I have been on a low-to-no budget for all things fun since I first started making my own money. I am not complaining; this continuous money-saving strategy has taught me how to have fun, how to be creative, and how to be appreciative of what I already have. (Though I am by no means the most frugal person I have ever met. The right bargain or newest makeup product in the vegan community typically opens my wallet and empties it of all its contents faster than you can say “PayPal”). Sometimes it can be hard to be on social media when all you see is pictures of that girl from high school with the perfect life that seems to spend all of her free time in the trendiest tropical destination, or your favorite YouTuber that just got back from their second time in London this year. That sort of lifestyle just isn’t in the cards (or, credit cards) for everyone. The struggle is real.
So, what can we do?
Well, we can do what we always did when we were kids. Sure, we always liked the latest and greatest toy, but I remember rolling in laughter playing with bubble wrap or chasing dandelion seeds in the sun. Those activities are nearly free, and in an age where everything is ultra-convenient and sophisticated, sometimes slowing down and reigniting that simple, small person inside of you might just be all you need.
- 1) Revisit your favorite childhood movies, in a childlike fashion. It can really be an interesting experience to sit yourself down and watch a movie the same way you did when you were a kid. For example, my favorite Disney movie growing up was Aladdin, and watching it cross-legged on the floor in pajamas with a bowl of Apple Jacks in my hands now, as a twenty-four-year-old, makes me equally as excited as the prospect of going to Cancun. Just saying.
- 2) Visit a dollar store and go HAM. One of my favorite memories with an ex of mine is the day we decided to blow like $30 at the Dollar Tree. Our best investment was probably foot-long bubble wands, that we then held outside of the car window the entire way home, filling the highway with bubbles and getting plenty of confused looks from passersby. Yep, no regrets. It’s crazy how much a sudsy bubble automatically links to “fun” in your mind, and while it is not scientifically proven, I do strongly feel as though you can’t really blow bubbles and frown.
- 3) Do something artistic that you would not normally do. The sad thing is that I know plenty of adults that probably have not picked up a crayon, paintbrush, or oil pastel since they were forced to as a ten-year-old. It’s sad that we sneer at the “usefulness” of artistic talent in the modern day, often condemning art students for their choice in major and snickering thinking of the prospects of their future. What people don’t see is that art’s use is to remind you of your own inherent usefulness, connecting you with the power to move others or recreate all by the means of your own body and some simple tools. I challenge you to sketch your favorite tree, with no electronics to guide or separate you from the nature around you, and tell me that you don’t feel something you didn’t before.