Born free

Oh, hello there! It’s been a while. I know, it’s my fault, I’m sorry. Let us move on, shall we?

I have a confession: I’m not very good shit with money. I’ve never been what one would call frugal, haven’t had much use for budgets, and this has been my way of dealing with my finances for most of my adult life:

Lately, however, I’ve been getting my shit together – I’m 30, let’s get serious. I enlisted the help of some very smart friends, and I have a great plan for getting rid of those terrible student loans.

This means, however, that I can’t make it rain dolla dolla bills in my pursuit of fun summer activities. So what’s a budget-conscious gal to do? Oh right, I live in Toronto and there is a fuckton of free stuff to do this summer! ‘But Steph,’ you might say (if there is anyone reading this after I abandoned posting for so long), ‘can you share these magical free activities of which you speak?’ I thought you’d never ask!

I like movies. I do not, however, like paying a billion fucking dollars to see one. This problem has a few solutions. First of all, don’t buy the shit they sell. Bring a purse/bag/backpack/suitcase, and as ghetto as it sounds, bring your own damn snacks. No bottle of Coke is worth $4.50. Second, get a Scene card, put it on your smartphone, and use those fucking points. No one is going to shame you, and if they do, they can pay for your ticket. Finally, tell the theatres to sit on it and go to a free screening. There are lots of places offering free movies over the summer (indoor and out). Chances are they’re playing one of your favourites (Hail to the King, baby).

Listening to live music is awesome, but Ticketmaster and its outrageous fees can eat a dick. There are free shows all over the city, all the time. You become much less choosy when you’re not paying a week’s worth of groceries to go to a concert, and you might even discover a new artist or two. Street festivals are another great free activity. With a bit of Googling, you can find something right up your alley. Start here.

There are lots of cheap alternatives to expensive things. Like Stratford? Check out Shakespeare in High Park for a fraction of the price. Out for drinks with friends? Your tastebuds crap out after two drinks anyway, so skip the top shelf bs. Go to museums on discount days, use coupons, sign up for contests, be shameless. Keep an eye on the Urban Planner on Torontoist, and event listings in Now, The Grid, BlogTo, and You’d be surprised how much is happening out there every damn day.

Of course, not everything has to be a pre-planned activity. Grab a book (from the library, do not spend $30 on a new one), go to a park, go for a walk or bike ride with a friend, go to the beach, go to a random art gallery on Queen Street, explore a new neighbourhood.

Go. Do. Invite me.


4 responses to “Born free”

  1. I am a big fan of Now’s event listings.

    (Regarding free movies. Just cozy up to a certain pint-sized someone who can’t seem to stop winning free tickets.)

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