, as is $70 a month, and could be better spent on getting out a little more (gas, food). But it IS our main form of entertainment – Roku stick which has MANY free streaming channels.. and we pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime (which we are also maybe going to cancel). Amazon’s Prime movies are so old and hardly ever seem to get replaced with different ones. I do love watching YouTube with my Roku stock or on my computer. Others things, we don’t have and refuse to pay for, like fancy cell phones (we both have a cheap little track phone), Satellite or Cable TV (we have an indoor antenna for free), expensive cars, paying for haircuts (I do them), having my nails done (which some gals pay more for per month than we do for our internet), eating out. Our big meal out is about once a month at Dairy Queen for their “$5 meal deal”!! Hardly ever eat out, though we would like to a little more, but just can’t afford it.

    I love living close to our library… I believe in free books and not buying ebooks. I do have a tablet (given to me) and I sometimes download a free book from some of the free sites. I tend to like a real book so have two small bookshelves just for my special books. Our library also has a “free” book area which I use every time I go, and then I return them when done. They also have monthly classes on crafting for free or very minimal fee and I use the free Hoopla movies through our library system. You can watch 12 a month at no charge. Love that!

    I love to craft and sew.. and have such a stash from past years, that I use that and seldom buy anything for crafting. My big splurge is an occasional paper pad of the gorgeous papers. Oh.. another thing that is almost free and that I love…. getting FREE digital papers online… I can print them out as many times as I want and use them. I also love cruising Etsy for their digital papers and clip art to use in my crafting… many sites have $1 deals.. and the search is as fun as downloading some pretty papers for free or very little expense. There are quite a few blogs out there that have free printables that are just beautiful, for cards, scrapbooking, etc.

    Instead of paying the hefty costs of buying ink for my HP printer, I use HP Instant Ink and pay a monthly fee, anywhere from $4.99 up to $14.99 and I can print out as much as I want and they ship the ink when it gets low, so I always have ink and it’s so much cheaper! I was using the $4.99 fee which was fine, but I’ve been printing more papers out so I now pay $9.99 a month for just about unlimited printing of gorgeous papers. Beats paying $60.00 every month or every 6 weeks!

    And of course, reading, crocheting, sitting outside, gardening, walking, drives, are mostly all free. I do love our cats but having pets is really expensive and wish we didn’t have that expense. We must spend at least $70 a month on feeding them and litter, plus our last vet bill for our 2nd rescue kitty was $500! So not having pets would sure cut down on costs.. but they are also such a joy.

    I do like the idea of junk journals but have as yet to make them. Many gals use cereal boxes, etc. for their little albums and for making tags, etc. which I think is a great idea.
    Love your frugal Friday! It’s free!!

    1. I think I’ve had my nails done one time, and it was because I was getting married the next day. I just don’t see the point. I don’t color my hair. I get it cut at Supercuts. I’m not high maintenance when it comes to things like that.

      1. I was so sick of my hair hanging in long limp strands that in an effort to save the money I hacked at it myself. Yes, I should have known better. Now I’m too embarrassed to go get it fixed.
        Picture hair cut by five year old with school scissors.

        1. I should have also mentioned that I have a small phobia about being touched by strangers. Never had a massage. Never will. One manicure and one pedicure was enough for me. Another thing I’ll never do again. I did have my hair regularly highlighted and cut for my job but I’ve never enjoyed it.

          1. I fully understand, I hated having strangers in my personal space. I dreaded going to the salon and I especially hated haved my hair yanked when they tried to comb it out and having my head jerked around by rude stylists who didn’t do as I asked to add insult to injury. I have had my husband cut my hair for me since we first started dating. He does a great job, my hair always looks great and I even have had two of my friends ask him to cut their hair for them as well. I enjoy having him gently comb out my hair, it is so relaxing and he never jerks my head around. He moves around me and rotates the stool to work on different parts of my hair. I have him comb and braid my hair for me as it is pampering for me. I do admit I am horrible cutting hair and my children fired me from doing their haircuts and my mother has me color her hair, but will not let me cut I know better than to try and cut my own. My sympathies for your bad haircut. Perhaps your husband or a family member would be willing to cut your hair for you next time.

