In our town, there’s a community festival each summer. Each year, we make a special effort to attend.
There’s also a “citywide yard sale,” during which we either run our own yard sale or make a point to visit lots of yard sales on our block.
As our children grow older, we’re attending more and more events related to the local school district.
These three things have several valuable attributes in common.
For starters, each of these things are inexpensive ways to fill a day (or an evening). Most of the community activities we participate in cost nothing at all. Even the ones that do have a cost turn out to be low-cost activities on the whole.
A day spent going to yard sales within walking distance of our home or a day going to parades and open houses is a day spent without much money at all leaving our pockets.
At the same time, we’re meeting a lot of people in our local community. I easily know a hundred people by name that live near us, and those connections were built by participating in community activities.
It’s easy, too. Just talk to people. The people at such events are there for the same reasons you are, so it’s pretty easy to find something in common to start a conversation.
A third factor is that it increases our knowledge of what’s available in our community. Community festivals, for example, are often full of events and open houses that give you a great opportunity to learn more about what’s available in your local town.
Thanks to open houses and information booths, we’ve been able to discover many services and businesses in our town that we would have never been aware of beforehand, from vegetarian cafes to sources of fresh produce and from emergency babysitting services to locally-focused charities.
Your community is full of surprising value and wonderful people. When there’s an opportunity to learn more about it, particularly in a low-cost entertaining way, it’s well worth it to jump on board.
This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.