Finding Your Flow: Spend Less and Do More

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How can you get the most out of the dollars you spend on entertainment? Though it seems counter-intuitive, I've found that with a small investment of time and an understanding of the things I enjoy most, the less I spend on them and the more I enjoy them.

In his popular book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the Hungarian psychology professor and former head of the University of Chicago psychology department, writes that the most happiness comes from being in the flow of activities you love. He describes flow as follows:

Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost…To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur. Both skill level and challenge level must be matched and high; if skill and challenge are low and matched, then apathy results.

I can't tell you how often I've fallen into a cycle of throwing money at things that got old quickly because I didn't give enough of my attention to them. As something gets stale, you need to spend more to get anything out of it — buy another cookbook, another video game, another album from iTunes — just think about how many Sudoku puzzles you'd want to finish if they were all incredibly easy.

Csikszentmihalyi tells us we'll reap the most enjoyment out of more complex activities, but to fully appreciate more complex activities, we have to increase our skill level to match. We already spend money on our leisure activities, whether it be a cable bill, a Netflix account, an occasional magazine, fitness classes, or analyzing stock portfolios. How can you have more fun with with your favorite kinds of entertainment (and ultimately reduce spending)? Learn more about them.

Assessing your recreational expenses
So what does that “entertainment” column on your monthly finances go toward? Is it music from iTunes? An occasional bottle of wine? Splurges at the bookstore? Cooking? How can you enjoy them more? The following are a couple examples:

Example one: If you're into music…

  • If you like classical music, can you name the harmonic structure of Beethoven's 5th symphony? Do you know if it's major or minor?
  • If modern classical is more your thing, can you hear the slight half-step shift after 16 bars of repetition in Philip Glass' solo piano work?
  • Ever thought about exactly what makes Radiohead sound so great?

These aren't questions of mere pretension. If you can begin to appreciate a piece of music from yesteryear, that carries through to any music of today. You will never listen to Radiohead, Gaga, or Ben Folds the same way again. I'm not talking about learning to compose for full orchestra, it's more about making more of an investment of time and energy into learning more about what you already love.

Pick up Aaron Copland's What to Listen for in Music from your local library, sit down with his “Appalachian Spring”, and just be with it. Put yourself into the landscape. Increase your skill set and know what to listen for and from that, allow music to take on a new role. Contemporary music, based on many of the same rules of melody and counterpoint, will start to sound different to you, and you might find yourself delving into other genres based on learning more about what you like.

Example two: If wine is your thing…
You don't want to take a chance on the cheapest bottle at the grocery store, but you also don't have a $20 bottle in your budget. Maybe you're going to a dinner party and you want to bring something nice, but budget-friendly.

There are times when you might want to splurge on an expensive bottle of wine, but until you learn more about it, save your money and increase enjoyment by increasing your education. This doesn't necessarily mean paying for an expensive tasting course at your local culinary school. A simple way to save money is to spend 10 minutes online and find the best widely available wines for under $12. Or invest an hour or so reading something like Jancis Robinson's How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine. Maybe it's just a free video podcast and a few $10 bottles over the course of a couple months (most wine stores offer 10% to 15% discounts for cases of six), and you're well on your way to being a minor-league sommelier. At the very least, you'll be able to savor each glass and understand more about what you're tasting.

Engagement versus zoning out
Often our leisure activities are an afterthought: It's Friday night, I might as well go see a movie for $12. I'll watch a couple previews and go with whatever looks best. But is paying $12 to see the sequel to that comic book movie really the most enjoyable way to spend your money? (Hey, I'm not knocking it. I saw every X-Men movie multiple times — just on DVD because I wanted to spend that ticket money elsewhere.)

We all get that urge to zone out and simply stare at something, that's natural and sometimes it's just what you need after a long day, but the more we engage with the leisure activities we really enjoy — the complex activities that get our full attention — the more we can find that state of flow and the less we'll mindlessly consume.

April's note: I have found this to be true for my favorite pastimes. It's so easy to overspend on one of my favorite hobbies, cooking, but the truth is you need very little to be a good cook. The best way to improve your skills is to be in the kitchen as much as possible, read Cook's Illustrated magazine, and watch the cooking shows on PBS! The single-use gadgets and fancy tools are usually a waste of money (Cook's Illustrated tests everything and tells you what's worth buying.) I've added some fun toys here and there, but only after really establishing that I'd use them by spending hours in the kitchen.

What are your entertainment expenses? How can you increase their complexity and your skills to enjoy them more fully?

