When you’re watching the pennies, life can get a bit dreary. Constantly having to scan menus to find the best value options and deciding days out based purely on cost can really take the edge off things.
It is possible, though, to have fun on a budget! We’ve put together some ideas for pocket-friendly days out and experiences, which come with all the excitement and none of the guilt.
1. Get out under your own steam
We’re going to start with an obvious one – just because it’s obvious, doesn’t mean it’s not worth mentioning! Pack up a rucksack or your bike panier with a picnic and set off on foot or on two wheels for an hour or two. Not only will you feel better for the exercise, but you can take the whole family with you and apart from the picnic it’s a free activity. If you’ve got young children, walking to and around a local park is a good move and they’ll appreciate a go on the swings when you get there. You can always save your £20 for ice creams or drinks at the pub en route!
2. Get karted away
If you’re free to go midweek, you can take advantage of half price deals with Team Sport, who have go karting centres all over the country. You’ll get at least two 15 minute sessions for £15 per person, and it’s suitable for ages eight and above. Get a group of friends together, and you can have a fantastic evening with a few pounds left over for drinks and snacks.
3. Arcade entertainment
If you’re lucky enough to live in or near a seaside resort, take a trip down memory lane with the amusement arcade. Change your £20 into small coins, share it out among the family and have a great on the slot machines, pinball and grabbers. Who knows, there’s even a (tiny) chance you might win some of your money back!
4. Gym’ll fix it
At this time of year, lots of gyms are doing special offers to try and attract new members. Some offer a certain number of introductory sessions free, others offer serious discounts on the first couple of months. Just remember to cancel the membership when the trial period is over….
5. Make your own fun
If you can’t afford a big, glamorous night out, then how about a glamorous night in? Invite a load of friends over and ask everyone to put £10 in the kitty to cover food and drink. Then, choose a theme – murder mystery, board games, cocktail party, 1920s…the world is your oyster.
6. Where the wild things are
It’s summertime, after all – so why not take up wild swimming? This activity is normally free. Take a look at the Wild Swimming website for ideas of where to go – it’s best not to swim in rivers due to the possibility of strong currents, so stick to lochs or lakes. The only things you’ll need are a swimming costume and a sense of adventure.
If you have children, this is a fantastic activity. Stick a tent up in the back garden, and all sleep out together. Pick a clear night, and you’ll be able to stargaze as well as keep an eye on nocturnal wildlife such as hedgehogs. You’ll need a torch, and a star chart is handy too. The best bit is that as you’re in your own garden, you can nip indoors for a cup of tea!
8. Pick a ticket
Ticketed events such as agricultural shows and fairs can cost a fortune. Buying tickets well in advance is the best way to save, but there’s also a chance you could get in for free. If you know of any local charities who’ll be exhibiting, ask if they need any more volunteers. In exchange for spending a few hours manning (or womanning) the stand, you’ll get a free ticket and usually have the chance to wander round between shifts.
9. Paint pebbles and hide them
Lots of places around the UK and beyond have been embracing the idea of painting or drawing on pebbles and hiding them for other people to randomly find. This is a great summer activity for families, as you can go out and collect pebbles or stones (or buy some from a garden centre) then bring them home and get creative with them. You can make a series of story stones telling a tale, paint your favourite characters on the pebbles, write messages on them or draw mandalas. Search online or on Facebook to see if there are any stone hiding groups in your area.
Whatever you end up doing, have fun!
Images courtesy of Pixabay