Ah yes, the ever-present dilemma of what to do in your free time (hah, that’s a good joke!) when you’re strapped for cash or budgeting as a student (or anyone looking to save some of those precious dollars). Fortunately, I’ve been doing this long enough that I’ve got a few ideas for you!
The library—Who doesn’t love getting lost in a good book? Many people don’t realize that library also offers magazines, CDs, audiobooks, and movies to check out as well. It’s always free to set up a card. Just be careful about those sneaky late fees! Fortunately, renewing library materials from home is easy if you have a computer with internet access (also something many people don’t know about).
Netflix or Hulu Plus—the price of a monthly subscription is about the cost of one movie ticket. More bang for your buck! For a while my sister paid for Netflix and I paid for Hulu Plus, and we shared both accounts to get the most for our money, which was an awesome deal and works well if you know someone interested in sharing accounts.You might also consider saving some money over time for a Roku or other similar TV streaming device. It makes watching movies and shows much easier, especially if you're a multi-tasker and like to use your laptop while a movie plays.
Go exploring! Wander your neighborhood, go for a drive, or round up some friends (and the dog!) for a hike. Oregon has some cool hiking trails and lots of neat places to explore. Invite a few friends and maybe they’ll even offer to pitch in some gas money.
Invite some friends over for a movie night. Watch the trashiest Lifetime movie you can find and drink cheap wine (Trader Joe’s, Grocery Outlet, and Target are my go-to places for wine under $5).
Write a letter (or two!) Who doesn’t love getting mail? Make it extra special by tucking a surprise in the envelope—a feather you found, some pressed flowers, glitter, etc.
Make some art. Pinterest is an excellent place to look for ideas. Plus, you might find something cool to craft that can be used to decorate your apartment.
Try a new recipe. Invite friends over as taste testers for dinner or dessert.
Find out if your campus is hosting any free events to students, or look in your local newspaper for something free or low-cost (but equally entertaining) in your area to attend. Tip: Libraries almost always have cool stuff going on!
Try people watching. If you’re a writer like me, it can be a good source of character or dialogue inspiration.
Explore a new hobby or sport. Always wanted to try yoga? YouTube has a wealth of beginner videos. Wanna learn to knit? Search for some tutorials online or check out a book from the library.
What will you try when you have some free time?