10 Ways to Have Fun with $10 or Less

Dump Out Your Piggy Bank!

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Find Some Frugal Friends

As someone that has been on a tight budget for quite some time, I understand how difficult it can be at times. Everyone has friends or co-workers that seem to never run out of money or don't mind spending their money on fun things. However, you never know just how much debt those folks are in or what their checking account might look like. So don't be jealous of the folks out there that seem to be having a blast. You can also have a great time! You can have fun with just $10.

Many of the ideas in this hub revolve around the idea that you have some frugal friends in your life that also want to have fun for a low price. Personally, I find it extremely difficult when those around me want to party hard with plenty of money, but I want to look for bargains and use coupons. Sure, you can hang out with those friends sometimes, but it is essential to surround yourself with other people that are on the same page with you about saving money.

Also, much of the ideas in this hub do not include travel expenses. In many cases, you can do these activities in your own home or in nearby locations. I personally walk to many places or take public transportation, which costs very little money if any at all. Plus, if you are friends with a bunch of thrifty people, you can often split the cost of gas or cab fare so there is barely any cost at all. If you are lucky, you may have one friend that enjoys driving a carload of poor people around and never asks for gas money. Typically, that is the person getting government aid or money from Mom or Dad. No matter how old I get, I still find adults that regularly get hand outs from their parents. Welcome to the new millennium!

So without further hesitation, here are some ways you can have fun while only spending $10 or less. You can have fun on the weekend and not feel so poor!

1. Go Bowling

Bowling can be pretty pricy if you go to the snazzy, expensive Rock N Bowl alley a few towns over. I am not suggesting that. If you enjoy bowling, you should look for a bowling alley that gives discounts and coupons. If it is in a not-so-great part of town, make sure to go there during daylight hours.

Many places are trying really hard to pull in more customers. You can visit websites or look in local papers for discount coupons. It is not that difficult to find a low-budget bowling alley that charges you about $5 for shoe rentals and then a couple of bucks per game. If you are lucky, you will find something at an even lower price.

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2. Go to a Park

Just about anywhere you go, there are a number of state parks. Even if you don't have one near you, there is probably a small park in your own neighborhood or a close neighborhood. If you are lucky, there is even a playground. You can often walk to smaller parks or drive a short distance for a state park. Sometimes there is a parking fee, but it is usually not too expensive.

It is not so difficult to make a nice picnic lunch and go to a park. Of course, you won't want to do this in the winter if you live in a cold climate, but it is quite fun to do this during the warmer months. You can also play a game like volleyball or soccer, or walk your dog if you happen to have one. You could even borrow a dog from neighbors if they do not have time to walk their pet.

If all else fails, listening to some music while sitting on beach towels with friends is certainly a wonderful way to pay some time. It never hurts to play in the playground either... even if you are probably too old to fit on the equipment.

3. Have a Movie Marathon

Just about anyone has movies on DVD or downloaded movies on a computer. Why not get all your friends together and watch some of these movies? The only expenses will be if you decide to actually feed these friends. Popcorn, chips and sodas are certainly under $10 at the dollar store!

Even if you don't have a lot movies people want to watch, most channels tend to show marathons of shows or movies all the time now. You can have different themes like an all-day Stephen King movie marathon or a Harry Potter marathon. You could even encourage people to dress up as their favorite characters. You don't even need to go out for this event! Depending on how dorky all of you look dressed up like movie characters, you wouldn't want to go out in public anyway.

4. Go See a Movie

I know what you are thinking, you have to practically take out a loan just go to the movies now. That does not always have to be the case though. At many theaters, you can get in at an extremely low price if you get there before noon. Sure, you may not want to get up early on a Saturday, but seeing a movie for about $6 is a bargain.

You might want to have food to snack on, but buying food at the theater is a big no-no in the world of thriftiness. Even though I will not outright encourage you to sneak in food at the movies since that is prohibited in most places, I will tell you it is much less expensive. Popping popcorn at home, packing it up in Tupperware, bringing a small water bottle, or maybe some candy is very discreet in a big purse. If you are a guy, a large jacket with deep pockets works. Of course, I would never tell you to do this! That would be so wrong of me.

All of These Items Fit in a Large Purse (Just Saying....)

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5. Go Out to Dinner

Go out to dinner? Did I really just say that? Yes, I did! You can go out to dinner for under $10. You just have to know where to go. First and foremost, most restaurants are desperately trying to lure in customers. Plenty of restaurants have coupons, bargain offers, or loyalty programs.

For instance, I constantly receive email coupons from TGI Friday's because of their loyalty program. I can also get free chips and salsa whenever I go there due to the loyalty program. Depending on the coupon I use and if I order water instead of a drink, I can easily afford to spend $10... tip included! It helps if you are going with friends though so everyone can enjoy the free chips and the server does not feel too bummed out about such a small order.

