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Cheap Entertainment

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I'm a single dad and that means a single paycheck. Though my paychecks come in 
"singles" as I am not married, I do have two sons (18 and 21), both in college, who
like some entertainment once in a while above and beyond their computers or the
television. It's nice to do something different. In our case the something 
different needs to not cost very much but still be fun & entertaining.

Here are some of the activities we've used over the last few years that may be
of interest to other folks who are in a similar situation or simply want to
save money.

1. Board Games - As simple as it sounds, it's fun to get the old-fashioned
cardboard Monopoly game out and play a long & fun game.

2. Go to the park. We have two parks in our area and both have a lot to see
and do and it's all free. On Sunday nights there are free concerts. The
large creek and pond offer more to do and see.

3. Go to the zoo. We have a small zoo nearby and we are an hour from zoos
in Washington, D.C. & Baltimore, MD. Zoos in our area are either free or
not very expensive at all. This can be a day-long activity and very

4. Go to the "cheap" movie theater. Most communities have a theater that does
not show first (or even second) run movies but, in return, the ticket prices
are quite low. Ours is about $3 and even the popcorn, soda, and snacks are
cheaper than the first run theaters.

5. Go metal detecting. There is a one-time investment in a good metal
detector but you might, over time, pay for it with stuff you find. We have
found a lot of coins, a few pieces of jewelry, and at one place we found
a lot of shells from the Civil War.

6. Go to a minor league sports game. We have a single A farm team from the
Orioles in our area. The tickets are about five dollars and the food is,
again, much cheaper than at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. Occasionally, we
get a major league player who is on a rehab assignment.

7. Go to flea markets. You can buy a lot of stuff for five or ten bucks at
flea markets (indoor & outdoor) and they are a lot of fun to walk through.

8. Yard Sales. On Saturday mornings in the spring & summer drive around and 
peruse the many yard sales that are out there. We have found some great 
little treasures doing this activity.

Those are the activities that came to mind when I thought about writing this
article. I am very curious to hear what others do. Some of these activities
make sense in my area (such as the minor league baseball team) and may not in
yours. But, most of these ideas should work for you or perhaps a variation of
one of the activities.

Most of all, have fun!

erick99 posted Mar 09, 2012

Me and my wife like doing the yard sale thing on the weekends, its amazing what you can find!

krmills1 (rep: 14.4k) posted Mar 09, 2012


Two weeks ago I found what looked like a new Classic Nordic Track for $15. They were selling it because it did not work. I bought it for my girlfriend and after about 30 minutes I found the problem, very minor, and now she has a $600 Nordic Track for $15. She had used her previous one till she wore it out. That has been my best find in a long time!

erick99 (rep: 433k) posted Mar 09, 2012


Erick99, thank you for sharing :)

newguy (rep: 299k) posted Mar 10, 2012


I recently remarried, but I did some of those things when I was single.. My park will sometimes show a movie in the park. Admission is free, and popcorn is cheap.

Vacations are tough for a single dad. Some things I did for that were (I'm a college professor and a medical professional):

Take the kids with you on professional development seminar trips. They're kids. They'll sleep til noon. You go to the early sessions and knock off at noon.

Renting hotels from cheap websites like is a no-brainer. But the problem is that eats are still an issue. Rent a condo from an individual at They have kitchenettes. you can save on food by cooking your own.

Camp in an area close to the attractions that you want to see. This works only if the things you intend to do aren't to physically demanding (at least for us). Camping was draining enough. To put teenage boys through the ringer all day then camp in a Texas summer tent was too much.

nthsll (rep: 12.5k) posted Mar 10, 2012