Notes from a Drama Queen

Cheap Fun

Monday, November 10, 2008

So in less than a week the world has suddenly become a vastly better place. Even people of differing politcal viewpoints pretty much agree on that.
But ... our economy is still in the crapper and that's not going to change quickly. We're in a mess and we're all going to have to be doing our part. I see it kind of like WW II, when everyone had to sacrifice to get things right. Fortunately we don't have to lose any more young men and women than we're already losing over in the middle east, and maybe even that will stop soon.

But you know, a girl's gotta have fun. So I'm going to do a series on cheap ways to have fun, enjoy Christmas , cheap presents, even cheap ways to get over the post-Christmas blues.

First off, since it really isn't Christmas season yet though it's moving that way, we'll do TEN CHEAP WAYS TO HAVE FUN (on your own or with others).

1. Most museums have one day a week when they're free to the public. Find one you like and head out. This time is for you. Wander through the exhibits, sit and take them in. If you've got an extra dollar or two there'll probably be a place for donations. Museums are going to be going through a hard time too. Funding will be cut, donations will be down. The $12 entry fee might be too much to handle, but a buck or two won't hurt.

2. Go through your TBR (To Be Read) pile and choose the juiciest, most delectable one, even if you've told yourself you have to go in order. Or even better, go back and find one of your most favorite books and reread it. A YA is always fun -- find a treasure from your teenage years. Or the best Laura Kinsale or Laura London golden oldie. Grab a cup of herb tea, snuggle under a quilt and enjoy.

3. Likewise, do the same with those videos you have. Remember a movie you saw in the theater, fell in love with, immediately bought the DVD when it came out and yet never watched it? Like Phantom of the Opera, or Enchanted. Or find something in your DVD collection that hasn't been in constant rotation on tv, or only been on tv with commercials. Spend the afternoon falling in love again.

4. Shop but don't buy. All those lovely catalogues that appeal to our inner Barbie? Don't look at them and drool. Give yourself a mythical budget. Say $1000 for a Neiman Marcus catalogue. Then figure out how you'd spend it. Books? Go to and virtually spend whatever you're budgeting. (The cool thing is that what you want most you could put on a wish list and maybe buy one at a time when you can afford it).

5. Bake something wonderful. You don't have to be a great cook. Sugar and flour are expensive (I was appalled when I bought flour recently -- the price had doubled) but you still gotta have them. Or brownies -- you can find brownie mix on sale for close to 99 cents and they're almost foolproof to make. And they go really well with books and movies.

6. If you've got satellite tv and no tivo-like recording device, call your provider and ask what it would cost to upgrade. Same for Hi-def. When I called about the digital recording thingy it turned out I could get it for just about no price. Another friend with the competing service also got a nice upgrade because she was having issues with her service. So give them a call and see what it would cot you to go DVR (digital video recording) or Hi-def, and you may be happily surprised. Don't know if cable does the same thing (I live in the boonies) but they might.

7. Go for a walk. Seems kind of silly, but some times the most obvious ideas are overlooked. Walking makes you feel good, it doesn't cost anything.

8. Got an old sewing machine? Maybe your mother's, maybe you used to sew. Drag it out. There's a world of fun to be had. You know that dress you loved but is now too short for you? Cut off another ten inches, hem it and now you've got a new top. Decorate your jeans -- use rows of those fancy stitches around the cuffs and you don't even need to open the seam on them. It can open a whole new world.

9. Go shopping in your house. Come on, admit it. You've shopped too much. You have clothes with tags still on them, you have kitchen gadgets like a waffle iron or an immersion blender or a Foreman grill that you've never used. Go find them. The Foreman grill is amazing for grilled cheese sandwiches. Immersion blenders are great for soup, and soup and bread and salad dinners are cheap and delicious. (So is having pancakes or waffles for dinner). I bet you can find a craft project that you thought would be cool and then never did it. Or a half finished embroidered pillow. Maybe you bought a boutique coffee maker, thinking you'd break your Starbucks habit, and then never figured out how to use it. Now is the time.

10. Hug your family. Come on, you know you love them. They're annoying as hell, your teenagers are brats, your sister drives you crazy, you're husband's a pain. Hug them anyway. The best thing we have, in hard times, in lean times, is family. Go ahead and hug them. Chances are, they'll hug you back, and that'll feel better than the other nine ideas put together.

