Whether you're making plans or feeling spontaneous, the goal is the same: stay within that budget. When your "entertainment" portion of this month's spending plan is gone, that doesn't mean you're stuck twiddling your thumbs.
Our region is known for the best free activities, so get out there and enjoy yourself - without blowing your financial goals.
Not sure where to start? We've got you covered. Here are 12 creative things to do in our area that won't cost a penny.
- Get your jazz on. Blurring the lines between indoors and al fresco, the Dark Side of the Moon on Broad Street tickles the ears of passers-by with live jazz every Tuesday starting at 7:30pm. It doesn't cost a penny to come and tap your toes to the catchy tunes and good vibes.
- Enjoy some free touch therapy. – trade your online cat video hobby for the real deal, and visit the Rome Floyd Humane Society to pet some pups and kitties in real life. Believe it or not, caring for cats has become such a pop culture thing that many cities even boast a "cat café" where guests pay to hang out with friendly felines. Get your kicks for free by carving out some snuggle time with local adoptees, and while you're there, snap a selfie to share with followers – raising awareness helps the organization's mission of increasing pet adoptions.
- Take advantage of the original "tax return." Visit the local branch of your Sara Hightower Regional library for a buffet of free activities. From computer classes to free movies, meet-the-author events, writer workshops and everything in between, you're guaranteed to find something for every person in the family.
- Inspire Your Inner Pastry Chef. The famous artists at Honeymoon Bakery offer a sweet sort of exhibition cooking, and there's no obligation to buy. Stop by and enjoy watching a remarkable creation take shape – literally!
- Hammer it out. The Lowe's Home Improvement store on Market Place Blvd. in Cartersville offers free workshops to adults and kids alike multiple times a month. The finished product could range from a pull-back motor toy to chic wall art, or anything in between.. Included in your experience is a free apron, safety goggles, and patch. Not to mention, your masterpiece!
- Learn public speaking. Since public speaking ranks right up there among most people's greatest fears, why not tackle the skill before you ever need it? Drop into the Rome Toastmaster's Group to watch – no speaking required – how people can go from sheepish to stylish by practicing a few easy tips. And who knows? You might discover you have something to share. Attending as a guest is free. You can hop around to different Toastmaster meetings, and if ever you do settle on attending one regularly, dues only run you about $2 per meeting.
- Play The Voice. Get your stardom on at WOW Café on Martha Berry Blvd. in Rome every Tuesday night with free Karaoke from 7 to ten. Bring the kids and you may discover a hidden talent in one of your friends or family members.
- Laugh your way healthy. If you've always envied those friends who talk about what they're learning after hours at their costly improv comedy class, take heart. There's a free monthly event just for you! The Laughter Club of Rome meets every other week in the Charles Parker Center at Etowah Park and welcomes comics of all ages and abilities. According to Dr. Madan Kataria, laughing releases "feel-good" chemicals in the brain like dopamine and endorphins. For a free natural high, give laughter a try.
- Travel in time. Go back in time through our area's remarkable history and dig up the stories that make our region special. The Polk County Historical Society's museum is free Wednesday through Saturday, but despite your visit's null price tag, the treasures you'll find within are truly rich. Whether you'd like to research your own genealogy, see original Native American artifacts or learn how the streets got their names, this outing is not to be missed.
- Visit the Great Locomotive Chase. For a more fast-paced historical excursion, swing by the Adairsville Visitor's Center and Rail Depot Museum where you can pick up a free brochure. Then, self-guide your way through what Walt Disney himself thought of as the most riveting railroad adventure of all time.
- Strategize with strangers. The Barnes and Noble store on Turner McCall in Rome hosts free board game sessions with area enthusiasts in a zero-pressure environment to ensure everyone feels comfortable. Checkmate, budget.
- Float your boat. You don't need to dive into an organized event to enjoy the Etowah River in summer. Simply grab a tube, call a friend to drop a shuttle vehicle, and hit the 6-mile "easy" stretch detailed by other aquatic outdoor enthusiasts. Always observe the water safety recommendations offered up by the National Park Service when enjoying the outdoors.
Whichever one of these free activities you choose to get into, remember, your checking account will thank you. Don't forget to snap a selfie and tweet it to @CoosaValleyCU with hashtag #financialfreedom.
Who knows? We may see you out there.
Image Source: Flickr