More about...Psychology

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Miser+Mom
Miser+Mom
9 years ago

One of the best ways I’ve found to enjoy things more (and also to learn more about them) is to share them with other people. Listening to a symphony together with a music lover is great. Or, closer to home for me, Nascar is not something I groove to, but watching it with my husband (a devoted fan) is a lot of fun, because he can tell me what’s REALLY going on.

Sara
Sara
9 years ago

Good article! I have noticed that as I have become more skilled at different things, I do have much more pleasure in my life and I spend less money. I write (essentially free), I play my violin (some expense there of lessons and occasional new music, but it is less than most people pay for cable!), I garden (cheap), I read a lot (free books from library or buy used). I just need to find more friends who enjoy these types of things. In this area, spending lots of money seems to be the most common leisure activity!

Claire
Claire
9 years ago
Reply to  Sara

Maybe there is a book club (or several?) in your area? Check with your local library; they might sponsor book clubs. And that is a point I would like to make: I knew we had a local library & I would check out books occasionally, but until I really looked at the website, I had NO idea how much (and different kinds) of material they offered and I also didn’t know all of the activities they sponsored. It was like finding a gold mine that had been under my nose for years!

Sara
Sara
9 years ago
Reply to  Claire

I always wanted to do a book club. Right now I guess I sort of have one – grad school in political science. We read political and economic theory and then we have great and stimulating discussions in class every week! But it is about 300 pages of reading (or more!) some weeks. I only read fiction now on vacation : )

Jane
Jane
9 years ago

Interesting article. I think what you say is true to a degree, but what I’ve found in my life is when I tried to transition my hobbies and loves into my actual job that it really caused problems. Of course this goes against the advice to “do what you love,” but for me this was the case. I love history, so I decided to go into graduate school so that I could read history books for a living. That way I could do what you say and really delve into the past and really understand. But it backfired. It took… Read more »

Becka
Becka
9 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Agreed. I was having major difficulty coming up with a response of disagreement that didn’t just sound defensive, but this is how I feel, too. I enjoy my hobbies for what they are, as wholes, and I don’t need to break them down into tiny bits and analyze them.

imelda
imelda
9 years ago
Reply to  Becka

I agree – and at least for me, analyzing my hobbies does not improve my “flow” at all. It doesn’t make me more engrossed in the hobby.

It makes me smarter, sure. But knowing more about something doesn’t help me lose myself in it. In fact, when it comes to guilty pleasures, it often does exactly the opposite!! (applying feminist theory to the Vampire Diaries *really* takes the fun away)

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I agree too. Sometimes I want to figure out what makes a good book tick, and sometimes I just want to be entertained. It’s nice to have the skills and desire to do both! 🙂

Marko
Marko
9 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I like how you made the point that either way is fine. As a professional musician I trained myself for years to listen analytically to every piece of music I heard. I checked what chord progressions were used in the current hit songs, I listened and identified all the intervals in popular melodies, I checked the structure of arrangements, the counterpoint, the instrumentation, even the frequency ranges for mix-downs. These are definitely valuable activities to do but they also can suck the life out of music and kill your enjoyment. Last year I started a little ritual to counter that.… Read more »

Sara
Sara
9 years ago
Reply to  Marko

People are so different! I totally groove like the writer of this post. I love to have hobbies that just go deeper and deeper. If I hit bottom on a topic I get very restless until I find another topic. If I can share what I have learned I am even happier.

Peggy
Peggy
8 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I also agree. Some things I enjoy knowing more about (such as how Japanese lacquer ware is produced), but for music and reading, just hearing the music or reading a good book, satisfies me. I have a Kindle and look for free or inexpensive books and only purchase more expensive ones if it’s something I really know I will enjoy and read several times. I’m overseas so libraries are not an option for me at this time.
My sons and I play several online games (we’re in different places) and it’s a fun, free way to keep in touch!

Ally
Ally
8 years ago
Reply to  Peggy

How creative! What a great way to still play with your kids even while you’re away!

