It’s the holidays, which means there’s time to kill, but sadly after holiday shopping at this time of year, not much cash to do it with. How do I get that rush of discovery without a flush of cash?
- Explore new film genres or entertainment formats (documentaries, foreign films, live comedy or theater, audiobook autobiographies, self-help gurus …). The advent of youtube has made many of these things possible for little to no cost in the comfort of your own home. Even better is to enlist an afficianado to take you on a guided tour/experience. Ask for tips on social media – invite responders to share in a viewing or outing!
- Plan your next trip, even if it’s not in your foreseeable future yet. Dust off that bucket list and start researching accommodations, activities, and languages you may want to explore (use duolingo to start learning for free!) to bring that dream one step closer to reality. Don’t forget to think about ways you could accomplish this item more economically. For example, if you’re younger, consider a working visa to visit your favorite location, earning some income to support your travels. Look at bartering your skills – teaching yoga or painting classes in exchange for free food or accommodations. Often, time is at a premium when money to travel is available – have your plans made! Alternately, since travel is about chasing a feeling (relaxation, wonder, discovery), maybe you could look at some alternate ways to achieve the same feeling. I always wanted to attend a writer’s retreat in Banff before realizing what I realized that what I wanted was a social weekend with other creatives where we could focus on our craft! All I needed was to start a local writer’s group during the winter with folks willing to go splits on a scenic beach cottage locally to write as one of our pinnacle activities in the summer!
- Use all the boxing week sales to explore new experiences – learn a computer programming language, try a new gym (or workout), download some computer games from Steam, try a painting course, do some cheaper off-season vacationing at “summer” destinations and bask in the solitude!
- (Forgive me here, since I realize we’re celebrating singlehood, but…) Leverage local dating sites (the free ones) to socialize with members of the appropriate sexual orientation for an afternoon or evening, making it clear that you’re not looking for a relationship. Even a bad date will give you a great story to tell people about after the holidays. Just keep your personal safety (and compassion for the person who’s putting their heart on the line) in mind.
- Use this time to do good for others. It doesn’t have to be a social experience if that’s not your thing – write letters for amnesty international or to a local politician for a worthy cause, knit hats or booties for babies in the hospital or the homeless, walk dogs waiting for adoption at the SPCA, visit a shut in, teach a teen you know a skill that you appreciate having.
- Make a bucket list or update it. Or, if that’s not your style, start lists of the things you want to accomplish, experience, and contribute to in the new year. Give yourself an expectation of unlimited resources and time (don’t worry about how right now, just what you’d ask for if there were no limits).