Step away from your screen and find other wallet-friendly ways to keep busy

Who knew that streaming our latest shows and music would lose entertainment value. But, after seven months of intensive screentime, you’re undoubtedly craving other forms of entertainment than this, which won’t break the bank, and will be great for your health, too. Here are a few fun, frugal and safe ideas.

Personal DNA testing

This is a rabbit hole of intrigue and learning. For between $ 89 — $ 200 dollars, you can unearth your family’s origin story. And, that’s got an entertainment afterlife of many months, if not years. DNA kits can be safely ordered online, your sample sent via mail, and results provided digitally within a few weeks. From there, you could embark on research about your family tree, create new relationships with long lost relatives on Zoom, and educate your own children about their heritage.

Second-hand fitness equipment

At the start of the pandemic, I decided to learn how to run properly with my baby. Because this was a new activity for me, and I wasn’t 100 per cent sure how successful I was going to be, I bought a used running stroller off of Kijiji for $ 50, rather than paying $ 500 for a new one. Since April, I’ve used that stroller over 50 times, without a hitch; meaning my cost per use is below $ 1. I also feel great!

If you or your kid want to master the game of basketball after binge watching “The Last Dance,” the Michael Jordan series, throughout the pandemic, my advice is to try used, before you buy a new net for your driveway. The same goes for any new sport you’re thinking about getting into. Second-hand equipment does need a pretty close inspection to ensure it’s working, and is safe. But, if you love this new form of healthy fitness entertainment, it’s an expense with many good returns.

Register in a course or membership

A few months back I signed up for a course on how to create better digital copy and creative treatments for my website, ads and posts. It’s opened up a world of writing enhancements as well as new tools to design my work more beautifully, and it’s provided hours of fresh non-television-based weekly entertainment.

Learning something new can be fun; photography, cooking, money skills, yoga, how to build a better online dating profile and so much more. The costs for courses and memberships vary widely — from $ 19 per month to $ 250 per month, for example, but I’d say that a well-reviewed program, that focuses on something you love, you can afford (approximately 3 per cent of your take-home pay is a good benchmark to follow for personal well-being), and keeps you entertained and healthy, is probably a worthwhile investment. And nowadays, if it’s a course, generally you’ll get access to traditional curriculum (things to read and workbooks), and live learning sessions or a private Facebook group; which means new friends for you!

Read more

When was the last time you made reading for pleasure a part of your daily routine? Certainly, you can use the library to get your materials; most are open with modified borrowing rules due to COVID-19, or take books from “Free Little Library” boxes in your neighbourhood (return when you’re done). But, if you’re not comfortable with these free options, it is OK to buy books. There are plenty of digital coupons for hot new titles, classics, or even magazines. So, save where you can. My advice is to find your pace for reading (eg. 10 or 20 min a day), and start with one or two titles. Then, figure out what you’d like to order for the month ahead, which fits your entertainment budget for books. Try to avoid an unread book pileup. It’s expensive.

Get some coaching

What do you want to work on; strength training, better sleep, how to be a coach yourself. Working one-on-one with a coach online can be a great way to level-up your skills, and keep you entertained going into the fall. Be mindful of fees relative to value and always check on the coach’s testimonials before signing up.

Safely explore your province



Fill up that tank with gas, or rent a car if you don’t have one, and go explore all that your province has to offer. No, this is not a suggestion to take a vacation. Think day trips. Ones that are spaced out in the calendar and are easy to get to. You can earmark funds in your calendar under the travel costs section. Note that there should be quite a bit of savings in this category already from reduced use of public transportation and lower commuting costs. Don’t forget to update your auto insurance if you paused parts of your coverage during the pandemic.

Changing up your entertainment routine is going to be great for your mental health, too. It might even feel like you’re getting a bit of a break. So, don’t be afraid to spend a bit of your hard-earned money on new forms of entertainment beyond what’s on your screen.