Tips for Finding Low or No-Cost Entertainment

Here are some entertainment ideas that cost little but can pay off in new friendships.

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The Boomerater™ Report, our weekly collaboration with online baby boomer resource Boomerater, this week explores low or no-cost entertainment ideas that bring you into contact with others. "A lot of the things I used to do for amusement are too expensive for me now," a Boomerater member asks. "I would love to hear of ideas other Boomers have for entertainment that is affordable, hopefully free. Also, I work out of my house and would especially appreciate learning about ways to connect with others in my community.” Here is what some of our members said:

[See 7 Tips for Finding Right Volunteer Work.] Get fit and make friends at the mall. If you are working at home, chances are you are not getting a lot of exercise. I'm semi-retired and ran into the same problem. Mall walking is a great way to stay in shape, doesn’t cost a thing, and it’s never too hot, too cold, raining or snowing. I walk at the largest enclosed mall in my area. The mall opens hours before the stores open so there’s no temptation to shop. The mall has a free club membership that awards prizes after every 50 miles we walk. You get to know the other people who have found this a great way to exercise in a safe environment. Some of us meet for coffee afterwards at one of the food court spots. A lot of us are older, but you also see young mothers pushing strollers. Try it for yourself by calling your mall’s business office to ask about its mall walking clubs and hours.

Free books and new friendships. I am a retired English teacher and miss the interaction teaching offered. I volunteer at our local library and started a book club by posting a note on the message board. You can also join or start a book club group on meetup.com. We read both classics and new books. You can get classics at the library (our library pools with others to get enough copies) or download them free online. Sometimes we rent the movie after we’ve read and discussed the book. Random House offers some new books free to book clubs. It also provides discussion questions and can sometimes arrange for the author to call in to one of your meetings to discuss the book.

[See How the 'Old Old' Can Have Best Lives.] A place to meet two and four-legged friends. My dog Maze and I go for rides and she likes our daily walks, but she is rarely around other dogs. We ventured out to a new dog park and it has become our new free entertainment spot. Maze gets to take a ride to someplace fun (not the vet) and we’ve met lots of other dog lovers. The first visit can be a bit hectic. Go when it’s not crowded so your dog can ease in and not feel threatened. After a few visits she’ll become one of the gang. You'll also meet a lot of new friends who share your love for animals. We got great advice on groomers (and those to avoid), discount pet supplies, dog sitters and the best vets. We've even gotten together for other pet-centric activities. Check Doggeek for dog parks in your area.

Read other member responses for free entertainment ideas on Boomerater. Boomerater is an online resource for baby boomers, with local directories to help you find everything from a wealth advisor to Alzheimer’s care facilities. The site also contains forums where boomers can post questions and swap first-hand experiences. If there are questions on your mind that you would like answered by other people who have faced similar situations, or you have advice of your own to share, go to Boomerater.com and participate in the forums. Say that The Best Life sent you.

[See Eat Less Food and Play More Bridge.]