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Beat boredom without breaking the bank

The dark days of winter still seem to be upon us and if you have been affected by bad weather recently you may be feeling desperate for some fun. But with credit card bills from the Christmas holidays hitting the floor over the last few weeks you may also be feeling constrained by finances that seem way too pinched. If your New Year’s resolution were to reduce the debt then kudos to you - it’s a very positive step. The good news is you can still have fun.
Discover your city If you spend your days bouncing from home to work and back again it can seem like you never get out and explore the place you live. Well, now is your chance to change that and see what your location has to offer. Take a walk around the area, pledging to check out a part you have yet to visit. Jump on a bus or subway and pick a place at random to get out and explore. Walk around and look for out-of-the-way spots that might throw up a few hidden jewels. So often we just fix our eyes and minds on the destination and never look around on the journey. Now is your chance to change that (and get some healthy exercise while you’re doing it!).
Online learning Want to learn about Beethoven, managing teams successfully or how to write effectively? What about an introduction to web development, contemporary architecture or international criminal law? Today anyone with an Internet connection can study courses online that are designed by professionals from institutions like MIT, Stanford and University of Pennsylvania, and offered free to anyone who wants to participate. Known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), they use the power (and cost effectiveness) of the Internet to reach tens or even hundreds of thousands of prospective students. Some well known providers include Coursera, Udacity and Iversity. The MOOCs are a great to expand your knowledge in a subject you are interested in, including new career directions.
Poker While this might seem counter intuitive - isn’t poker what you do if you want to lose your shirt and after all, it’s a boys game, right? Well, read on. You can enjoy all the fun and adrenaline buzz of poker but without the gambling den ambience by inviting your inner circle around for a poker night at home. Snacks, wine, chatting in between hands and a little friendly card play. You can even keep the costs down completely and play for matches. What’s not to like? And if that sounds a bit too Sex and the City how about logging on and checking out some of the online poker sites? While many of these are geared to win (and lose!) cash there some that will appeal to your inner tightwad. FullTilt's free version of the game allows you to try your luck with play money and even offers freeroll tournaments where you can play without having to deposit any cash. Let’s play!


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