If you are nervous about dining out for less than 10 bucks or you want a real soda to drink, you can avoid paying a tip entirely if you go to a restaurant that is nice, but does not have servers. Many restaurants offer coupons, loyalty programs, and low-priced food that is decent, such as: Panera, Noodles & Company, Corner Bakery, Chipotle, Qdoba, etc. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get quality food.

Target Dollar Deals

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6. Go On a Shopping Spree!

If you love to go shopping, but this economy has been ruining your good time, it is time to start shopping again. If you have decided you have $10 to blow this weekend on having a good time, you can still go shopping. You just have to be picky about where you go. Some suggestions for places you can spend $10 or less, and still get some fun items are:

  • Dollar store
  • Walmart
  • Target (especially the dollar section)
  • Low-budget grocery stores like Save-a-Lot or Food Lion
  • Thrift shops
  • Farmer's market
  • Big Lots
  • Consignment shops

Bargain shopping at its finest...

7. Go to a Festival

Once warm weather begins, many people are inclined to celebrate it. This is why there are so many spring festivals. There are also a number of summer, winter, and fall festivals, too, but it seems as if there is an abundance in the spring. Did you know many festivals are free to attend? This is perfect if the festival is in your own neighborhood or close to your neighborhood. You can spend your entire 10 dollars on lunch and snacks.

What I recommed for a festival is carrying a bottle of water with you (sneak it in if need be) and spend your money on other more important items, like funnel cake or a giant hot dog. You might even have enough money to get a hamburger and ride a couple of carnival rides depending on the prices. What a fun way to spend a day!

Not to mention, there are usually vendors giving away lots of free stuff. I managed to carry away free items like a new cooler bag, new pens, a keychain, a superhero cape, and even a free roll of toilet paper the last time I went to a festival... and it was free to get in! You really can't beat a bargain like that.

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8. Check Out the Library

Perhaps you enjoy your solitude and curling up to a good book. Well, the library is the perfect FREE place to go. You don't even need to worry about spending that $10 unless there is one of those nifty and cute coffee shops inside your local library, and you decide to get a delicious frappuccino.

For a very low cost, you can often rent movies and CDs as well at your local library. Each branch has its own prices and rules for rentals, but it is worth checking out if you'd like to save some money. The library is also a peaceful place to go when you want to get out of your home, but can't spend much. You can use a public computer, read a free magazine, or read a library book right there. Sometimes you just need a change in scenery.

9. Drink and Be Merry

OK, so I know drinking is not the only way to have fun. I am not much of a drinker myself. I do, however, acknowledge that many people enjoy drinking. It is a fun time for many people out there, so this section is dedicated to you. Yes, you can have fun drinking on a budget!

Many bars and restaurants now offer drinks at a discounted price to lure customers in. Also, Happy Hour prices are ridiculously cheap no matter how desperate the establishment is in this economy. In many bars, you can get Happy Hour drinks for just $3 or $4 a drink. This is a great way to unwind with co-workers at the end of the day. You can get 2 or 3 drinks for under 10 bucks. Some bars and restaurants even give Happy Hour prices at times other than Happy Hour just to keep customers coming back.

If you are not into the social drinking scene, but into drinking at home, there are a number of cheap alcoholic drinks you can purchase for under 10 dollars. It also helps if you get coupons from your local liquor stores. if you want to have a party with drinking, encourage your friends to bring their favorite drinks and you can combine all your alcohol together.

10. Board Game Party

A good low-budget party you can have at your home is a board game party. Sure, some people get bored by board games, but whatever. They don't need to come over. On the invitations, you indicate everyone is free to bring their own games and bring over their favorite snacks. Since you are hosting this party, it would be a good idea to get a case or two of sodas as well as some cheap snacks. I recommend getting all the food at the dollar store or Walmart. You will definitely keep it under $10 that way.

Once everyone arrives, you can decide if you are going to have one game going or many games going at once depending on the amount of people. You can also have bonus rounds, tournaments, and door prizes. I would recommend using some fun items around your home that you no longer want for door prizes. It is funnier if you have random bags to put the prizes in, such as old gift bags and store bags. Just wait until your cousin Lou wins your socks with kittens all of them. Let the fun begin!


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BONUS ADVICE!

