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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
cheap date night jar

A Year of Fun


A short while back I wrote about a co-worker's quest to pay off their credit card debts (a very worthwhile goal) and how she characterized it as being the "year of suck" because of all the sacrifices they were having to make not using as well as paying down their cards. Several of you wrote with some great advice-especially calling it something more positive like the year of wealth.

Our conversation then turned to things like having fun and date night on little or no money. As others came up with ideas, I have been writing them down and I have a respectable list to share. As always we welcome your suggestions for having fun on very little or no additional money.

Here's my list, in no particular order........

  • Take a bike ride
  • Take a walk-make it more interesting by looking for something like the number of different birds or flowers or how many cans are littering your path
  • Take plastic grocery sacks with you and pick up the aluminum cans and turn them in for money
  • Cook together-watch a cooking show and try to recreate it, cook different parts of the meal or turn it into a competition like "Chopped" or "Iron Chef"
  • See a play at a local theater – many have free preview nights or pay what you can nights
  • Play scrabble- no rules! Or make up rules like make it look like a text message or only 5 lettered words.
  • Search through the local paper of homes for sale and go to open houses (WARNING- this could lead to the "need" for a new house-speaking from experience here)
  • Free movies in local parks
  • Make your favorite cookies from scratch
  • Test drive your dream car
  • Do something you did as a kid or that your kids like to do-build a fort, a tent in the living room, play with Legos ™ or any of your kids tows (as long as they are asleep!)
  • Make breakfast and then eat it in bed
  • Have breakfast and read the paper or do the crossword puzzle...for dinner
  • Play a game the other person likes (make sure each gets a chance to play their favorite)
  • Learn Origami (Japanese paper folding) and do it with money-keep the pretty folded items in a bowl as "savings"
  • Decorate a money jar or tin with pictures of what you are saving the money for
  • Go on a scavenger hunt for loose change around your house
  • Make a found money jar and look for all the coins etc. you find on the ground. Save it for a month, a year etc. and guess how much you have found.
  • Have a marathon of your favorite TV series
  • Find a favorite TV series from your child hood and watch it.
  • Watch a child flick with take out
  • Watch an action movie with "guy food" like hot dogs or wings
  • Eat a meal backwards starting with dessert
  • Play board games
  • Go to a playground or park at night and swing on the swings
  • Make a bucket list
  • Make a plan of exactly you'd spend a lottery jackpot
  • Rent or borrow a game system and stay up all night playing
  • Have Italian movie night and pizza
  • Have spaghetti and watch Lady and the Tramp-share a long spaghetti noodle and a kiss!

You can write these on cards or popcicle sticks and put them in a jar to draw at random-making the plan a surprise. If you do one of these a week, you will have enough for more than half a year.

Just think of the money you'll save...and the fun you will have doing it!



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