4/8 All things FREE that I could think of

Nobody ever complains that they didn’t pay enough for something. FREE is a friend to all. I’ve heard that the best things in life are free but I’ve also heard that you get what you pay for. My intention is to make a list of FREE THINGS that are valuable to teens and young adults or to families with children.

As a college student in Philadelphia, FREE was the best offering the city had. SO much of my hard-earned money ( I worked full-time at a retail store and tutored students in the Academic Achievement Center on campus) went towards the rent for my 1-bedroom apartment, textbooks, supplies and fabric (Fashion Design was my degree program) and of course food from Trader Joe’s… PLUS daily iced coffees from Dunkin Donuts. (I’d skip out of work on occasion to walk two blocks down Chestnut Street and get one. It was considered to be my “smoke break” and it totally worked on the supervisor!) Additionally, utilities were billed separately, and the laundry facility required lots and lots of coins. There are ways I could’ve saved money in college, had I been more invested in frugality at the time, but unfortunately I spent 99% of my earnings, monthly and my boyfriend wasn’t much better than I was. Therefore, our recreational time was limited to free activities. Game nights (Remember Cranium?) with our friends, Visiting the art museum on a Sunday, Taking long walks throughout Center City, Playing catch in Rittenhouse Square Park, Heading to the basketball courts to pick up a few games, ice skating with a guest pass at the hockey rink that he worked and played at – these were just some of the things we did on a regular basis. My degree program was an accelerated, year-round program so I stayed in Philly through the summer. When July came around, I received a pamphlet listing a week’s worth of free events and activities as part of the Welcome America tour, which was then being sponsored by Sunoco but is presented by Wawa this year. The activities included everything from movie nights in the park to a free concert on Independence Day. If you’re a teenager or college kid in the Philly-area, I’d recommend checking it out when they post more info! This morning while scrolling Facebook (ugh) I found the coolest link to a list of FREE THINGS TO DO in PA! Thought I’d share it you with.

Sadly, all good things come to an end and I’m no longer running around Philly, free as a bird. I did return for a day trip when my oldest was a baby, but walking through the Italian Market with a stroller and having to find a clean place to change diapers and such, just wasn’t the same. My financial situation is not much different today… my income comes self-employment and freelance work that I do, and I’m still paying for those educational years of school. Free is still one of my favorite words. I’m now living at the Jersey Shore (summers are even better down here!) and I’ve got two children who are in my care around the clock. I have even less free time than I did when I was in college and working two jobs. (How does that even happen…) With these changes in mind, I’ve made a new list of FREE THINGS available in my corner of the world. The list is unfinished and I will be adding to it as I find more, and I encourage you to post links and ideas and share what you know about free activities and events for young people and families to enjoy. If you know of an event happening in NJ, make sure it’s listed on this awesome calendar of state-wide events on JerseyFamilyFun.com! South Jersey Explorer made their own list of 28 Free Things to Do This Summer (with or without your kids). Definitely check that out.

  • A LIBRARY CARD (total no-brainer…this is your pass to a gazillion free resources besides the obvious access to books and DVDs)
  • Rita’s Water Ice on the first day of spring (March/April)
  • Yoga and Pilates classes (held at the public library) See Calendar of Events Pre-registration is often required
  • Free Business Expo offering job opportunities and workshops (April 18) Click here to reserve your spot
  • Movie Nights at Galloway Patriot Lake (summertime) See Schedule
  • Cape May County Zoo (spring & summer) Click for Hours
  • Storytime (again, at the library) See schedule/locations
  • Rhythm in the Park Outdoor Concerts at Tony Canale Park in EHT (Fridays & Saturdays in the summer) Get More Info

What’s the best thing you ever did that cost you absolutely nothing?

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