14 Free or Frugal Things to Do for Pleasure

Karen Madej

Plus 1 Not Free and Not Always a Pleasure

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Imagine being in a position where the only bills are your rent, utilities, and food and necessities, leaving you free to choose what you need to not just survive, but gives you the gifts of free time, slowing down, and enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

To reach the point where you have no loans, no credit cards, and no overdraft might take you years. The first 14 on the list of simple frugal pleasures might help you cut costs, pay off loans and other debts. Number 15 might cost you more than you anticipate.

  1. Writing about anything and everything; the subjects you are passionate about, the ones you can’t stand, and everything in between. Why not? Pen letters, emails, blog posts, articles for you or for publication to share with the world. If you don’t like writing, try recording videos and sharing them on Youtube or Vimeo. If you prefer listening, you might choose to record a podcast, I hear this form of media is pretty popular these days.
  2. Photography, for those times when you are out and about, or even from your kitchen window when you see something so spectacular you are compelled to stop and capture the moment.
  3. Walking is the best free exercise, apart, perhaps, from energetic sex, where you can get your adrenaline boogying and those endorphins spinning. Especially in conjunction with point 12 — the walking not the sex part.
  4. Free apps like WhatsApp and Messenger to keep in touch with friends and family have to be one of the best freebies of the Internet, no?
  5. Reading a gripping thriller from the library, I highly recommend all of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, is a wonderful escape at the end of the day. They are much better than the films and you will fall for Reacher, guaranteed, regardless of your gender.
  6. Meeting someone new and having a fantastic conversation, by accident or arrangement, is incredibly energising. Sharing thoughts, anecdotes, and your favourite colours, snacks, authors, etc., is manna for the soul. Try taking a flask of homemade coffee to the park instead of going to a coffee shop or cafe.
  7. Smelling roses, coffee, bread, and fresh air-dried laundry. You are never too old to appreciate these olfactory bliss outs. You know when you take a monumental breath in and your eyeballs roll up into their sockets? Yes, those smells are the best. I always find the time to do this.
  8. Seeing a pug causes me to turn into the fifty-something-year-old equivalent of a Beatles fan in the sixties, or The Bay City Roller’s in the seventies! I have to hold most of the glee inside, though, as I would look like a crazy lady. Aren’t they just the cutest little creatures? Pugs, not the pop idols, that is. I wouldn’t want the expense of owning one but I can go weak at the knees and rave about how wonderful the wee doggy is. Plus there’s the added bonus of chatting with the owner.
  9. Power dancing, walking and singing to your favourite tune when nobody is looking. My Google Play subscription is worth every penny. I don’t have to keep dusty CDs on shelves in my living room or thousands of MP3s on my laptop. I just search for what I fancy bopping and grooving to in the quiet streets, across fields and down country lanes.
  10. Listening to birdsong in the morning is a delight. I smile while making my tea with Scottish tea bags composed of leaves which give the optimum flavour when brewed with Scottish tap water and add a splash of single cream. This auditory and gustatory combination is heaven. I’m sure you have the equivalent of a fabulous cup of tea where you live.
  11. Sharing a smile with a stranger costs nothing, zero pence, nada. Yet, it can mean the earth to me and the elderly man walking his three-legged dog.
  12. Buying naughty food such as chocolate cherry delights from your favourite store at a discounted rate, especially if you’d been waiting to try them out for six weeks and the day has arrived, at last.
  13. Having to eat both reduced price chocolate cherry delights the same day is a hard task but who else is going to savour every spoonful if not you?
  14. Finding exactly the right shape and weight whisky glass in a charity shop. It doesn’t have to be a whisky glass. Give yourself a mini-mission to find the perfect something that your home or life would benefit from. Something that makes you squeal with delight when you find it!
  15. CAUTION: A mind-altering substance of your choice, as Millennials call them, for relaxation purposes can be pleasant at the time, but we all (with the exception of my dad, he’s never been drunk) know what happens if we overindulge. I enjoy the drinking immensely but are the sore thick head and upset tummy worth it?

If inclined, choose your poison but use it responsibly. Mine is wine or whisky. I’d love to try magic mushrooms but I’m too scared and I don’t have any idea where to pick them. I tried a hash cookie, once. I spent the whole evening in a catatonic state. Friends, who were due to come over, arrived. I could hear everything they were saying, but I was incapable of saying one word to them. I was disgusted with myself for wasting an evening. Mind-altering substances are an expensive to buy pleasure with a double-whammy sting in the tail.

Number 15 might not be seen as the most positive tip to end with, but I felt it should be included because millions of us do treat these drugs as both recreational and pleasurable. In fact, I've heard that microdoses of psychedelics are quite the thing with Millenials. Take, for example, my son. He doesn't drink alcohol but he does enjoy the occasional microdose of a magic mushroom or a spliff. He's even offered to sit with me if I'd like to try something mind-altering that doesn't come in a bottle. Maybe one day I will be brave (or is that crazy?) enough to take him up on his charming offer.

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Passionate about climate change and living a debt-free, sustainable life. Determined to learn how to and build an adobe house or Earthship. The goal is to live off-grid and off the land. Energy for heat and to power electrical devices and appliances will use solar, wind, and hydro-powered electricity. No trees will die to make my home.

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