In the evenings, you’ll often find Sarah and I at the kitchen table playing a board game or a card game. The games we play are usually ones we’ve received as gifts in the past, and they require no additional expense to play – not even a drop of electricity.
Sometimes, you’ll find us reading books. Usually, they’re from the library or received as gifts or traded for using Paperbackswap. We’ll read for a while, but then we’ll usually end up discussing what we’re reading.
When there’s an opportunity, we’ll go exploring in the woods or walking on trails in the parks.
All of these opportunities are free (or virtually so). They each involve things that Sarah and I enjoy doing and particularly enjoy doing together. They are a big part of the time we spend together.
Every relationship is built on having some things in common (if it’s not, the relationship isn’t going to last). The two people involved need to share at least some common interests in order for it to work.
A strong relationship tends to start out with some common interests, but then the relationship works to find more of them and cultivate some of them as well.
Finding and cultivating those common interests can be an expensive proposition if you’re not careful. A relationship that’s successful both personally and financially will take extra effort to find common interests that are low-cost.
Beyond the ones listed above, here are some free activities that couples can share.
Sports Many common outdoor sports and exercise can be played for free or with minimal equipment. I’ve seen couples participate in everything from cross-country running to outdoor volleyball to ultimate frisbee to disc golf. All of these things require very little equipment and can be easily enjoyed by couples.
Volunteerism Spend afternoons volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity house or for a political campaign. Do you want Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or Gary Johnson or Jill Stein to become the next president? Spend some weekends out there knocking on doors or phonebanking. Help serve the needy in your community by working shifts together at the local food bank. There are many things you can do to volunteer your time for causes you’re both concerned with.
Religious exploration I did this for a while at college with Sarah. We attended services of many different churches just to understand the diversity of religious experience. It really helped us to understand what different people believe.
The options here go on and on. Just try things together and, if they click, dig deeper. There are so many low-cost or free things to try that you can never get bored unless you want to.
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.