Free Living – Frugal Confessions

Free Living

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Sometimes using free tickets, eating leftovers, and taking advantage of giveaways seem to not really amount to anything. Maybe once a month you go to a free museum opening, and one night a week you have leftovers. This does save you money, but it doesn’t seem to add up quickly enough because it is spread over an extended period of time. In between each of these free or nearly free things that you do, you are eating out, or have to get groceries, and fill your car with X tanks of gas.

But sometimes, you can lump together your resources to make several days or even a week of totally-free living—a sinfully sweet deal. That’s what my boyfriend and I did a few weekends ago, and we both are feeling the tangible results from the experience. We did not purposefully do this, but by Sunday morning we realized that neither of us had spent a dime since Wednesday evening, and decided that we had to finish off the weekend scott-free by foregoing spending until Monday.

On Thursday night we went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston when the museum opens its doors for free. They had a great exhibit featuring treasures salvaged even after years of warfare in Afghanistan—truly a sight to see. The lapis lazuli color permeating the walls of the exhibit was enough in itself to make the trip worth it. On Friday night, we borrowed a movie from friends and stayed in, eating leftovers from my wonderful homemade macaroni’n’cheese. Saturday at lunchtime we went to a barbecue with ribeye and sirloin steak, salads, cakes, and wonderful company at a friend’s home. After the feast, we set up a game of horseshoes and battled each other until the wee evening hours. Then on Sunday we snagged a pair of free tickets to see a new movie. For the onslaught of mid-morning rain, we drank tea from beautiful, silk tea bags leftover from our trip to San Antonio weeks earlier. Dinner was roasted red potatoes with fresh rosemary (compliments of our neighbors who have an abundance of this and many other herbs), salad, and chicken. Dessert was homemade strawberry shortcake, from strawberries Paul and I picked at our favorite farmer’s market last weekend, and other ingredients we had all ready on hand.

By pooling your resources together, you can set up this scenario as well and make a real difference to your budget while still enjoying your life. Start off by planning your meals ahead of time around ingredients and items you’ve been meaning to use up in your freezer, cupboards, and supply closet. Research your area, and see if there are any free openings during the weekend—perhaps an art gallery or a museum. Host a video night with your friends to stay in. Check out a free lecture at your local library. Volunteer some place and meet some new people. Use up a gift card to a spa, restaurant, or retail store you’ve been meaning to since Christmas.

Use whatever it is that you have at your fingertips to create a niche of time that is totally free for you to live, breathe, and experience life. Who knows, you might just start scheduling these once a month! It can be pretty addictive.

Free in Houston this Weekend:

Houston Museum of Fine Arts: Free admission on Thursday Nights
Japanese Garden in Hermann Park
Holocaust Museum
Port of Houston Ship Channel Tour (need to make reservations)
Miller Outdoor Theater: Playing on Friday–Peter and the Wolf

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