Hey! What happened to deflation? It was the scary economic spectre raised as the world slipped over the brink of recession last year.

With deflation, prices and wages fall — what a concept. We’ve had the latter but not much of the former.

Movie tickets are as high as ever — don’t get me started on popcorn. Concerts and plays too. And I haven’t noticed many golf courses offering discounts.

So if girls or guys just want to have fun, can you do it without running up the tab? Absolutely. In summer, antique shows and flea markets are a blast. Even kids love to wander through the ancient stuff Mum and Dad used to play with or wear. Take a picnic and you have a great day trip. Big malls often offer an antiquing week with parking and admission free.

Farmer’s markets are a lovely way to spend a weekend morning. You have to buy vegetables anyway, why not add value to the experience and support a local farmer at the same time?

The best people watching is in Venice Beach, Calif., but every city has at least one good spot to exercise your eyeballs. From waterfront parks to trendy shopping streets, you’ll find the biggest reality show in the world.

Try an entire summer without renting a DVD. Yes, you can do it! Instead, get them free from the library. You’ll uncover some gems like the BBC’s witty and completely un-hip Monarch of the Glen series.

And if you want completely something off the wall, hit the local airport with folks from an Airport Watch group. Many cities have such members that park themselves with binoculars and lawn chairs in landing and take-off flight paths. It’s a completely different and visceral thrill.

Send me your cheap entertainment tips and we’ll get an online list started.

Alison’s Money Rule:
• Once you stop associating value with cost you will realize some of the best things in life really are free — or close to it.

– Alison Griffiths is a financial journalist, author and host of Maxed Out on the W Network. Write to her at alison@alisongriffiths.ca.

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