5 Ways To Break The “Having Fun” Spending Arms Race!

The Illusion of Social Media

Do you ever look at social media and notice how much “more” fun all your other friends are having compared to you? You’re in your pajamas in bed and you are looking at glorious Instagram vacations in tropical settings, fancy food at expensive restaurants and romantic evenings on the town!

What if it’s all an illusion?

For many reasons this is highly misleading and a kind of illusion. You have to remember that social media has made us all into minor marketers and salesman. Some are marketing their life, their status, their success, politics, etc. We choose to look because it can be hard to peel our eyes away. You might be busy uploading a catalog of all your awesome experiences and someone else is gazing longingly at the exotic location you are ecstatically enjoying at that moment. We have entered at times a scary new world of social media. We have all seen how social media can be used to do harm, ignite public sentiment, spread lies, etc. We know that the architects of social media are designing it to make it addictive to us, like a drug. We do not know the long term effect of this on our brains or children’s brains. All the while there are a few people in Silicon Valley making a fortune off the population by tracking their every move and targeting advertisements in new and clever ways that prey on our weaknesses as the human animal.

Spending too much on fun?

The bottom line is that people are going broke trying to have fun. But the good news is that there is another way. There are hundreds of ways to have a great time and hack the financial aspect of having fun! The point here though is to provide a couple of ideas and strategies we can deploy to have fun without destroying our wealth building capabilities:  

1. Do “local” travel

Travel is great in my opinion and it certainly opens the mind and expands our view of the world. But we can’t all blow through $10,000 on an exotic overseas trip. Therefore, why not explore the part of your world just beyond your normal boundaries. You may be surprised by what you find. I am often amazed at discovering new parts of the city I live in! Growing up we did a lot of road trips in the great West of America. There is so much to see and explore in the country. There are many ways to find economical AirBNB’s or do camping adventures. Find a way to buy groceries on the adventure and make some of the meals to reduce the cost of eating out. The point is that these kinds of trips can be just as rewarding as an overseas adventure. In some ways they can also be more relaxing and rejuvenating. Travel if possible to places where you can stay at a family members house for a while, this can help drastically reduce the hotel and lodging costs.  

2. Fun free things to do

There are so many things to do over the weekends that are free or relatively inexpensive. Take advantage of local parks and hiking. Pack a lunch or snack and you are off. Out of the house, seeing things and exercising for a fraction of the cost of an elaborate trip.
  • Many cities have free or discount museum days.
  • Take the kids to park, run around, play ball…
  • Picnics are low cost, take some outdoor equipment…
  • Board game nights are low cost and fun.
  • Yoga night…

3. Have a house party

Bring the party to your house, no need to go out. Invite some friends over and make it a stay at home party night. This reduces the costs of food, drinks and expensive cover charges. I love doing this with kids. Invite the parents over and let the kids go nuts in the backyard while you kick back with some friends.  

4. Go out on a budget

If you do go out, do some things to mitigate the costs. For example:
  • share and split meals. Save the calories and the expense.
  • limit the alcohol and drinks, these really add up.
  • use coupons or discounts when possible. Many places offer coupons all the time.

5. Road trips and camping

Camping and road trips are a very economical way to travel. Once you have invested in the initial gear, the rest is just planning and fun. Some of my greatest childhood memories are road trips through the great western US. This was an economical way to travel.  

Life is not a “fun” competition

Keep in mind that life is not a race to see who can jam the most fun into 95 years of life. Life is about learning, evolving, caring, building and creating. No one can do everything. Yes, fun is part of the equation, but there are ways to have fun and see the world without spending a fortune. We must prioritize what means the most to us and make our resources cover these goals the best we can. There is a time for every kind of experience. And if something is a very high priority and costs money, then save the money diligently to go do it!

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