On my daily quest to save money, I have been trying to find free or budget-friendly things to do in town.  I am a type of person who likes to go explore, embark on adventures and see new things. There is no way on earth I am going to let finances hold me back, and you shouldn’t either! Who says being cheap has to mean no fun? Budgeting is about prioritizing and stretching a dollar as far as possible. Therefore, I’m convinced that I can stretch a dollar all the way across the city. Here’s how.

Art Walk. On the first Wednesday of every month is Art Walk. It’s a self-guided tour of local art galleries and vendors all over downtown. Hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. You might want to start at the Hemming Plaza so you can work your way around (in front of the Jacksonville MOCA and the Main Public Library). Artists, musicians and many other sorts of talent come out and display their work on the streets.

Sports Teams. Join a sports team! You’ll be amazed with how many young adult sports teams there are in town. Many churches/ religious groups offer sports groups that meet once a week for free. If you’re not involved at a church, or yours simply doesn’t offer one, you can always check out www.jaxsport.com. You can review the options, pay a one-time fee of $70, and get playing! Score some goals, relive your childhood, and make new friends … it’s always a good time.

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Riverside Arts Market. The RAM is a weekly arts, craft and farmer’s market held in the Riverside area of Jacksonville. Every Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., local musicians, artists, entertainers and farmers come together for one of the coolest freebies Jacksonville has to offer. Live music, local art, delicious food and a stunning view of the St. Johns river. Remember, it’s never the same market twice!

The Museum of Contemporary Art. MOCA is  FREE (such a beautiful word)  for families on Sundays and free for everybody the first Wednesday of each month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. UNF students, it’s also free for you with ID. If you’re in college and something is free — go. Because it’s free. Bank of America card holders can also get in for free the first weekend of each month.

The River Walk. Riverwalk Have a half hour to spare? Take a walk on the RiverwalkIt is over one mile of paved walkway right along the St. Johns river.

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Tijuana Flats Taco Tuesdays. Tijuana Flats $5 for two huge tacos, a drink and chips. Need I say more? You can’t afford NOT to go.

Pick Up A New Hobby. Sure, this isn’t a particular location, but that’s the best part about it!  I can’t stress that enough. Learning to surf was the best thing I have ever done for myself for a couple of reasons. 1. It’s cheap. Don’t have a board? Borrow a friend’s. Or, get one off craigslist and save your money until you can afford a better one. 2. It’s something you can improve at every day. It’s a different experience each time you go. 3. You can surf other locations. If you have a day off, take a trip to the Mayport Poles or drive somewhere north or south. Whether you choose to pick up surfing or something else, a new hobby can a make a big difference in your free time. You might even learn a thing or two along the way.

Groupon. Never forget the power of Groupon. Just the other day I saw skydiving for $100. Why didn’t I take it? I don’t know. My point is that you never know what you can find. Your weekend can suddenly go from boring to brilliant in a quick click of a good deal.

These are only a few of the options Jacksonville has to offer while being on a budget. As I discover more along my journey, I can promise you I won’t go without telling! A budget doesn’t have to mean boring. I will forever testify to that!