I am a school teacher, so during the summer and Christmas vacation I have a lot of spare time. When I have spare time, I tend to like to go shopping. I am looking for some ideas on other things I can do besides shop when I feel like just getting out of the house for a while. I don't want to get a part time job because I don't want to be tied down, and most part time work requires working evenings and I want to be home then. I'm not really worried about making more money, I'm just concerned about spending less.
What I do is go to all the parks in my area and find my favorite ones. In the process I tend to find animals, like ducks, geese, and sometimes snakes and frogs, which I love. Parks are free.
I also geocache, but a GPS unit for geocaching costs about $300. That takes me to a lot of outdoor places too.
I also garden and get free plants from local plant swaps put on by internet groups. Our Yahoo group does a plant swap twice a year. If you donate 6 plants, you get to pick a plant for 6 rounds. You don't pick all your 6 plants the first round, for fairness to other people. Each person picks one plant each round. I have gotten some very nice plants this way, and there are always extra at the end just for the taking. Perhaps you could start a plant swap in your area?
The people here are really nice. They will often bring you a plant you request just for asking. For example, one year I asked for mint, and at the swap I had 3 people bring me 4 kinds of mint! Another year I had a guy bring me a 6 foot high clump of bamboo!
In the spring we swap normal plants, not normally bushes or trees. In the fall swap we do more bulb plants, plus regular plants.
We also have a raffle. You buy a ticket and some people donate gardening related prizes.
I stick with perennials which come back every year. So I plant it, and forget it! I have fun planting unusual plants like giant sunflowers (10 feet tall), penstemons, foxglove, bamboo (it even survives Michigan winters), and others.
Another idea is "flower hunting". Take your digital camera and photo each new flower you find in your parks, then identify it when you get home. Some of our parks have unusual flowers like trillium, trout lily, and jack-in-the-pulpit (all spring flowers).
All of these ideas get you outdoors and get you walking around.
How about volunteering at a local animal shelter to walk the dogs? They get the exercise and fresh air and so do you!
Or, you could volunteer your services to shop for senior citizens or take them shopping (you combine your love of shopping but don't spend your money!) Or, maybe you could advertise in the local paper to be a personal shopper?
You like the library, why not volunteer there?
I think Bulrush gave a great idea-start gardening! I love to garden and it is great exercise. You could plan a theme type garden, like a butterfly garden. You would need to research what type of flowers to plant for both nectar and for the caterpillars to eat. Or, plan a bird garden and research the type of flowers that produce seed for the birds (my favorites are coneflower and sunflower).
Do you like to work with your hands? Maybe get a library book and teach yourself to crochet. You could then make scarves and donate them to local agencies that collect them for needy families.
If you have a favorite hobby, is there some way you could incorporate that into keeping yourself busy and making some money? I like to make homemade cards and now have some in a local store to sell.
Find something you love to do and volunteer to do it for someone who can't do it themselves or needs help. Could you cook for a senior, paint a room for someone, take someone shopping, to the movies or out to lunch? How about volunteering at a homeless shelter or a DV shelter? Tutor some kids? Teach crafts at a children's shelter or tutor homeless kids in academic skills. Be a mentor? Most cities have a volunteer center that can help you match your interests and skills with needs in the community. Maybe you could take a class and learn a new language, a new craft, ethnic cooking? You have a marvelous opportunity-please use it to brighten your world and the community!
Look in to volunteering at a nursing home. I volunteer at a community service place where people drop off clothes,kitchen stuff you name it and I sort the stuff. I have done this for 4 years since I retired and I enjoy it. Maybe a salvation Army has something like this you could do.
This costs a bit but take a class at the community college `` painting, computers, foods
If you need to get grad credits for your license, start now ~ I waited and with kids it is so hard to take the classes.
Call you parks and rec and see if they need help. I ran a summer program one year and was paid but we had volunteers come in.
the fair needs people
VBS - your church (?) or friends
look in your paper under community events. I live in a small town and there are things going on all over the area and many are free.
local coffee shop when they have speakers / music
community college lecture series
audit a lecture class -- my university let people take classes for free but no work was graded
A friend of mine who is a school teacher spends a good part of her spare time traveling and making plans to travel. Teachers usually have some wonderful benefits, including travel discounts. When she has just a Saturday or an evening free, she checks out restaurants and tourist places nearby, and she seems to have a great time at it, meeting lots of nice people and spending only as much money and time as she wants to.
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