The Money Honey: Enjoying Yourself On A Small Budget

Keeping on a budget is pretty much on everyone’s radar. Funds are not always plentiful and it is often the little things that bring the most joy anyway. During this transitional economy, we are all looking to enrich our physical, mental and spiritual health, and can do so by enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

Set some time aside to plan activities that bring enjoyment and relaxation.  Put your explorer hat on and think back to when you were young and adventurous. Play tourist and go visit a place you have never been to before or go to your nearest city and return to your favorite destination place. Because whether planning an activity by yourself, with a friend or with your family, the following ideas can be enjoyed by everyone!

Physical Activities:

Take a walk or go on a hike. If you need more vigorous physical activity try biking, jogging or running. For the more adventurous and well trained, consider entering a race or marathon.

Free event/festivals:

Go online to research free events in your town or the closest city you live near. There is usually one evening per month that you will find visiting a museum to be free.


Preparing a special meal with friends or for yourself will help get those creative juices flowing. The Farmers Markets offer some of the most reasonable prices for fruits and vegetables. There are multiple listings online for free recipes. Next time you want to make a really creative dish go to This site offers multiple ethnic cuisines by regions around the world.


Learn some new exercise for relaxation to incorporate into your daily routine. Put aside 15 minutes each day and do breathing exercises along with some Pilates or Yoga stretches.

State Parks/Gardens:

Explore the wonderful state parks available to everyone. Bring a camera to capture some wonderful pictures of birds, flowers, trees and lakes. Download a phone application or bring a book that can help you identify the flowers or the birds in your geographic area. Visit a botanical garden and see if you can identify the various flowers.


Go for a hike at a state park or consider going camping for a weekend with some friends. Go on to to get some free information. You can also visit a store that specializes in outdoor activities and camping like REI and speak to a salesperson who can offer suggestions on what you might bring along.


Libraries offer a vast array of books and some even have movies for rent. Bookstores frequently offer some interesting free events and speakers. Most bookstores are open in the evening. Check out the latest bestseller or book by your favorite author. Bring your book to a quiet and safe outdoor area for reading.


Invite some friends to have a picnic or barbecue on the beach during the day and plan to be there at sunset. Collecting sea glass, seashells or various shaped rocks can be enjoyable. You can put your collectibles in an interesting jar or container in our home on display.

It really doesn’t take a great deal of money to stop and take in the simple pleasures.

Linda Winkler Garvin, R.N., M.S.N., of Alameda, California, is Director of Health Management Associates, a health advocate and educator with an advanced degree in nursing. She assists individuals in navigating the complexities of their health problems from medical treatment, health insurance issues, chronic diseases and chronic pain. She is the author of several articles, including nutrition, health insurance, guided imagery & chronic health problems. Learn more at or e-mail her at


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