Deborah+M
Deborah+M
9 years ago

Gardening has become a big source of pleasure and fulfillment for me. I’m completely in the flow when doing it, or even planning it, and do you know what, it doesn’t have to be expensive. The tools I used for the first 2 years were the ones we already had: a wheelbarrow, a square-bladed shovel and leather-palmed gloves. Buying plants at a nursery was expensive, but I soon got wise and began trading with neighbours and buying them on the cheap at my local horticultural society’s spring and fall sales. And I always “invest” in the pleasure of spring-flowering bulbs.… Read more »

Pamela
Pamela
9 years ago

I made (for me) a big investment in entertainment/learning by joining the local sailing club this summer and learning how to sail. It’s exciting to learn something so new and complex at the advanced age of 45. 🙂 And now that sailing season is over for the year, I find myself paying attention to the wind–its speed and where it’s coming from. I notice how knots are put together. And I feel more confident about trying other things I’ve never done before. The Flow I experienced sailing has spilled over to other areas of my life. I look forward to… Read more »

EverywhereOnce
EverywhereOnce
9 years ago

Tons of research has shown that we get the most and longest lasting happiness from experiences, rather than things. And paying more for your experience can sometimes be counterproductive. Luxury travel, for example, tends to isolate us from the very culture we’re hoping to explore.

Be happy, spend less – travel often and on a budget!

Nancy L.
Nancy L.
9 years ago

I sort of don’t see how becoming more involved with an interest or hobby equates to spending less. In every example given above, higher involvement means that you are likely to consume/purchase more to learn more. And even if you do manage to restrict your expansion to free options, unless the extra time commitments for studying, obtaining new materials, etc, come solely from “mindless” entertainment pursuits, there is still a time cost attached to raising your level of involvement. As a reformed “completist”, I also think there’s a lot of pressure in our society to do everything to the highest… Read more »

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  Nancy L.

I hear you there 🙂 Every once and a while I knit something challenging, but I really like the simplicity of a basic sock or sweater pattern. I like the recipes that never fail.

My job requires me to constantly challenge myself and learn more, so sometimes I like something “mindless” to wind down.

Ally
Ally
8 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I completely understand your point. Although now I am getting excited about trying more complicated quilting, when I first started quilting, I had a job that was incredibly stressful. So I would come home and do very basic quilting that was essentially row after row of straight stitches. It required very little thought and it was quite calming and relaxing for me, almost like meditation. Trying more complex patterns while still a CPS worker would have defeated my goal of stress relief.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  Nancy L.

I agree. Someone once told me “Anyting worth doing is worth doing badly.” I know it’s a paraphrase of the old saying “Anything worth doing is worth doing well” but I like the idea that trying to do something – even if you do it badly is better than not trying at all. I struggle with being a “completist” and feeling that I have to know everything about something to enjoy it or to even start doing it. This saying is one way of reminding myself that this is not the case. Plunge in, enjoy the learning process, but do… Read more »

Holly
Holly
9 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I whole-heartedly agree with this. If you don’t try something new at which you may not succeed, then you may miss an incredibly worthwhile passion. Trying new things also stimulates your brain.

I am at a place in my life where I have practically no time for leisure, but when I do I try hard to make it something new. I’m tired of being in a rut.

Brian
Brian
9 years ago

Tons of research has shown that we get the most, and longest lasting, happiness from experiences, rather than things. And paying more for experiences can even be counterproductive. Luxury travel, for example, often isolates us from the very culture we’re traveling to explore.

Be happy, save money – travel often, and on a budget!

Shane
Shane
9 years ago

I think I have figured out flow for myself. One of my favorite things to do is play dodgeball. We got a group together and have played every week for the past couple of years. We enjoy the challenge, but it only comes with improving our skill. Now we are one of the top teams in Virginia, and we travel throughout the Mid Atlantic coast and battle in championships against teams with five times the experience as us. We have even developed a great reputation with the other top teams. It is very rewarding. I also enjoy programming at home,… Read more »

Amber
Amber
9 years ago

People who exhibit this ‘flow’ for something are generally called passionate about it. How this ties into PF is tricky, because if you care deeply about something you tend to spend more on it. My boyfiend has a a passion for playing guitar. It is really all he does in his spare time. Sure he is not spending money going to the movies or going out but one of these days I know he will buy that $3,000-$6,000 guitar, not to mention new amps, music books, other guitars, etc. Does he “save” money by cultivating his passion? No. Is it… Read more »

Marie at FamilyMoneyValues
Marie at FamilyMoneyValues
9 years ago

I like this post – it presented a new line of thought and is well written. That said, I tend to agree with an earlier comment that said something like increased immersion in an activity – while it might be more enjoyable – is not necessarily less expensive. My spouse is a collector. He dives into a period of history surrounding his collecting interest and learns a lot about it. This is interesting for him and not expensive to do, but then he wants to own things that represent that period, which does cost money (and space!). Thanks for the… Read more »

Christian
Christian
9 years ago

On the nose! I used to think I needed a ton of fancy equipment to truly enjoy photography. Now I find that, as I pare back my equipment and get rid of lenses and other supplies I don’t use, I am actually enjoying the hobby more. Make use of what you’ve got! They say that a true artist learns to work within his/her limitations; if access to gear is my limitation, I’d say I’m embracing it!

