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How to Have FUN on a Budget

Content and Blog Post: Katie Cullum, White County

boy in meadow, face shielded by hand with FUN on a Budget
 You don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun!


With all of this COVID-19, you may wonder, “when will we ever have any fun?!”  But we won’t always be in a pandemic (hopefully!), and it might be tempting to go out and do everything when we can.  That’s a great way to spend some extra money! But you may think that you’ve saved so much by being home so much – but have you really? Or have you spent more on online subscriptions, food, shopping, etc.? 

These are general tips for having fun without breaking the bank.  And they be a little “old-school” but we can still learn a few things from the past!

Have People Over!

With COVID-19, you may need to set up in the yard or garage for social distancing, limit the numbers, and borrow fans to stay cool!

vegetable tray and dip
It doesn't have to fancy or a work of art.
  • Ask for help. Most people will ask, “Can I bring anything?” so ahead and take them up on the offer!  A potluck spreads the cost out and lets people bring something they know they will eat (and likely in their budget).  Just suggest a course or food group (appetizer, veggies, etc.) instead of getting too specific (how about a watermelon bowl with lots of fruit cut into cute shapes?!).
  • Drinks. Keep it simple.  Instead of bottles, use your glasses.  Instead of alcohol or soft drinks, serve water infused with flavors (citrus fruits, mint, cucumber, etc.). Learn how to make your own infused water here.  Instead of buying ice, empty your ice maker into bags or bowls several times, and keep them in the freezer.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t have to make 3 main dishes, 10 sides, and 4 desserts.  Just pick a main from what’s on sale, 2-3 sides (keeping allergies/special diets in mind), and 1 dessert.  Vegetables you cut up yourself (a day or two in advance) will probably be less expensive than a big vegetable tray that you purchase.

 Choose Hobbies & Sports Carefully

Choose fun things to do that don’t require lots of money.

light bulb with "create" inside
Be creative! We have ideas for family fun on a budget.
  • Swimming! Do you really need a pool? A pool membership requires less investment and upkeep. Or, find a cool water toy for the yard – even less investment!
  • Sports! Putting your children in summer sporting activities can be a great way to keep them active. However, the cost of these sports can become overwhelming.  Get your family to play together – sports from your childhood or sports that you can do together such as tennis, yoga, running/walking, disc golf, bicycling, etc.  The time you spend together will be memorable – and you might even get in better shape too. You could even plant a garden together – everyone gets some exercise and you end up with food. Check out our resources here
  • Family Night! Instead of watching another movie, play together. Get out some board games or cards, play charades or tell stories.  Plan a “trip” to a foreign country – research food and customs.  Plan a meal and learn something about other cultures. You could even plan out a staycation
  • Make your own fun! Gather up balls, jump ropes, boxes, plastic jugs, tape, old sheets, etc.  Have a contest to make something interesting or to go with your “trip” theme. You could even go “camping” in the backyard.  Check out our blog post on Camping in Your Backyard!

Remember, you don't have a spend a fortune to have a good time!  

Other Resources:

Unplugged, or Plugged In Together? Family Life Fridays Blog -

Main page for Personal & Family Well-Being -