5 Ways to Entertain When the Budget is Tight

We’ve all come across some times when our budget doesn’t allow us the luxury of going out on the weekends. While we could do it if we wanted to rack up some credit card debt, that shouldn’t be the first choice. I’ve dealt with a large amount of credit card debt, but I paid it off. I sacrificed my way toward debt freedom by cutting out the luxuries and novelties I used to hold close. I thought I had to party hard on the weekends. I thought I had to spend a lot of money to enjoy myself. I was wrong and have since seen the error of my ways. Today, I hope you enjoy a post from a budgeting master from CleverDude.com. Brock Kernin hails from CleverDude, where he writes about family, marriage, finances and life. He is here to show you a few ways to keep yourself entertained when the budget doesn’t allow for much wiggle room.

Please welcome Brock!

All weekend spending is not created equal. Some weekends my wife and I have plans that require a lot of funds, while others leave us with an empty social calendar. Because my wife and I have bi-monthly budget cycles, when we find ourselves with a weekend full of activities we try to balance it by laying low the following or preceding weekend.

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Whenever this phenomenon occurs, my wife questions how we will possibly entertain ourselves without much for discretionary funds. As is the case with many people, we have numerous things in our home that could provide us hours of entertainment. Many of these things were once bright and shiny new, and often used. Over time we started taking them for granted, got bored with them from using them so often and delegated them to the back of our minds. Those low budget weekends are a perfect time to blow the dust off these items, bring them back to life, and let them relive their past glory.

Old Game Consoles

We have a PlayStation 2 in our basement along with a Karaoke game called SingStar that my wife and I used to love to play together. We also have a Nintendo Wii that we used to play Wii blowing while having tunes cranked from our home stereo. She has a much better voice than I do, but I can take her to the cleaners in bowling. I think it’s time for a rematch.


We bought a used, full sized dart machine (the kind you see in bars) over ten years ago for $150. For just a few dollars we could get new tips and flights and see if I can still hit a hat trick.

Smores by the Fire

Earlier this year we bought a propane fire table. Evenings are getting a bit chilly; perfect weather to sit by the fire and make smores with the family. A refill of our propane tank would fit nicely within a reduced entertainment budget. It’s great to have some nice family time around a fire table and enjoying good conversation.

While the fire table cost us money upfront, it’s very inexpensive to refill the propane tank and keep us warm through many weekends. It’s nice to relax by a fire, you know?

Laugh Together

We pay $8 a month for the Netflix streaming service. One of the many things my wife and I have in common is our love of laughter. With countless comedies and stand up comedy specials available, we can laugh the entire weekend without spending a penny out of our pocket.

If you have some card games lying around your house, you can also have some fun together. Have you played the game Cards Against Humanity yet? Countless laughter can be had with that game! Just be careful, it can get inappropriate at times 🙂 .

Outdoor Yard Games

Many years ago a family member made a set of a popular bean bag yard game for everyone in the family as a Christmas present. We used to spend hours playing the game with friends or by ourselves. I bet my aim would come back to me after a few games. If you have different games you can play outside, then go do it. It’s cheap and there’s fun to be had when you can get your friends and family together for some outdoor games. No credit cards needed for this type of entertainment.

It’s easy to forget the sources of entertainment that we already have right in their own homes. They’re no longer shiny or new, and they’ve been used a hundred times. But it shouldn’t be to hard to conjure up memories of how much fun they they once were. Bring them back, even if just for a short time, to fill an occasional weekend with inexpensive fun.

What do you have in your home that you’ve forgotten about, but used to give you hours of fun and entertainment?

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  1. It is amazing that when you disconnect from the electronics and just start doing some old school things for entertainment like we use to do back in the day…..how much fun you can have. I believe we have really gotten spoiled with all the modern day gadgets and have forgotten how to just enjoy each others company. When I look back I can’t believe how much fun we use to have playing outside with just sticks and dirt….

  2. True story, Petrish……as a kid I remember just getting a bunch of friends together and riding bike around our small town for hours and hours! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I had a ton of fun over the holidays playing games with my cousins, and can’t wait until my kid is old enough for more complicated games (we’re still on Candy Land). And we love bonfires.
    We also like free events. Our public library often has special events on the weekend that cost nothing.