4 Cheap Ways to Spend Your Free Time


If your life is anything like mine, getting your kids to eat their broccoli while brushing their teeth and making their bed at the same time is easier than finding a few minutes of time for yourself. For some time, my husband was convinced that I either had the smallest bladder in the world or a serious kidney problem because I was always sneaking off to the bathroom for minutes at a time. It would be a conservative estimate to say that about 70 percent of the time I was really sitting on the bathtub reading a book or magazine with the door locked.

When money is tight, using those rare moments of free time for something fun might be even harder. However, take advantage of those rare moments we must, if we want to stay sane. If you are on a tight budget, here are a few ways to make the most of a little time alone.

1. Hit the library.
I have often thought that if a zombie apocalypse were to strike my city, I would be okay if I locked myself in the library. Thousands of books, mostly comfortable couches and indoor plumbing would tide me over for at least a few months. The library is heavenly for budget-minding families. You can check out books, magazines, CDs and even some new movies. If your local branch does not have a movie you are looking for, you can have them send it from another location — free! Sometimes I will drop my youngest off at preschool and go to a comfortable spot at the library for an hour to catch up on a book.

2. Give yourself a pedicure.
This is best done when your children are sleeping or far enough away that they will not smell the nail polish fumes and come charging at you like a raging bull. Pop some popcorn, but on your favorite CD or movie and get to decorating your toes. I find it a little more grownup to try bold colors on my toenails because if it looks too bad, I can just slip on socks, and since I don’t have to wash the dishes with my feet, the polish job lasts longer.

3. Take pictures of anything but your children.
I hope I am not the only one who fancies herself an undiscovered genius with the camera. Grab your camera and head out to get some artistic shots. You will get some free time to think and you may end up with a few pictures worthy of hanging on your wall. If you are lousy with the camera, try a sketchpad or a notebook and get your creative juices flowing.

4. Go to a movie.
Two words for you: dollar theater. Most cities have some type of discounted movie theater. For someone on a budget they are an easy way to see some of the latest movies at a fraction of the cost. Our local cheap theater shows movies a few weeks after they leave the expensive cinemas. For $2 and the cost of concessions for one, you can actually sit through an entire movie and eat your snacks without having to answer questions, take someone to the bathroom, or share your popcorn.

I crave quiet time. It isn’t that I don’t love my kids and I don’t want to spend time with them, but between household chores, homework, school runs and my writing, I hardly have a minute to think straight. When I get the chance, I make a run for it and take advantage of whatever time I can scrape together!

What do you like to do in your free time?

 Photo credit: Thinkstock