1. Vacation Rentals By Owner
At VRBO you can connect with rental property owners with properties in Hawaii, South Africa, Gulf Shores, or almost any major city you can think of. The prices are pretty reasonable and VRBO handles all the nitty gritty details.
Restaurant.com sells $25 gift certificates to restaurants in most cities for $10 or less. Restrictions DO apply so check before purchasing, but they have a TON of restaurants participating in their program and I’ve used their coupons quite often. I know they work!
Economists call them “inferior goods” but I call them a bargain. Instead of taking my kids out for a super-premium ice cream at $4 each, I can take them to Sonic during Happy Hour (2PM til 4PM) and get a Strawberry Limeade for a fraction of the price. Plus trading down doesn’t force me to make extra money just to afford a little luxury.
4. A Trip to the Library
Your local library has tons of interesting books on the shelf and if you don’t see what you want, ask if they can get it. Libraries regularly loan books to each other, so you can probably find just about any book you’re interested in. Just ask.
5. A Stroll Down Memory Lane
Sometimes it’s fun to spend a few minutes just going through old photographs, remembering fun times, and reminiscing about how everyone has changed. My wife loves to scrapbook and she makes the memories so much more fun.
7. Speaking of Parks
You’ve already paid for them (taxes, remember?), why not take the kids to the local park and let them play on the jungle gym, the slide, the swings and the merry-go-round? I remember my parents taking my little brother and me to a park near our house when I was just a first grader. The park had a stream running through it and we always, always “accidentally” got wet.
8. Concerts, Theaters, or Sporting Events
Even for sold out events, check out StubHub.com. Since huge blocks of tickets to your favorite concerts or sporting events are purchased by major ticket brokers, StubHub.com probably has the ticket you’re looking for … and many times at an affordable price.
9. Cook Yourself a Gourmet Meal
The Internet has been such a boon to so many industries, stock brokers, insurance sales, and cooking! The recipe databases are enourmous and I really enjoy using the one at Cooking.com. There you can browse hundreds of recipes and select the one that will make you feel like a gourmet chef … and a respected food critic!
10. Interesting Things? You See ‘Em At A Museum
Mueums hold collections of some of the most interesting things in our world. They hold and protect things of beauty, things from history, and things of rarity. They preserve items from our natural history and representations of those items as well. Not only that, but they’re almost all free to enter, or the entrance fee is pretty minimal.
My family and I LOVE to go camping. Talk about inexpensive and fun! A state park campground site costs less than $18 per night and the bathroom is not too far away! A tent and a few supplies can be bought pretty cheaply online from Ebay or from the classified ads. No electronics are allowed and it’s always fun to watch the kids come up with games with a rock and a stick. Me? I love just watching caveman television (the campfire) and relaxing. Camping gives us a chance to escape the craziness of the world and to really spend time with each other, just talking, taking walks and hikes, maybe do a little fishing. Camping, especially tent camping, gets you back to nature and reminds you how easy you have it in the regular world. I think it makes me just a little more thankful and grateful for the things I have.