One of the difficulties, I find, of living frugally, is finding ways to have fun without spending a lot of money. One way to cut activity costs, support a good cause, and have fun all at once is by becoming a member of certain tourist places. Typically membership costs a fee equal to approximately two visits and grants you unlimited access to the site for one year, a discount in the gift shop, perhaps a gift (like a calendar) or an invitation to a members-only event, and is often at least partially tax deductable.
Currently Chuk and I have year-long memberships to Mt. Vernon and Shenandoah National Park. Because we often have guests from out of town who want to visit us and see all the sites around the nation’s capital, we go to these sites on a regular basis. We’ve found our memberships to be an excellent value because every visit after the first two are essentially free. For years, my mom, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has alternated between having a membership to the Legion of Honor and SFMOMA. Because she changes her membership each year, she never gets fatigued of one museum.
If you’re on a budget but still looking for a way to still get out and do things and support a local non-profit, consider becoming a member of a park, museum or historical site in your area. It’s a win-win and it works for me.