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Better than shopping

Written by Richard Docwra

We all have to shop, and sometimes it can be fun. But we live in an age where shopping is one of the most popular leisure activities, and surely there must be more interesting, useful and enjoyable things to do than go shopping?

Also, times are tight and many of us are having to reduce our spending. So what are some of the cheap things we can do that are better than shopping?  This Life Squared leaflet gives 10 great ideas!

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Better than shopping

1. Play
Playing is great.  Remember when you were young and used to do it all the time?  As we get older it’s easy to forget how good it is to play, so why not remind yourself by having a muck about?  Play a game, play some sport, do some exercise, play with the dog, or just generally mess about!

For more ideas, try: or enter ‘sports clubs’ in

2. Connect
It sometimes feels like we never spend enough time with the people we care about.  Instead of shopping, you could spend some time with your friends, visit your family, meet your neighbours, get in touch with old friends or even just stroke your cat!

For more ideas, try: or

3. Explore
It always used to be fun to explore when we were kids.  And there’s no reason we should stop as adults!  You could explore your local area and see if there are things you’ve not discovered or noticed before, visit somewhere new or go on a mystery tour by catching the next bus and seeing where it takes you!

For more ideas, try: and    

4. Read
Reading can help you relax and learn as well as open up new places, ideas and opportunities.  But it’s easy to not find the time for it.  So, instead of going shopping, curl up with a book and a cup of tea!

For more ideas, try: and

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5. Learn
Learning shouldn’t be something that we stop doing when we leave school!  There’s always something interesting and useful to learn – for example, learn about the world around you, research your family tree, visit a museum or art gallery or try a new language!

For more ideas, try: and

6. Create
Creating things is one of the biggest pleasures in life.  You don’t have to be an expert to create something – the fun is in the act of creating itself!  It could include writing, gardening, making, singing, cooking, playing, thinking, painting, drawing - the list is endless!
For more ideas, try:,  and  

7. Help
Helping other people can benefit everyone – not just the people we’re helping!  It can make us feel good about ourselves and that we’ve done something really worthwhile.   Why not give some time to someone who needs some help?  Wash their car, collect their groceries, walk their dog - anything.  Alternatively, you could volunteer some time to help with a whole range of causes – from improving the environment to giving blood.
For more ideas, try: and   

8. Engage
We all have issues that we care about or things we want to change about the world - so get involved and have your say!   This could mean writing a letter to your MP or council, joining a campaign group, raising funds for a good cause or starting up a group with your neighbours to improve your neighbourhood.

For more ideas, try: and

9. Think
How often have you found yourself saying ‘I just haven’t got time to think’?  Well, now you have!  Use the new time you have available to give your brain some exercise or just let your mind wander.  You could ask yourself some big questions like ‘what is the meaning of life?’, reflect about what you want from life, solve a puzzle or do a quiz.
For more ideas, try: and

10. Do nothing
Modern life always seems to be rushed and frantic – most of us don’t get the chance to relax properly, so instead of running around the shops with everyone else, why not slow down, relax and take life in?  You could relax, meditate, sleep, look at the sky or just generally laze around!
For more ideas, try: and  

Life Squared 2009

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