15 frugal ways to enjoy life

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5 Frugal Habits That Can Actually Cost You

Frugal living, especially for reformed spenders, is often a difficult habit to embrace. We live in a society that can often make us feel like you must spend money in order to get any enjoyment out of life. Plus, frugality is an easy target to mock since many seem to associate it with eating only rice and beans and giving up even small pleasures.

If you were to ask many who live a frugal life, though, you would find that most enjoy life quite a bit, they just choose to focus their spending on things that will bring them the most value. If you want to live more frugally, or have a more frugal partner, and are looking for ways to enjoy life that cost little to nothing, then some of the below ideas should help.

1. Go to the library.

Going to the library isn't just for checking out a book. Of course, you can do that too, but the library is full of other fun and frugal things to do. At many libraries, you can rent the latest movie, attend story days for kids, participate in book clubs and much more. The cost is usually is next to nothing plus it's a great way to learn something new or make new friends.

2. Have a board game night.

When was the last time you had a game night as a family? Instead of spending money to go to the theater, have a night in by hosting a family board game night. Make a few snacks together and enjoy time together instead of tuning out.

3. Go to the museum or the zoo.

Depending on where you live, you may have a number of museums or even a zoo nearby. While most will have some cost to enter, many offer free days during the summer or donation days. Most zoos advertise such days on their website so make sure to check them out before deciding when to go.

4. Go for a hike.

You don't get much more frugal than doing something in the outdoors. If you want to get some fresh air and get away from it all then go for a hike. Hiking isn't just for those who live near mountains; many cities have hiking trails you can go on for free.

5. Make dinner as a family.

When was the last time you went out for dinner as a family? You likely noticed the steep price of the bill! In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American family spends over $2,500 per year on dining out. Instead of going for a night out as a family, make dinner together at home. Not only will you save money, but also you'll also get time together and likely eat healthier.

6. Go to a free movie.

With the average movie ticket price being just over $8, it can be prohibitive for a family to see a movie. You can still go to the movies without spending a dime. Many libraries and communities offer free movie nights. While not new release movies, you get the movie going experience without a lighter wallet.

7. Make homemade ice cream.

Going out for ice cream is a summer classic, but can add up quickly. Instead of going out, make homemade ice cream. For about $20, you can have enough ice cream to last you for weeks.

8. Have a picnic dinner.

Picnic lunches are another summer classic. Add a twist to it and have a picnic dinner. You can even get a babysitter, if you have kids, and make it a romantic evening without the heavy price tag.

9. Go holiday shopping at a garage sale.

The holiday shopping season is only a few months away. Get a head start on it by starting now, but shop only at garage sales. You can get your shopping out of the way, without spending too much.

10. Volunteer at a shelter.

Volunteering is a great way to give back, especially as a family. Many homeless shelters and soup kitchens are in need throughout the year and will gladly accept a donation of time. You can even take in some non-perishable groceries in addition to giving your time.

11. Go for a drive.

Going for a drive is a great way to unplug, take in the sites and spend time together as a family. For as little as a tank of gas you can get some quality time together and discover somewhere new. Bonus points if you make it a bike ride!

12. Have a night out at home.

Going out for a date night can get costly. Instead of going out, consider having your next date night at home. Make dinner together, rent a movie or play a board game. This allows you to spend time together without spending a lot of money.

13. Babysit for someone else.

Babysitters can be expensive. Take your night in to the next level by swapping babysitting with other friends. Not only does this allow you to save money, but also you get to help out a friend do the same.

14. Get out the toys.

Don't have a local pool to go to this summer, or don't want to spend the money to go? You can still have fun in the water, at home. Slip N Slides are a childhood favorite and can be purchased at many stores for less than $20. Want to do it for cheaper? Then turn on your sprinklers and spend nothing.

15. Walk to a local park.

If you have young children, you know how much they enjoy going to the park. Instead of driving to the park, walk. You get exercise and they get the fun of going to the park.

There are many frugal ways to enjoy life that cost next to nothing. With a little creativity, you can save a lot of money without sacrificing on the fun.

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report

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