Today, the date jar yielded a card that my husband oh-so adored: Instead of spending money this weekend, transfer $100 into savings and have a spending-free day. Do you know T.Love? Master and lover of all things Goodwill & Dollar Tree? He was just delighted that we weren't allowed to spend money today, so it got me thinking: what types of free things can we do in the summer? I'm happy to provide you with a list I've conjured up, as well as how we chose to spend our penny-free Sunday.

Besides the gas it took to drive to church, we didn't spend a dime today. This may seem like an easy task but seriously, think about how often you drop a couple of dollars here and there. Morning coffee? Dry cleaning? Lunch at Chipotle? iTunes music? $2 afternoon Frappuccinos? Target "runs" (more like basket-fulls of stuff I didn't know I needed)... I'm guilty as charged. Those receipts of unplanned, little purchases can really add up! I was surprised at how many things we spend a few dollars on without thinking about it. So, I definitely had to think a little about how we were not going to spend money today. 

Here's what we did:

1. Coffee + breakfast at home
2. Church
3. Lunch in the little apartment (tacos + spinach salad)
4. A long walk in Murrayhill
5. Naptime
6. Catching up on emails & magazine reading
7. Taking the time to cook a long(er) dinner
8. Wine + True Grit

= no $$ spent today! Hooray!

And as I said, it got me thinking for times in which we need a get-out-of-the-house, go-to list of free things to do in Portland for the times in which we choose not to spend money. After a little researching & remembering, I've nailed down a few fun options that we'll definitely be trying during the remaining weeks of summer!

1. Taking an easy day hike in the Portland-metro vicinity.  -- Now, I realize that some gas will be involved in driving to one of said locations; however, getting that daily dose of oxygen & adrenaline will be just what the doctor ordered instead of staying cooped up indoors. If you don't already own the "60 Hikes Within 60 Miles" book, I highly recommend you check out this website:  there's a map involved, detailed information, and a list of popular trails in the area. It's a great way to explore Oregon and take a mini-(free)-vacation in the process!

2. Checking out the Flicks by the Fountain or Flicks on the Bricks movie showings in Beaverton & Pioneer Courthouse Square.  -- If you have kids, are a kid at heart, don't mind kids, or just simply want to hang out with local people, the various movie showings in July & August by Pioneer & the Beaverton City Library are great options to hang out and see old (and new) favorites for free! For more information visit: Pioneer Courthouse Square Flicks on the Bricks or Beaverton City Library Flicks by the Fountain. 

3. Visit the offered-nearly-every-day-of-the-week Portland Farmer's Market. --Yes, it costs money to *buy* something here; however, there are lots and lots of free samples offered, live music, great people-watching, and ideas for what to buy when you can spend money. :) Visit the Portland Farmer's Market Website for more information 

4. Take a neighborhood walk / call a friend / do a procrastinated chore / catch up on emails / play board games -- All of the above are things we indulged in today, and I'm happy to say I feel much more productive because of it. 

5. Try out a new recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe -- this is my absolute favorite cooking website. I love love love Mel's Kitchen Cafe-- some of my go-to classics have been found here (all credited to her). Some of my personal bests? Skillet Lasagne and "The Best Chicken Noodle Soup." You *might* have to go to the store to pick up some supplies; however, she is so ingenious and down-home good, that you probably already have the ingredients required for the recipe you want to try. Sorry Betty Crocker-- you have been replaced.
I've successfully discovered today that not spending money might actually be more fun than spending it. Just don't tell my husband...

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