Depending on where you live and your interests, some of these ideas might be some low-budget fun options for you. Check out some of these awesome ideas:

  • Splash in a pool - If it is summer, this is totally an option. This is especially the case if you live at an apartment building with a pool or have a friend with a pool. If you don't have access to a pool, buy a kiddie pool for about $10. You'd be surprised how much fun you can have with a tiny pool. Also, you will amuse your neighbors.
  • Go to the beach - Of course, this is only low-budget if you live by the beach. Otherwise, do not listen to my advice. Remember to pack a lunch, too. It can be an expensive day trip if you do not plan ahead.
  • Visit some museums - Just about every city has museums and many of them are free. Do an online search to find museums near you that are free or inexpensive. You just might learn something!
  • Have a zoo adventure - Some zoos are expensive. Don't bother going to those zoos. Other zoos are free. Those are the best zoos to visit. Visiting an aquarium or a zoo that is under $10 is the best goal. You usually have to pay a little to see something nice, although the zoo in Washington, D.C. is quite nice and free.
  • Take a ghost tour - Yes, these tours can range in price, too. You can get lucky and find one at a cheap price, especially when it is not Halloween. The closer it gets to Halloween, the more the ghost tours crawl out of the woodwork, but usually for a high price. Always look for coupons, too!

Fun for Under 10 Bucks

Do you believe you can have a good time for $10 or less?

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MORE BONUS ADVICE!

Now that we've discussed what you can do for $10 or under, here are some activities I think you should avoid if you are broke. You might see your money disappear quickly if you are not careful. When trying to keep a tight budget, please try to avoid:

  • Shopping at an expensive mall.
  • Planning a big wedding.
  • Taking a trip to Hawaii (unless you already live in Hawaii).
  • Going on any fancy vacation, for that matter.
  • Staying at a motel.
  • Partying at a nightclub.
  • Dating lots of people.
  • Gambling!


I am not saying you can't do these things. I am just saying it will be almost impossible to keep most of those activities under 10 bucks. Don't say I didn't warn you!



Copyright ©2013 Jeannieinabottle


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Comments 14 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

This is my lifestyle, Jeannie. You are preaching to the choir. I can squeeze a buffalo nickel and get poop. Just sayin' LOL

Loved the suggestions but more importantly love your sense of humor.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Oh, Bill, I would pay $10 to see you squeeze a buffalo nickel and get poop. Hehe. Thanks for checking out my hub!


jericho911 profile image

jericho911 3 years ago from Ohio

I'm also very frugal ! Half price apps and water at applebees!

Also, Chipotle is soooo good and under $10 !


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

Some pretty good ideas here for sure. And in today's economic landscape very good. Thanks for sharing all these great ideas.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Great idea for an article! So many families, couples, and groups of friends are always on the lookout for a new, inexpensive outing. There is something here for everyone.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

jericho911 - Oh yes, Applebee's is usually pretty low-budget, too. I also have a great love for the Greene Turtle, but I think that is only a regional restaurant. Crab soup and salad for under $10... woo-hoo!

carol7777 - Thanks so much! I've had to seriously readjust my spending in the last few years. I guess most people have had to do the same.

randomcreative - I tried to think of a variety of activities... mostly, I was focusing on things I've already done that were realistically under $10.

Thanks everyone for your comments!


europewalker profile image

europewalker 3 years ago

Good ideas Jeannie. Sometimes being on a budget is no fun but I have gotten used to it. Your hub shows that there are still fun things to do even on a tight budget. Voted up.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Being on a budget is one big bummer sometimes, but as long as I look at it as a challenge, it makes it a little easier. Thanks for the vote up and for the comment!


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Great thrifty ideas, Jeannie. And we do think alike (great minds and all that). Your photo of what to take to the movies, discreetly concealed of course, is exactly what I bring in: bottle of water, popcorn and M&M peanuts.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

It is always good to be discreet when sneaking in food. M&Ms tend to not smell and everyone else is eating popcorn anyway. I used to be friends with someone that would sneak in burritos. It is hard to be discreet with a burrito.

Thanks for checking out my hub!


Laura in Denver profile image

Laura in Denver 3 years ago from Aurora

Yepper, lots of free stuff to do. In the Denver area, check out http://scfd.org/p/free-days-calendar.html for all the free days at Denver's expensive museums and cultural centers.

From: http://scfd.org/

"Since 1989, Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) has distributed funds from a 1/10 of 1% sales and use tax to cultural facilities throughout the seven-county Denver, Colorado metropolitan area..."


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I suppose every town has some inexpensive activities for residents. Thanks for sharing!


StellaSee profile image

StellaSee 3 years ago from California

Hi Jeannie, as I was scrolling down, I noticed your comment about friends sneaking in burritos which reminded me...one time my dad and I snuck in some Carl's Jr.s...I wonder why the theater was okay with that? We weren't very discreet at all! But yes, my friends and I we sneak in snacks all the time, thanks for the great tips :)


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I think you got lucky and went to a theater with some workers that either were not paying attention or did not care. I've heard of some theaters allowing people to carry in slices of pizzas from restaurants, but I've heard of other theaters kicking people out for sneaking in chips. Weird, isn't it? Thanks for your comment!

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