Well, I just signed up to do Krystal’s April Budget challenge over at “Give Me Back My Five Bucks”. My goal is to stay within my $300 “Fun Money” Budget, in other words $75 a week. I usually spend most of my money on the weekends, when I have nothing better to do, so in preparation here’s a list I’ll be working on…

Cheap/Fun Ideas to keep you busy on the weekends:

1. Movie night!Lately I’ve gotten discouraged from going to the movies; not-so-exciting releases, crowds (yeah, I’m getting old and cranky), and $10 tickets isn’t much of a motivation. So…round up some friends (or just a special someone), and dig into your existing collection, do a movie-swap with friends, or check out a Netflix or Blockbuster free trial (I’ve also heard that RedBox is good). Popcorn or some kind of snack is a must….just make sure its not something expensive, like caviar.

2. Picnic Saturday (or Sunday)! Check out your community for a peaceful park, nature trails, botanical garden, or even the beach if you’re that lucky. Pack up a lunch, or do a potluck picnic with friends, and enjoy an afternoon of fun. I haven’t done this yet, but I’m looking forward to doing it soon.

3. Stay In… and cook!! Look up a recipe you’ve always wanted to try, and either cook it yourself, or enlist a friend to help you. Even if you’re a novice it could be fun, just make sure you don’t try anything too hard your first time. (Then you’d have to go out and buy food anyway!) Pizza is always fun, and I’ll be posting an easy recipe to make dough from scratch real soon! Cooking or baking stuff from boxes is still fun and easy if you’re not as adventurous or domestically inclined, just don’t be offended if your “gourmet” friends scoff at you. hehe.

4. Game Nights. A little cheesy, yes, but how long has it been since you stayed home and played games with your friends?! (And I’m not talking about video games or drinking games…although if that’s your thing I guess its OK!) I’m talking about good ol’ fashioned card games and board games. Just stay home and be silly…it’s quite refreshing!

5. Open Houses/House hunting. I guess this doesn’t work for everyone, but I remember as a kid going house hunting with my parents. We’d see 4 or 5 houses in a weekend and it was a ton of fun! Now that I’m getting ready to look for my own place, its a good way for me to spend a weekend.

6. A night on the town. Not your standard night out spending money…check out what’s going on in your city. Some cities, like mine, have events on specific nights. The 3rd Friday of each month they open up the art galleries and have wine & cheese…everything for free! Some historical parks also have free admission on certain days over the summer. Check your newspaper to see what’s going on for free. You might be pleasantly surprised!

7. Stay informed. This is a bit more of a long-term strategy since there won’t be something for every weekend. Like I said, read your local newspaper and sign up to get weekly emails (may not work for everyone…especially if you hate getting weekly emails). I’ve been able to score several free lunches for my friends and I because I got emails from around town advertising new restaurants’ “Employee Training” days…all we paid was tip! There might also be free festivals around, wine tasting at a local vineyard, or free museums. It depends on where you live, but check it out!

8. Curl up with a good book. This is nice when you just want to de-stress or be alone. Either curl up with your favorite library book at home, go to the library and browse their selection, or go to Barnes & Noble or any bookstore for an afternoon. Beware of temptations to spend money at bookstores though…be prepared and go without your credit cards, hehe.

This is what I have so far…but if anyone has any ideas send them my way! I’ll make sure to give you credit when I add them to my list. 😉