July 15, 2010

Just For Fun

One of the joys of retirement is having the time to have fun. You can take an hour, or a full afternoon to entertain yourself, and no one will dock your pay. No one will wonder why you weren't being "productive."  You have the freedom to do something you like, or even try something you've always wanted to but just couldn't fit it into your schedule.

Low Cost Options

Here are several free or low-cost ideas worth exploring where you live:
  • In Phoenix , as well as Tucson, Flagstaff, and Prescott, is a fabulous resource called Showup.com . This non-profit agency has contacts with virtually every arts organization in these cities. It offers highly discounted, last-minute tickets to concerts, art and museum exhibits, plays, photographic displays, and musicals. It is possible to score a seat (or two) for 50-70% off. There is a section of the web site that has a huge listing of events that are absolutely free. Just Show Up!  I would bet there is a similar opportunity where you live. It may not be as extensive, but in today's economy art organizations are scrambling to sell tickets. A few phone calls may be all that is required to find a similar deal in your town.
  • A new breed of on-line discount coupon distributors exists. Companies like Groupon, Living Social and others make arrangements with local restaurants, spas, bookstores, or other local businesses to sell their product for one day, at a discount usually 50% off. You are e-mailed an new offer each day. If you want to take advantage you simply buy the coupon and use it as needed.  An excellent article by the folks at Tech Crunch explains exactly how these companies work. I've used Groupon and am very satisfied.
  • Free, downloadable e-books are now available at most public libraries. Audio books have been around for several years. But, now you can download a book directly to your computer or electronic reader like a Kindle from your library. Just like a printed book you borrow for a period of time, at the end of two or three weeks you are asked to delete the file from your device. Some more advanced systems actually make it impossible to access the material after the borrowing period expires. This is the perfect way to sample an author or particular book before you decide to buy it.

Support Your Local College

If you are lucky enough to live in a town with a university or college you have a cornucopia of free events at your disposal. Community colleges are every bit as active. I live within an easy drive of Arizona State University. But, more often than not I prefer to take advantage of the free movie series or concerts at the community college 10 minutes away. Every year they offer two different film programs, featuring movies from a particular country or area of the world, or with a similar theme. The twice a year classical, jazz, and big band concerts are always a delight. These events are free and rarely crowded. The college sends me an e-mail whenever something I might like is scheduled. 

In future posts I'll offer some additional ideas for free or low-cost entertainment. But, these thoughts should get you started. If you have something in your town you'd like to mention, please post a comment. Maybe your possibility exists somewhere else.

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