Free Things To Do That Only Require Two Other Things

4 Jun

I don’t mind spending money.  Really, I don’t.  It just seems that way sometimes because I so rarely have extra money to spend.  If it didn’t get included in the month’s budget, chances are it’s not going to get purchased.  If it’s important enough, it will get included in next month’s budget.  If it’s an emergency, it can come out of the emergency fund. Otherwise, it will just have to wait (like Harry Potter World.  That place has been waiting for me for a long time.)

All that waiting for things has meant that I’ve become very good at finding free ways to entertain myself.  My favorite free things are the uncomplicated free things (rather than the things that require you to collect 15 empty soda cans, 3 Hawaii quarters from the same mint, 2 Mexican pesos, 1 large tupperware stolen from a grandparent, and the ability to be one of the first 50 people in line at an obscure venue at 8:52 am on the dot in order to be free.)

So, I have decided to make a list:  My Favorite Free Things To Do That Only Require Two Other Things.  (yes, I know- that’s a great title.)

1. Write a book.  Yes, believe it or not, writing is a free activity.  This is a secret that has been jealously guarded by generations of authors, but I’m revealing it to you now.  Writing a book, a poem, a short story, or even your name is totally and completely free.  In fact, most of the time you won’t even have to worry about unnecessary money coming back to you from writing things.  Isn’t that great?

Items needed: 1) a computer/notebook/piece of paper/Starbucks napkin, 2) at least one hand/pen/a copy of that fancy “speech to type” software.

2. Read a book.  Just like it doesn’t cost anything to write a book, it does not have to cost anything to read one either.  Most cities have places where you can take books off the shelves, take them home for a time, and not have to exchange your money/collateral/lifeblood for the privilege.  The best part is, the more you frequent these places, the more books they will be able to offer you.  No, wait, the real best part is that they have computers there.  You can write a book while you read a book!  (Just don’t write the same book that you are reading.  That activity is frowned upon in the author world, and could end up costing you a lot of money later on.)

Items needed: 1) a library card (which is free!), 2) a strong back to carry all those books home with you.

3. Look for relics from Narnia/Middle Earth/Hogwarts/Panem.  This one is easier than it sounds.  There’s a worldwide game called Geocaching, where you find hidden items using only coordinates provided by the hider.  You look up the coordinates, find the cache, and sign the logbook.  Some of the bigger caches let you swap out items like coins, small toys, pictures, etc.  There are caches hidden all over the world, and chances are there are at least a few in your area.  This is also a great family activity, as small children are useful for reaching some caches.

Items needed: 1) an internet connection (bonus- you can get this at the library), 2) a map/GPS (also sometimes available at the library.)

4. Explore Narnia/Middle Earth/Hogwarts/Panem.  This one is also easier than it sounds.  Only about half the states in the US have national parks, but all but one have some form of open-to-the-public area overseen by the National Park Service (Sorry Delaware). These places are free to walk around, climb over, wade through, and imagine in for everyone.  As a bonus, there are private groups that sponsor similar places, such as the Southern Conservation Trust that oversees two such areas in my town.  As a bonus bonus, there are often geocaches in these areas.  As a bonus bonus bonus, you can bring a notebook and pen and write a book in these areas.

Items needed: 1) transportation to the park entrance (extra points if you find this for free), 2) a strong pair of shoes.

5. Watch the rain fall.  There is nothing quite like a rainstorm, especially the gentle ones we get here in Georgia in the summer.  There’s something so calming about the rain.  The light is softened, the noises are dampened, things are washed clean, and it provides the perfect backing for the “it’s raining and the internet is out. I guess I’ll have to read a book instead” excuse.  Even in the middle of summer, a rainstorm is the perfect excuse to curl up under a blanket with a book or for a nap.  Note- this activity is best accomplished indoors, but it is allowable outdoors if a) you are under the age of 12 (or at least you are in your mind) and b) you leave out the book-reading part.

Items needed: 1) a window (this is technically optional, but it adds to the ambiance), 2) a blanket/pair of boots (depending on whether you are indoors or out.)


There you have it.  A list of free things to do that only require two other things.  Feel free to mix and match as you see fit. It’s raining right now, so my plans for today include spending a significant amount of time doing Activities 2 and 5. See you all on Thursday.


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