The weather has started getting nice, and when the weather’s nice we have a great opportunity to get outdoors and have some fun for free. Substituting more expensive entertainment options for enjoying the beauty and recreation nature offers can increase your health, promote happiness, and lower those line items on your budget. Here are three great ways to get out there and enjoy this time of year:
1. Take a Hike.
Hiking has so many benefits. It increases cardiovascular health. It helps you control your weight while building muscle. It is proven to lower your stress levels. You can also have great adventures when you hit the trail. Some of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen have come unexpectedly after scaling the horizon, whether that be an ocean at my feet or a hidden meadow in the mountains. There’s also unexpected treasures, like the time my friends and I found an abandoned mansion in the middle of the woods. We explored before our
nerves senses got the best of us, and had a much more interesting story to tell when we got home than if we had just plopped down in a movie theatre that afternoon.
There are an abundance of great places to hike. You may not know about them even if they are in your own backyard. Do a google search for hiking in your area, and you’re likely to come across an enthusiast website. Another great option is to search the forums on TripAdvisor or a similar site for the area you live in.
2. Go on a Treasure Hunt.
One of my family’s favourite activities is geocaching. People hide a “cache” somewhere out in nature (though sometime’s they’re in cities,) and then upload coordinates to the geocaching website. Others can then take those coordinates and go find the cache using a device that can tell you how far away you are and which direction to go. Traditionally, small prizes are left inside the cache containers that you can swap for, but most of the thrill is in the finding of the container itself.
We started geocaching when you had to buy a pricey GPS unit to locate your coordinates. Today, the smart phones we all carry around are perfectly capable of doing the same exact thing. The geocaching app is free if you’re just getting started and want to find some beginner caches. If you want to upgrade to get the full list of caches available in your area, you pay a nominal fee. It’s well-worth the small investment to be able to participate in such a fun, free activity again and again. You’d be surprised at all the places there are caches; we’ve discovered new parts of our city and seen sights we’d never have known to visit on our travels all because there was a cache there.
3. Go Out To Eat Without the Restaurant.
If you want a nice meal, date, or outing, make something special of going on a picnic. You can either bring a blanket to lie out or find some picnic tables to enjoy your meal. Sometimes when we spend money unnecessarily, we’re not really seeking over-priced food or the convenience of having someone else cook for us. Sometimes what we’re actually craving is a change in pace and a chance to build memories outside the four walls of our home. Packing up a picnic fulfils that need without busting your budget.
What are some ways you take advantage of the outdoors to save money?