Well Heeled Blog
Well Heeled Blog
9 years ago

I feel like the more “into” a hobby are you, the more money you are apt to spend. Especially if you are kind of Type-A and really want to zone in on the nitty gritty of your hobby. For example, I’ve met “tango festival devotees” – people who love the Argentine tango so much that they FLY AROUND THE WORLD to dance in festivals and take classes with maestros. Other folks take three classes a week (at $10-$20 a pop, it adds up). Then there are special workshops with visiting instructors ($50-$60). Dance parties ($10-$15), and practices ($5-$15). It’s not… Read more »

khadijah
khadijah
8 years ago

I don’t think the spending is necessarily proportional to how much one is “into” a hobby.. I’m really into languages. So far, I’ve come across so much free material online, from books, videos, podcasts, tests, grammar drills, vocabulary, foreign film et cetera. Few things that I spend on are coffee (socializing) and some books. On the other hand, I’m also like one of these dancing devotees you speak of, only I dance salsa. The only way to get better is to dance more. Classes are about 13-15 a pop but where you really get better is by dancing socially and… Read more »

Barb
Barb
9 years ago

Hmmm………I have some problems with this post. First, it just kinds of pooh poohs the hobby for hobby’s sake. I mean, if someone likes to knit socks, do they really HAVE to learn to knit fair aisle sweaters? And for many hobbies, increased activity almost always leads to larger expenditures. For most of us, the more we do and the better we get at somethng, the more tools and supplies we need.

Trina
Trina
9 years ago

Nice, thought-provoking post. I do get hours and hours of enjoyment out of learning things without spending much money (either from reading books and magazines from the library, or finding information online). On the other hand, as the PPs have said, once you have learned a lot about something, you inevitably want to practice what you’ve learned, and that does cost money — often a lot more than you’d think. Someone above mentioned knitting and I think that’s a great example. People who don’t knit think that knitting must be a cheap activity since you’re just sitting home alone and… Read more »

Anne
Anne
9 years ago
Reply to  Trina

So true. I’m always amazed be those master knitters that turn out beautiful cabled masterpieces in very cheap acrylic yarn. Those masterly knit items would be much lovelier in a better yarn.

YFS
YFS
9 years ago

Hi Tim Sullivan,
I have learned in that to enjoy every moment we should spend time with our near and dear one and share our happiness with them. We should also Learn to say “No” to others if we are incapable of doing something for them. It makes us burden free.

chacha1
chacha1
9 years ago

I completely agree with Tim that learning more about an area of interest generally produces greater enjoyment in engaging with that interest. Just look at baseball fans, who all appear to be obsessed with statistics, or knitters, who know everything there is to know about the gazillion different kinds of fibers and tools. Acquiring the knowledge gives you a built-in community, generally, because you’re typically not alone in a room when you learn this stuff; and once you have that community, you share your activity with the other people in the community. Which makes it more fun. BUT all this… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Hey everybody, Thanks so much for all your comments. I definitely agree that as you get more deeply entrenched in most activities, the more you could spend on them. That said, by the time you’re traveling around the world for dance, or being disappointed that cable-knit works are in acrylic yarn, they become less of a way to wind down after work and begins to need its own budget category. Stationary, for me, is like that. It isn’t entertainment. It’s stationary. I suppose what I’m targeting is just that little entertainment column in the monthly budget. I’m hoping to find… Read more »

Jasanna
Jasanna
9 years ago

This is so true! Often you can find good deals on a movie ticket on Groupon and similar sites. I’ve gotten $6 tickets for any time of day/night, for a movie I just am dying to see in 3D or in the theater with the big experience. Othewise, it’s Redbox for me too! I’ve also decided to cut back eating out and do a Month without Eating Out, so I can spend that money on other things I’d rather enjoy. It’s not that fun to eat a meal and think, wow, I just spent the equivalent of a week of… Read more »

Paul Alexander
Paul Alexander
9 years ago

Enjoying life’s activities and being in the moment it’s what it’s all about. Getting engaged with a particular activity might be a bit obsessive. A few years back I was into DIY loudspeakers and I still am. I would fantasize about drivers, setups, etc. And it helped me a lot. I was a teen back then and I learned to focus better stay engaged in a particular area, because it’s rewarding and fun (school wasn’t that fun!).

