Between going to work and keeping up with chores around the house, we often forget that it’s important to find ways to relieve stress in our lives. It’s not good for our mental health to be going nonstop without some me-time.
Then the worst part about finally finding some fun is that it also costs a lot of money to enjoy leisure time.
It isn’t impossible to save money and reduce stress, though. While family vacations are amazing, they aren’t always affordable. Sometimes you have to think about doing something smaller with your free time.
From playing video games to pleasure driving in the summer sun, there are a variety of ways to enjoy life without going broke. We’ll go into detail on several of them here.
#1 – Going to the Park
Being in nature is always a great way to reconnect with yourself and the world around you. If you have small kids, going to the park and letting them play while you relax on the bench is a surefire way for everyone to get some entertainment. You might find that the sun and the trees around you are a great contrast to the boring walls of your office or house.
There are so many things you can do at the park without spending any money. Taking a walk, putting up a badminton set, or even throwing a ball to your dog are all options that are friendly to your wallet. They are simple, yet effective at relieving stress. Having people around you to do these things with is often all you need to cool down after a long day.
If you are in need of a trip to the park during the winter, you can build a snowman or bring some hot chocolate to the park bench. Making some new friends while enjoying the winter flurry is a great way to overcome the usual stress we feel when the snow comes around. Just be sure to drive safely and never go on the road if there is too much snow.
#2 – Taking a Drive
Sometimes it’s relaxing to drive just for the sake of driving. We often are too concerned about getting to work or to school while we are in the car that we don’t take the time to drive somewhere beautiful and enjoy the scenery.
There are a few things to think about when driving for pleasure, though, and they have to do with safety and saving money. Gas prices are very high right now, so you might have to keep your trip short or only take pleasure drives if you have an electric vehicle or a hybrid. These vehicles are efficient and help your finances and the environment.
If you don’t have a car but you want to buy one just for pleasure, consider buying a value vehicle. The Toyota Highlander and the Honda Odyssey are fuel-efficient and can carry lots of passengers and luggage if you need to.
As far as insurance goes, talk to your insurance company about driving a car only for pleasure. If you work from home and only take out your vehicle for fun, you typically will put fewer miles on the vehicle.
This will lead to getting insurance discounts or even a more affordable policy. If you are on the road less, you aren’t at a high risk of getting into an accident.
#3 – Play a Video Game
Video games have become one of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment, but that doesn’t mean they are always affordable. In fact, most consoles like the PS5 and the Xbox Series X cost hundreds of dollars. That just means you need to get smarter with your next shopping trip to the electronics store.
The Nintendo Switch is one of the least expensive consoles on the market. It’s family-friendly and has hundreds of independently-developed games that can be bought online for less than $20. Because Nintendo is known for catering to young children, you don’t have to worry about violence in the games. You can enjoy some me-time and de-stress with the whole family.
Video games have also become very productive for developing problem-solving skills and teamwork skills. Multiplayer games and titles like Big Brain Academy are great for people to use their brains while having some fun. Gaming has become a much more interactive thing to do than just watching TV or a movie.
#4 – Bake or Cook
Making your own food is one of the most rewarding activities you can do in your off time. You get to be way more creative and choose what ingredients you use, you can control the nutritional value of your food, and you get to share the meal with your family and friends.
Make sure that you cook or bake with affordable ingredients. Shop during sales or go online to get digital coupons. If you aren’t very familiar with cooking or baking, you won’t know that sometimes making your own food can get more pricey than expected.
Don’t get discouraged. Seek out deals and cook during sales. Go with the season. For example, if it’s the summer, try out barbequing. There will be more discounts on supplies for outdoor cooking. As you get more in tune with what the stores are selling at certain times, you will enjoy the cooking and baking process more.
#5 – Play Sports
Sports aren’t for everyone, but getting some movement in is very calming for the mind and the body. Find something that you enjoy doing that gets you active and encourages your heart to get pumping faster. If you are younger, perhaps try out a more physical sport like basketball or football. If you are older, enjoy a nice walk or bike ride along a trail.
See if you can ask some friends to enjoy the fun with you, as most sports require more than one person to enjoy. If you don’t have anybody to play with, you might need to just go for a run in the sunny weather. Most of these things are very affordable unless you opt to join a gym for a membership.
Everybody deserves some off time so they can relax and get ready for their next day of chores and work. Find something that relieves stress and gets you feeling like you’re ready to take on the next task in life and you should find a lot more happiness.
Shawn Laib writes and researches for the car insurance site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. He wants to help people see how they can save money and have fun at the same time.