Fun is where
you find it
‘Pick up the local paper’
Christina Gutt was hoping to
continue working for another
few years. But two years ago, at
age 64, she lost her job as an assistant at a mutual fund research
company in New York City.
“That’s when I learned how to
be austere,” she says. “I stopped
going to Lincoln Center and to Broadway
shows. Instead, I opted for neighborhood
concerts and plays at colleges and in churches.
There is so much talent in this country that
doesn’t get the big break but is exceptional
In November, Gutt moved out of the city and
settled in an apartment some 300 miles away
in Rochester, N.Y. When she turned 66, she
claimed her Social Security benefit and lives
on $1,709 a month.
“Rochester has an extremely rich cultural
life,” says Gutt, who frequents both the large
theaters and community venues nearby at a
fraction of the cost of Broadway shows.
In addition, there’s no shortage of city-spon-sored events, particularly its variety of free
festivals. From spring to fall, the city puts on
the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the
Rochester International Film Festival, the Lilac Festival, an Irish festival, two Greek festivals
and several others.
Gutt says she also takes advantage of the
many activities offered at a nearby communi-
ty center, such as weekly painting
classes that are reasonably priced,
free lectures by former or current
University of Rochester professors,
and day trips, including visits to lo-
cal wineries and museums.
‘I get to be outside’
For Rick Schrader, the greenery of Asheville,
N.C., offers all the social activity he craves, from
biking to hiking, camping to kayaking.
The 55-year-old mountain bike enthusiast has
made good friends by joining a “meet-up” group
that brings together people of all ages who like
to ride. “Biking is an inexpensive way to meet
people and have fun,” he says.
Schrader, who works at home repairing dental equipment and electronics, says he’s become
more frugal as he nears retirement. “You think
you’re set, and all of a sudden, you get a wake-up
call—your portfolio balance was just cut in half.”
For Schrader, being outdoorsy is cheap and
pays off in other ways. He’s lost 50 pounds in the
last year and no longer needs cholesterol medication. When he’s not cycling in the countryside
with his meet-up pals, Schrader volunteers at
local festivals, cooking hot dogs and doing whatever else is needed. “I get free food and beer,” he
says, “and I get to be outside.” ;
Consider these free or low-cost activities. Check newspaper ads and websites or call for information.
$ Join a meet-up group where others
share your interests, such as tennis,
wine-tasting, bridge, ballroom dancing,
book clubs and more. Find a group near
you at meetup.com.
$ Volunteer at a sporting event, festival, theater, museum or convention
and get in on the fun free of charge.
$ Visit local museums, zoos and gardens on the selected days when admission is free.
$ Check out plays, concerts and sporting events at your local schools. They
are free or low-cost and easy to get to.
$ See a Broadway show at selected theaters that hold a lottery the day of the
performance—orchestra seats could be
a bargain $25. You drop a card with your
name in a bucket and an employee picks
$ Get baseball tickets when discounts
for seniors or half-price tickets are offered for designated games.
$ Be serenaded by local entertainers at
bars and restaurants, an inexpensive
way to enjoy an evening.
MAT T HERRING
aarp.org/bulletin MAY 2012