When you have kids, it can feel like you’re always waiting. Waiting to pick them up from school. Waiting to pick them up from activities. Waiting for an activity to start or waiting for an activity to end.
We love our kids, but that waiting just feels like so much wasted time.
I first realized that I was going to have to get creative with my time spent waiting when my youngest were in preschool. I had a three-hour block of time to kill between drop-off and pick-up and going home in between wasn’t really an option since it’s a 54-mile round trip.
And while it wasn’t enough time to go home, it was just enough time to get into trouble shopping. I had to learn frugal things to do when waiting or my budget would suffer.
Since I know I’m probably not alone in this situation, I thought I’d share my ideas for frugal things to do when waiting. These are simple things you can do when you have an hour or two to kill before your scheduled activities.
Frugal Things to Do When Waiting
Visit a friend. Meet up for coffee with a friend. You’ll get a chance to have a relaxing conversation with a grown-up. Well worth a cup of coffee!
Catch up on your reading. How many times have you said you wished you had more time to read a book? Well, you do have time! Bring a book of your own, or head to the public library to find a book or magazine to absorb you. Find a place with free wireless internet, and catch up on your e-mail.
Hunt for bargains. Now, I know this can be very dangerous. It’s best to go bargain hunting with a strict budget and a clear sense of purpose. I especially like browsing the thrift stores when I have a definitive need and a solid shopping list.
Exercise. Use your idle time to stop being idle! Head to the gym or go for a walk. You’ll find new energy for when you’re home again with the kids.
Get organized. I like to use the time spent waiting to brainstorm goals for myself or the house, clip coupons, pay bills, work on my budget, or plan menus for the week. You can carry a small notebook with you to jot down your ideas, or you can use an app like Evernote on your smartphone to keep track of your brainstorming.
Volunteer. Beat the boredom of sitting around by helping out in your community. Look for opportunities to volunteer at area non-profits or in the schools. Look for places with causes you’d like to help that are okay with you dropping in for short amounts of time.
Learn something new. Put the time spent waiting into learning something like a new skill or a foreign language. Watch instructional videos online, listen to podcasts, or take a community ed class. Use that idle time to broaden your horizons or learn a marketable skill.
Create something. If you’re into knitting or crocheting, bring your projects with you to create while you wait. You can start making your Christmas gifts months in advance. If you’re waiting with other kids, make sure to bring paper, coloring books and pencils so that they can draw or work on homework.
Grab a cat nap. Lean the seat back in your car, set the alarm on your cell phone and take a little siesta. So often we don’t get enough sleep and a short rest can do wonders for your physical and emotional health. If you don’t want to sleep, just taking a few moments to meditate can help greatly improve your mood and heighten your senses.
Idle time is wasted time, especially if you use that time to spend money on things you don’t really need. These are a frugal things to do when waiting that can keep the boredom at bay and your money in your wallet.
What are some frugal things you do when you’re waiting?