“Recreation on a Shoestring,” Ensign, Apr. 1992, 72–73
Leisure activities don’t have to be expensive in order to be fun and worthwhile. There are many creative, cost-saving alternatives to some recreational pursuits. Whether you’re seeking to entertain your family, your friends, or yourself, the following items can help, whether used as suggestions or as examples to stimulate your own ideas.
Hobbies. Pursue interests that require little or no expense, such as hiking, writing, drawing, carving, and bird-watching.
Collect something. From barbed wire to wildflowers, the range of inexpensive collectibles is vast.
Enroll in community education classes to learn more about your special interests. You can study anything from computers to photography.
Read. Your public library offers an inexhaustible treasure at an unbeatable price.
Learn a craft. Woodworking, sewing, auto repair, and countless other crafts are handy skills. They can also be therapeutic as well as sources of extra income.
Rent or buy a used musical instrument. Perhaps a family member or friend will teach you free of charge.
Sports. Use local tennis courts, swimming pools, and other public recreational facilities.
Participate in sports that don’t require expensive gear.
Rent or borrow sports equipment that you use only occasionally. If you want to buy your own equipment later on, you’ll be in a better position to make an informed purchase.
Buy sports equipment at yard sales, or watch for good buys on used items advertised in the newspaper.
Join a local sports group for enthusiasts of bicycling, rafting, or running, for example. They sponsor competitions, keep you informed about upcoming activities (many of them at little or no cost), and usually rent equipment at discount rates.
Events. Take advantage of discount tickets for community events through credit unions, employee associations, community coupon books, and supermarkets.
Get a copy of your community activity calendar to find free and low-cost concerts, fairs, plays, and exhibits.
Attend firesides, devotionals, and other events listed on your ward or stake calendar.
Travel. When traveling, save money by taking along a cooler filled with sandwiches and snacks.
Camp out or stay in bed-and-breakfast establishments. Both types of accommodations can be less expensive than motels and hotels.
Before renting a room, compare its price with the prices of comparable lodgings in the area.
Shop for prices at several travel agencies and compare those costs with what you’d spend making your own arrangements. (Remember to include the cost of your long-distance phone calls.)
If you will be traveling by air, consider going on standby.
Visit nearby tourist attractions. There are probably many good vacation spots closer to home than you think.
Travel during the off-season to avoid crowds and to benefit from discount rates. You may qualify for discounts by ordering tickets well in advance of your trip.
Budgeting. A key to saving money on leisure activities is to set up a recreation budget and then stick to it. Budgeting will minimize impulse spending and encourage better planning. Once you’ve set up a workable budget, review your recreational interests and get together with friends or family members to brainstorm ways to beat the rising costs of entertainment. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll be surprised at how far your entertainment dollars will stretch.—Lyle E. Shamo, West Jordan, Utah