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Redefining Fun

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My husband and I are retired.  We still have friends in the workforce, and we have our retired friends as well.  The workforce group just doesn't seem to have grasped the concept of "retirement." 

Their lives still revolve around "fun" that often requires a large outlay of cash. 

You retirees remember . . . things like attending a play, having dinner at an expensive restaurant, going on a cruise, or renting a cabin in the mountains or a condo on the beach for a week's vacation. 

Whenever we get together with some of our workforce friends, it never fails that a discussion starts about what everyone has done for "fun" recently.  We actually enjoy hearing about their adventures.  However, once everyone has shared their stories, we get the question, "What have you done lately for fun?"

For some people, such as sports enthusiasts or hobbyists, it's easier to answer. You've probably noticed that as you get older, activities that are fun for some people are no longer considered fun for you.

Redefining fun is a vital part of frugality, too.

You become more aware of the costs involved in your choices. Your community offers many free activities. We have free movie afternoons twice a week at our local theater and free concerts on the town square during the summer.  Youth baseball and softball games are fun attractions, as well as church socials and community barbeques.

What do you do for fun on a budget? Here are a few activities that we consider fun and frugal and they fit nicely into our retired lifestyle.

Yard work and gardening: a productive day working in the yard can make you feel great. When you're frugal, you gain a newfound interest in your home and it becomes your haven. We take pride in keeping a beautifully maintained yard. As a bonus, you're getting a workout and enjoying the outdoors. If you have a home produce garden, you reap the fruits of your labor too, with fresh vegetables and fruits for every meal AND you're saving at the grocery store.

How about putting your creative talents to use? 

Making or doing things yourself gives you a sense of accomplishment and independence. I have started making gifts for upcoming holidays and birthdays.  Since I enjoy cooking, I look for copycat recipes (I found one just the other day for Krispy Kreme Donuts) and money-saving recipes that use just a few ingredients.  Everyone loves a yummy food gift.

Make some fast cash and plan a weekend garage sale. Clear your house of things that are no longer useful to you and turn them into extra cash. Coordinate a neighborhood sale or ask family or friends to join your sale.  We find neighborhood or even town-wide sales to be a lot of fun. 

How about the age old activity of "Walking for Fun?" 

We often take a nature walk that ends in a picnic in a scenic spot. We also find that club sponsored garden tours of homes in and around the community are interesting and fun.  I have recently become interested in doing grave rubbings. I always enjoyed visiting old cemeteries and reading the inscriptions on the gravestones.  You find a lot of history there.  Some of the very old gravestones have beautiful carved artwork.  Visit www.gravestonestudies.org/faq.htm to learn some do's and don'ts. 

We recently purchased a metal detector.  It's a lot of fun to dig just beneath the ground's surface and find hidden objects.  We haven't found buried treasure yet or come across a fortune in hidden money but there's always the possibility.

And lastly, summer potlucks rate high on our "fun" meter.  Get together with friends or family, and have everyone bring a dish to pass. Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy a backyard barbeque. And, since everyone is coming over, organize a fun swap party, too. Exchange items such as clothing, games, DVDs, books, or toys. 

So, maybe getting older has slowed us down a bit.  That's not a bad thing. I'm happy living my retired life and slowing down. 

Sometimes, sitting on the porch swing is a wonderful place to be!!  FRUGAL CAN BE COOL!

Kimberly Johns, Debt Management Plan Customer with Leading Provider of Debt Relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Kimberly Johns

Kimberly is enrolled on the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Kimberly is very active in the Community Forums, some of you may recognize her Community user name; Tiquie. Recently retired, Kim shares how she and her husband manage the financial challenges of living on a fixed income in their home state of Illinois. The John's have found some really creative and fun ways to offset the limitations of a retirement income. Kimberly generously shares smart and tested tips in her A Straight Talk on Debt blogs! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • I'm decades away from retirement, Kimberly, and I do many of the same things you do for fun.  :)    It seems so much the norm that people think that you have to GO somewhere special to have a good time.  When the weather is nice, one of my favorite things to do is to make up a pitcher of Sangria and just sit on the deck with my wife and neighbors joking around and enjoying the summer weather.  Ok, sometimes we go through more than one pitcher of Sangria - but it's still super inexpensive (comparatively speaking).  We all have such diverse personalities but similar senses of humor - so it's always a great time!

  • Hi Travis - in my younger days, all my friends spent big bucks to have fun.  Afterall, they felt they worked all week and Friday night started R&R time.  It had to be exciting and we didn't mind traveling to generate some fun.  Looking back, I sure wish I had at least half of the money I spent.  I guess I had to get old to wise up! :)

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