Saturday, September 2

Just Passing Time

As I mentioned recently, often we are driven to spend money to relieve boredom or seek entertainment. Instead of throwing money at the problem there are some simple strategies that you can apply to keep occupied, interested and healthy. I guess this is more of a lifestyle tip than a frugality tip, but if you've become lost in the corporate world mentality then you need it.

If you have a home with a yard or with a deck, or even just a balcony, put some toys out there! No, I don't mean for children. Maybe a hammock would do the trick? Put on some soothing music, grab a good book, bring a container of iced tea and just relax and de-stress. If you need exercise perhaps put up a badminton net. You can play against a spouse, your children or your children can play one another. It sure beats having them sitting around the Xbox or Playstation. Heck, the kids can even use it for volleyball - who cares if it isn't regulation.

Not enough space for these types of toys? With just a small deck, or even without, you can perhaps put a BBQ out there. This is often a good way to get the hubby to take a larger share of cooking duties too (shh, don't tell him I said that). Standing outside flipping frugally purchased meats and vegetables is a lot healhier than sitting on your arse watching TV while someone else cooks dinner. A little bit of shared effort and contribution goes a long way towards keeping a family happy.

If you live in an apartment, then generally you may have just a small balcony. Even so, you can usually keep some planters full of vegetables, herbs or even just flowers on it. Taking the time to care for and water your plants will add something relaxing to your day. You might even get some flowers for your table, a few herbs or vegetables to use in your meals. You won't find many things more satisfying than growing your own fresh ingredients by hand.

While these things aren't exactly free, you can consider them an investment. You are investing in your own well being and that of your family. If you can find fun and healthy activities that keep family members from being bored, then you may be able to save money in the long run by not having to throw as much cash at other things which are generally used to stave off boredom.

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the library. If you, your spouse or your children have free time, encouraging them to read quality books is a great way to keep the mind sharp. The best thing about the library is that it's free and family oriented. Sure, at certain age groups your children won't want to be seen with you, but at that age you can just let them off on their own once you arrive until later when it is time to go.

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