  13. Simple things bring a smile to my face. Spending time with Molly, my Chorkie, working on needlepoint Christmas stockings, reading a good mystery book and sitting in my rocking chair on the porch enjoying the sounds of nature as well as sometimes sitting on my neighbor’s porch enjoying each other’s company. All of the above I love and do as much as possible.
    Brenda, I’m sorry that red cabinet didn’t work out as it looked adorable. You’ll find something else or you will come up with a terrific alternative that won’t cost you anything!
    Enjoy your weekend!
    Carol and Molly

  14. I found a local theater with $1.99 admission for movies that have completed their first run. (A box of popcorn was $7.49, No Way!! lol) As others have posted, I have always enjoyed reading. I don’t have cable and use an indoor antenna for local stations. I am not a fan of the current reality tv shows, but like watching some of the oldies – Law and Order (the original), Hill Street Blues, Nash Bridges (Cheech Marin is so funny), Numbers. And I walk as much as possible. I like it, and it’s my major form of exercise.

  15. We love movies but never go to the theater. Because one of us cannot go without buying pop corn and soda. Me! And we refuse to pay for cable. We had it for a few months once but never watched it. Now we have Netflix and love it. Under $20 per months for lots of movies.

    We occasionally eat out, mostly at Subway. Under $5 for each of us and it’s healthy.

    Our highlight is watching Jeopardy and we are so sad to learn of Alex Trebek’s cancer diagnosis.

      1. I forgot to mention books – I love to read and read a lot, but I refuse to pay for books. Our local library has tons of books and get new ones all the time. I’m not one to keep books after I read then, even if someone gave it to me, so no, I never purchase books.

  16. When I retired I discovered the joys of making and using ‘junk journals.’ They can be made with virtually any paper , even junk mail. Covers can be made with food boxes (cereal boxes are ideal). They can be used for journaling, and a place to store daily ephemera in creative and artistic ways. I absolutely love it and it is virtually free. Plus I love the creativity involved! If you look up Junk Journals on Pinterest or google you’ll see that they can be anything you want them to be, from junky and funky to elaborate and gorgeous works of art.

      1. Be careful. You may become addicted like I have. :0) But what a wonderful, fun, creative and almost free hobby to have! An added bonus is going back and looking through your creations. Try it!

      1. Give it a try! There are no rules, and all you really need for supplies is scissors and glue. You inspire us. I hope I’ve inspired you! :0)

    1. I am not familiar with ‘junk journals’ but now I’m intrigued. I’ve lost all interest in most of my hobbies so I’m searching for something new. Trudy, thank you so much for sharing!

  17. Hi, Brenda,
    My library offers free art classes on Sunday afternoons – including the supplies! I love to play around with color pencils, pastels and other mediums. If I stay home, I tend to do chores so the offsite classes are wonderful, thought-provoking and relaxing.
    I also enjoy crochet and learning new patterns. I find yarn at clean resale shops as a frugal resource. Here at work I’m able to listen to music that has birds singing in the background which is beautiful to me.
    I was blown away about the “happy” microbes in dirt – I had no idea. I also like to go barefoot in my yard, it gives me such a feeling of connection with creation.
    All the best to you!

        1. Oh yes, our local library has many free classes and programs, too! For kids, families and adults.

          And speaking of the microbiomes in the earth and in our guts (which is so important as to why we should eat healthy and not fill our guts with processed food), supposedly standing outside in the grass or ground barefoot is good for us. It’s called “earthing”. Look it up – so interesting! 🙂

  18. I too enjoy reading and I like going to the library book sales, where I can get books for 50 cents or $1 apiece. In fact, I’m going to one tomorrow. It’s the thrill of the hunt that’s fun (finding a book I’ve been wanting to read). Another library close by has a “fill a bag for $1” on their last day of the sale. There’s also a Little Library in town and one at the park where you can “leave a book” and “take a book”. I’ve found some good ones that way. Lastly, I swap books with a lady I work with and also with a lady at the dentist where I go. Every six months (dental cleaning) I take a couple boxes or bags to her and she gives me the same. It’s a reason to look forward to going to the dentist! But mostly I love to walk in the woods with my dog.

    1. If I have books I give them to either Nathan or my daughter (they like different genres) and then my daughter gives her books to her church.