Jana
Jana
9 years ago

As an artist I experience Flow often while out plein air painting. I settle in with my chosen view, then go to work with the initial drawing, then start painting in pastel. Often I’ll work for an hour or more without any awareness of my surrounding area, finally pausing for a break to realize I’m either freezing or roasting, depending on the season. I’m not sure this falls into entertainment for me – since it’s my chosen vocation, however it’s where I experience Flow the most often! When relaxing, or looking for entertainment I’m not in the Flow mode—it’s time… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

This article conflates “flow” with, well, something else. Reading about wine has pretty much nothing to do with the “flow” state. In fact, I’d wonder if reading in general is really a flow-inducing activity. It seems too passive. And, regardless, even if flow is immensely productive and satisfying, it is hardly relaxing or leisurely. For anyone who has ever read “Ender’s Game”, I’d have to say that at the climax of the book, Ender seems to have been in flow, doesn’t he? If you have read it, you’ll realize there’s nothing leisurely about that sort of activity at all. Flow… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago

There as nothing wrong with introducing the idea of flow to GRS readers unfamiliar with it. And nothing wrong with using it as a starting point for something else. It’s a nice article. I think you missed the paragraph that bridges the first with the second part of the article. It reads: Csikszentmihalyi tells us we’ll reap the most enjoyment out of more complex activities, but to fully appreciate more complex activities, we have to increase our skill level to match. We already spend money on our leisure activities, whether it be a cable bill, a Netflix account, an occasional… Read more »

babysteps
babysteps
9 years ago

Agreed – my standard wine advice is: “read less, taste more”. Free ideas for achieving wine-related Flow: 1-Many wine stores offer free tastings every week (most often on Saturdays, but can be any day). Depending on the store & the day, you may be able to chat about the wine you are tasting with wine store staff, the distributor of the wine, an employee of the winery, or the owner/winemaker in person. 2-A few wineries still offer free tastings (most charge a small fee), and a few more refund your tasting fee with a purchase that day. If you are… Read more »

Jackowick
Jackowick
9 years ago

I’ve turned my love of comics into a broader collectibles hobby. Reading is not passive if you are learning, and though I do not collect, say, furniture, I’ve learned a lot that I now take to other activities. I watch movies now and appreciate a good propmaster. I visit my friends’ homes and they marvel if I ask “hey is that an 1920s coffee table from the midwest?” Recently, I was able to enjoy a debate between two comic collectors at a show because a specific book’s origin was being debated. One might say that the material side would have… Read more »

Jackowick
Jackowick
9 years ago
Reply to  Jackowick

Wow, getting some negative emails from people based on the fact that I posted a reason why I disagreed with the post ABOVE me and expressed my OPINION. If you disagree with anything I’ve said, post it right up here instead of being a coward. I didn’t expect this kind of hostility from getrichslowly readers…

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  Jackowick

lol expect anything from internet crazies. so they found your email in your linked website? (i just visited). or did you by any chance just get involuntarily subscribed to the thread? (it happened to me a few days ago and my inbox got innundated with thread updates).

anyway, best wishes dealing with the stalkers real or virtual or imaginary, and you’re 100% right there is nothing “passive” about reading unless said reading is performed by cabbages (i’m hoping this last statement will earn me a stalker as well).

Ben
Ben
9 years ago

My wife and I have always liked wine but we never knew much about it. We decided to change that. We found a deal on Groupon for half off an afternoon wine tasting class and sampling. Since then we’ve cut down on our wine spending since we both know what we are looking for in a great wine. It makes for interesting conversation with our friends as well when they ask what we’re doing when we taste our wine now.

amanda
amanda
9 years ago

April, it is interesting that you mention Cook’s Illustrated magazine as “must read” for people interested in improving their culinary skills. I canceled my subscription this year, and in talking to three other friends about food recently, I learned they had all done the same thing. We all came to the same conclusion: they make everything entirely too complicated, plus the sheer number of ingredients that their typical recipes require were just prohibitively expensive in terms of time and money. Maybe I just learned what I needed to know to function as a decent home cook? I’ve been much happier… Read more »

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  amanda

I find Youtube helps too 🙂 Sometimes I need to see a technique demonstrated.

