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Free Entertainment

21 March, 2008

Everyone wants to find cheap ways to entertain themselves and their families, or find ways to spend less while enjoying their favourite hobbies. Here are six great suggestions to keep you occupied and rest your wallet.

1. Fairs and Fetes
Most local government areas will play host to a variety of markets, fetes and fairs over the course of a year. They can provide hours of entertainment (although you may be tempted to spend up at the stalls, you don’t have to). Locally, we have been to a medieval fair, but there are as many different types of fairs around as there are local government areas. Keep an eye out in the local newspaper and on community noticeboards for announcements of events.

2. Public Holidays
Public Holidays are usually a source of free entertainment. Local councils, community groups and businesses sponsor free events in public places. There can be fireworks, concerts, demonstrations, face painting, motorbike rides, crafts and an assortment of other activities, all for free. Our local council has a large event on every Australia Day with concerts, fireworks, giveaways and demonstrations for free as well as additional paid events.

3. Free Classes
Many churches, community groups, libraries and university offer free or low cost classes to interested members of the community. They are often advertised in local papers, on websites and at the facility that will host the classes. I have personally attended vegetarian cooking workshops for free (which included health talks on a variety of topics). They were great!

4. Open Days
Each year the Fire Brigade and Police have their own open days, when areas that are normally closed to the public are open for tours, all for free. Other local museums and facilities may have their own open days where you can have a look for free – sometimes at facilities that normally charge hefty entrance fees.

5. Switch an expensive hobby for a cheaper one
Many hobbies are quite expensive but not all hobbies are. Scrapbooking is a time and energy consuming hobby, but those who do it love it. There are ways to scrapbook on the cheap, or there are similar hobbies (such as card making) that use similar skills and equipment, but may provide more “useful” entertainment. Our personal favourite hobbies are reading (which costs nothing if you borrow books from friends or the library) and playing board games. Our board game hobby can get expensive on occasion, but for the price of a single concert ticket we can purchase two excellent games that will give us hours of enjoyment.

6. Turn your hobby into a money making venture
If you love your hobby too much to give it up, you may be able to make money out of it (or at least use it to save money). If you love to cook, you could cook people take home goodies (such as biscuits) as a gift or serve them up a three course meal as a gift. You could use your scrapbooking skills to make cards – saving you from buying them for birthdays. You may find that family members will pay you to make cards for them to give to friends and family. You may be able to teach a class about your hobby. Some activities can be done more cheaply with a little more time. Some sporting groups may give you a discount on your annual fees if you volunteer to umpire other games or coach a children’s team. With a bit of creative thinking you could turn your favourite hobby into a side business!

What’s free in your local area that you haven’t taken advantage of?

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