  19. Here on the northeast coast of Florida and living in a historic city, there are lots of opportunities to entertain oneself frugally. Certainly one favorite is to get up early to walk the beach and listen to the waves, watch the boats enter/leave the harbor, watch the shore birds, and look for dolphins. I live close to a marina on the intracoastal so sometimes my morning walk is to walk the boat docks at the marina and look at the many different sailboats, fishing charter boats, trawlers, etc. The pelicans are always hanging out hoping for a handout from the local fishermen and the dolphins come into the marina during high tide chasing schools of fish.

    Also, we have many historical attractions that offer discounts to senior citizens and to the locals. There are various parks that are either free of charge or charge a nominal fee to enter. Several art museums offer free admission especially if they are featuring local artists. Walking the streets in the historic district is of course free and I always take photos of the colorful gardens, the gorgeous garden gates, and the various cats hoping for a treat or two.

    I love to read and our local library is within walking distance so I am rarely without a good book to read. And the library offers many free courses or charges nominal fees.

    I have enjoyed reading this post and reading the comments from others. Thank you Brenda.

  20. Sitting on my swing and listening to the birds in the trees is one of my favorite forms of entertainment in the warm months….working in my garden, playing with my pups, and reading all the free books I download from my library.

  21. I quit cable a while ago, and now have a Roku and subscribe to Netflix and PlayStation Vue. I also have an indoor antenna which gives me local stations but I rarely watch anything on the antenna as I have more than I need on the Roku.
    Netflix is a wonderful resource and has enough on it to watch that I could easily have only it for my entertainment needs. I just finished a series called ” Travelers” which is sci fi about time travel and I was totally addicted to the show.
    I really do not need PlayStation but I keep it as I am addicted to HGTV. I especially love all the shows about moving to other places in the world, especially Tropical places. I enjoy seeing how people in other countries live, what their homes are like, etc.
    I also read a lot, as we have a library here in my apartment complex and residents are constantly turning in new books. I have a small bookcase in my bedroom and it is full of books I have not read yet. I mostly like books that increase my spirituality, or teach me something, but occasionally I like a good novel as well.
    And lastly, I am so fortunate to live in a senior community and have lots of good friends here and we play bingo weekly as well as two days of card playing. We also have potlucks and celebrate birthdays.
    Life is very good for me.

  22. Wow, can’t beat your list, Brenda…all great ideas!! I like to read and research…even if I never use anything I learn…so those only take time. And if I buy books, I try to get them used on Amazon or some like place. We enjoy the scenery around here while out and about doing errands. It is some of the best I do think!!

  23. I’m a home body also and love to read. I have access to audiotapes for free which is such a bonus. I really enjoy that, especially when I’m cleaning.

    There isn’t a theatre around here and I’m not crazy about them anyway, too many people and too much crackling of bags. Anyway, I use firestick from Amazon and because I have Amazon Prime, I can watch free movies and get a free kindle book a month with joining anything. I also pay 4.99 a month for Acorn Tv which is on the firestick. All British and Australian tv/movies, which I absolutely love.

    I don’t watch regular tv anymore and have found that i’ve given myself the greatest gift by doing so. No news, especially bad news. It’s not as if I’m going to jump up and solve the problems.

    I do order books, learning more about spirituality, really wonderful.

    And, of course, my baby yorkie, Dixie, is so cute, even if she is a pill half the time. Sooo worth it.

  24. Good morning,
    For me, I watch classic black and white films on You Tube (I don’t have a TV except the old fashion kind) and I love to do on-line research.

    Blessings to all,
    Lorie in Ecuador

  25. I’ve loved to read since I was a child.
    I think Kindle is frugal entertainment,there are many sites online that offer free ebooks,including Amazon.
    It also works towards my minimalistic side, I have a lot of ebooks that would take up a lot of space in my small home,so that’s a win all the way around.
    There’s also the library but I live in snowy upstate N.Y. and sometimes I just don’t feel like getting the car warmed up etc.
    Happy weekend to all!

  26. Cleaning and organizing are fun for me. It is also relaxing. I also like to make lists and plans. That calms me.

      1. I can relate to this comment. I also like making lists, and when I am upset I also clean and organize, especially when I am feeling out of control of my life.

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