See? We're all far richer than we thought, with tons of new and interesting things to do or have. It's going to be all right, I promise. We just have to be careful for a little while, but it doesn't mean we can't still have fun.

Give us some more ideas. What else can we do to have fun without spending money?


Blogger writerheart said...

Love your ideas.

I have always been frugal. My grown daughter says I've had to be since my "day" job is teaching and I write on the side. But when my county recently laid off teachers (can you believe it!), I had to go into "power drive frugal." So I've been de-cluttering the house around looking for a job and as you say, found books I had put aside to read and hadn't, and pulled out favorites I hadn't read recently. I also found other treasures I'd forgotten and Goodwill will get things someone else needs more than me. I've decided I want to enjoy more what I have instead of going out to buy more.

I don't go out as often with friends but now, when I do, choosing "twilight" or "early bird" specials saves and we have the same fun. Maybe more, since it becomes an adventure to find such deals. I find cable to be a bargain for me--I get a bundle package (limitless long distance so I can talk more with friends who live far away), Internet, and cable television. I'm a homebody so watching movies at home, HGTV, and marathons of House (where WAS I when this show first came on--oh, yeah, overworking!) is fun and relaxing. It also keeps me calm and know that I'll find another job soon.

And it costs nothing to get more writing done that is usually hard to do around my day job. So I feel rich.

11:55 AM  
Blogger flip said...

I live a rural area. So I tend to do all of your suggestions as a matter of course. I can tell you what I won't give up in the name of frugality. Internet, satellite tv, chocolate, and new Anne Stuart novels.

I just reread Shadow Lover. I love that book.

1:48 PM  
Blogger L. H. Thorn said...

I daydream. This is probably a horribly cliché thing for a sixteen-year-old to do, but it's my favorite thing in the world. A comfortable place to sit, some rock music on the stereo, a notebook and a pencil in case I come up with any good ideas, and I can leave the planet for a couple of hours. Total cost? Probably a few cents for the paper and pencil lead that I use up.
But if my imagination vault is bankrupt for some reason, I can go next door and hug my sister's cats. Total cost: Free, aside from the occasional scratches and cat hair on my jeans.

5:47 PM  
Blogger flip said...

I.H. Thorn,

ahahahaha, I am a huge daydreamer myself. I have a pretty exciting fantasy life

12:36 PM  
Blogger Alisa said...

Daydreaming keeps me going. With the busy schedule I have, sometimes dayderaming for a few minutes hels me unwind and relax. Only don't try it in a car, it could be pretty complicated :0).

I have tried the " go shopping in your house" suggestion. You will not believe how many things I found over the weekend. Clearance isles are my weakness.I buy stuff I really don't need.

I can't believe my favorite author has a blog!!! This is some very exciting stuff. When I read my first Anne Stuart novel I was in love. I went back to the bookstore and bought every other they had. It took me countless searches through the internet and various bookstores to get all the titles, but I made it. Needless to say every book gets donated after I read it, but not my Anne Stuart books. They have moved through 3 states with me already and have all been reread at least twice:0).

8:07 AM  
Blogger CLM said...

Dear Krissie:

My favorite bookstore is closing, always very sad news. You must surely have stopped there - it is on the CT/MA border and is called The Travelers Restaurant. I am sure the sign would have pulled you in, just as it did me for the first time in 1985. I stopped for a moment the day before Thanksgiving, and everything was a dollar a bag because they were closing on 11/30. I stayed an hour and would have bought even more if I didn't live in an apartment. Among several delightful finds was One More Valentine, which I had never come across before! I am saving it for this weekend but will stick with my Red Rose since I do not care for herbal tea.


Constance, long time reader

1:33 AM  
Blogger P. A. Knight said...

I walk the KATY Trail, an old railroad bed that was made into a state park. It runs from near St. Louis to the small town of Clinton, MO. I live on the Clinton side of the state.

When I walk, I carry a cd player for mood music, a tape recorder to record those once in a lifetime ideas, sometimes paper and a writing instrument, and frequently a camera. All of these items are small and can be carried in a fanny pack and a couple of pockets.

The chance to brainstorm ideas, record them, and the settings that inspire them are wonderful freebies.

Of course, I can't walk on days like today when the wind is blowing in frozen rain and snow, but I can look at the pictures and recall the scenes.

Thanks for opening up your dramatic life to the viewers who love your work.

P A Knight AKA Patty

6:07 PM  

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