I learned how to knit a ruffled scarf using tape yarn there too! Companies are really starting to use video to market their products.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  amanda

I’ve seen Cooks Illustrated at magazine stands and it seems to me more food porn than actual cooking.

One book I’d wholeheartedly recommend to all who love cooking and eating is “The Physiology of Taste” by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (yes, like the dessert). Translated to English by the delightful M.F.K. Fisher if you can’t read the original (I can’t). It may contain some kooky 18th-Century theories, sure, but it’s a delicious book to read, over & over again. Just brilliant.

CA
CA
9 years ago

It’s unrelated to PF, but I really enjoyed the Csikszentmihalyi book. It’s the state that I try to achieve during endurance events. I did Ironman last weekend and 11+ hours felt like minutes.

Deborah+M
Deborah+M
9 years ago
Reply to  CA

Whoa! That’s an impressive illustration of Flow.

Matt, Tao of Unfear
Matt, Tao of Unfear
9 years ago

I think the note about cooking is a great way to illustrate the concept. I subscribe to the Alton Brown school of thought on kitchen gadgets. If it’s a unitasker, don’t buy it. People with a passion for cooking know that a lot of the kitchen gadgets that get pushed at people are just crap, and they put their money to better use than someone who doesn’t have that passion and gets suckered into buying a bunch of useless stuff. Same is true if you’re passionate about writing or literature. A book is going to last you longer if you… Read more »

stellamarina
stellamarina
9 years ago

My favorite thing to do is work in my garden…I would much rather be working outside pulling weeds than inside cleaning house. In this case my entertainment enjoyment comes from being creative as well. But the best thing is that this is not an expensive hobby. I sell enough potted plants and produce from my garden to cover my garden expenses and buy the occassional garden chair etc. My husbands hobby is going metal-detecting on the beach. This costs several hundred dollars to start with for the detector but it has paid him back many times in finds. ( Do… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  stellamarina

Ha! Can we swap chores. I would much rather clean inside than garden. We bought with the view that we’d be gardeners and even maybe grow our own food.

I love crafting and don’t mind cleaning. My husband loves to cook and preserve, but we somehow hate gardening!

Perhaps this is an idea for a local swap!

Peggy
Peggy
8 years ago
Reply to  stellamarina

Love this! I, too, love gardening, but I also enjoy cleaning house, and I’ve always been intrigued by the thoughts of metal detecting. To keep gardening inexpensive, we compost and as for cleaning, we discovered ‘magic sponges’ while living in Japan and they are indeed magic! One slices the amount needed, and using only water, can clean some of the most dirty, resistant places with minimal effort. The satisfaction I get winning the war on dirt, really makes me happy 🙂 The metal detecting will wait til I retire and settle, but it’s something I’m interested in, but at least… Read more »

Funny about Money
Funny about Money
9 years ago

Entertainment’s pretty simple around here: walking the dog, bicycling, hanging out with friends. The one thing I like to do that builds skill and causes me to learn something every week is sing in a choir. Like the idea that building skills is a form of enhancing entertainment. In the past I’ve been into French cooking (highly entertaining), cross-country skiing, horse-riding, jewelry making. As for reading as “passive”: for whom? Reading is far from passive. It’s a mental conversation between the reader and the writer–as a reader, you should be questioning, examining, and responding to a writer. It’s a rare… Read more »

Pabs
Pabs
8 years ago

One thing I have learned over time is entertainment can be over-rated until you make it a special event. Cooking together to save a penny or two followed by going out for dessert is cheaper than going out to eat three times a week. Taking stock in life by exercising and eating healthy has provided us with a more clear vision as to where our entertainment budget gets spent. We used to go to a movie, like April explains, walking out thinking we could have done so many other things with that same money. I agree that taking interest in… Read more »

Heather
Heather
8 years ago

I have Blockbuster by mail, and my partner and I buy DVDs when they’re on sale somewhere for anything less than $5 each (up to $3 each depending on the movie). We average about the price of one movie ticket a month, and since it keeps us out of the theater (with no soda impulse buys and the popcorn only costs 25 cents and tastes a lot better) we save a LOT of money to do something we both love. Sure, I COULD drop the DVD account, but as watching movies is our main source of joint entertainment (and the… Read more »

BB
BB
8 years ago

You are so right about gadgets. I received a free fancy chopper. I prefer my good knife and cutting board to the chopper. Many of my best dishes are made with staples (I do keep a wide variety of herbs and spices on hand so I can cook creatively when the mood strikes).

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