What does the future hold for your paddling budget? “Only three in 10 Canadians believe younger people will be better off than their parents,” or so says a research study produced for the federal government. I doubt we’d find a higher level of optimism from our American readers.

Still, there’s no question that when it comes to whitewater boating, this generation is more richly endowed than mom and dad. We enjoy planing hulls, Gore-Tex drysuits and carbon fiber, foam-injected paddles. Rivers that were off-limits when our folks were watching Melrose Place are now accessible. The key is to find a way within your means to make the most of these opportunities.

Whether you’re saving up for a trip or your next boat, Paddling Magazine has got you covered with 99 tested scrimping strategies for dirtbags during hard times.

a group of whitewater kayakers walk through the forest carrying their boats
Here’s how to find a way within your means to make the most of your paddling budget. | Feature photo: Courtesy Dagger Kayaks

99 ways to stretch your paddling budget

  1. Return your empties
  2. Use pool noodles for roof racks
  3. Paddle closer to home
  4. Drink Lucky Lager
  5. Sell your paddling photos to Paddling Magazine
  6. Carpool
  1. Put money in the drop box (karma, man)
  2. Don’t golf (as if you needed another reason)
  3. Buy king-size Snickers bars
  4. Cancel your streaming services
  5. Grow your own
Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels
Fast food can’t compete with a lunch you make yourself. | Photo: Anthony Shkraba/Pexels
  1. Pack a lunch
  2. Don’t buy insurance
  3. Snare rabbits
  4. Sell old gear
  5. Donate your old boat to charity
  6. Cut your own hair. Instructions: Place helmet on head. Cut around.
  1. Find money in your sofa
  2. Carry tea bags and hot chocolate mix in your glove box. Get free hot water at gas stations and coffee shops.
  3. Join a paddling club
  4. Buy flip-flops
Walk around barefoot to stretch your paddling budget
Ditch that pesky footwear for a simpler way of life. | Photo: Jose Aragones/Pexels
  1. Go barefoot
  2. Find a roommate
  3. Use the library
  4. Stay out of the student pub
  5. Buy generic brand ibuprofen
  6. Live like your grandparents lived
  7. Fiberglass your broken paddle
  8. Buy a drysuit. Yes, this is expensive, but it will double your paddling days therefore lowering your overall cost per day of paddling.
  9. Turn off the lights
Photo by Jodie Louise from Pexels
Transportation and cardio training all in one. | Photo: Jodie Louise/Pexels
  1. Ride your bike
  2. Take a paddling course
  3. Turn down the heat; put on a sweater
  4. Turn off the A/C
  5. Add wood gunwales to an old canoe
  1. Live in a garage
  2. Don’t loan your friends money
  3. Swap your land line for VoIP
  4. Downgrade from the latest iPhone
Stop cutting the grass to stretch your paddling budget
What’s that saying—tall grass makes good neighbors? | Photo: Liis Saar/Pexels
  1. Don’t cut your grass
  2. Sell the PlayStation 5 and go for a run
  3. Stop feeding birds; eat sunflower seeds
  4. Learn to bake
  5. Go to gear swaps
  6. Dehydrate your own food
  7. Don’t listen to Rick Ross
  8. Paddle the boat you own
  9. Buy energy bars in bulk
  10. Buy everything in bulk
  11. Fix your latex gaskets
Photo by Julia Volk from Pexels
Wild berries are delectable and free, just watch out for bears! | Photo: Julia Volk/Pexels
  1. Pick wild berries for your smoothies
  2. Buy a coffee maker
  3. Don’t buy lottery tickets
  4. Camp
  5. Cancel your newspaper subscriptions
  6. Sell your NFTs
  1. Shop the day-old bakery rack
  2. Don’t give your family birthday presents; give coupons for free days of paddling—with you
  3. Boat share
  4. Do laundry at your parents’ house
  5. Live with your parents
plant a garden, like these radishes, to stretch your paddling budget
Partake of the bounty of the earth to stretch your paddling budget. | Photo: Skitterphoto/Pexels
  1. Plant a garden
  2. Redeem your Air Miles
  3. Aquaseal your sprayskirt
Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels
Relive your college days with a student’s diet. | Photo: Taryn Elliott/Pexels
  1.  Two words: Value Village
  2. Avoid the freezer
  3. Don’t become a raft guide
  4. Ask for the “Manager’s Special”
  5. Don’t speed
  6. Brew your own beer and wine
  7. Listen to local radio
  8. Eat in season
  9. Crash in 1-star motels, if you must
  1. Travel on a work-your-way
  2. Eat only ramen noodles and peanut butter
  3. Be your own handyman
  4. Live off the grid
  5. Drink lots of water
  6. Knit your own socks
  7. Cut up credit cards (unless they aren’t yours)
  8. Go halves on a side of beef
  9. Don’t fly in
  10. Do your own oil changes
watch sunsets instead of movies to stretch your paddling budget
Check out the special effects on this one! | Photo: Sebastian Voortman/Pexels
  1. Watch sunsets, not movies
  2. Drop out of college—use tuition for gas
  3. Get a promotion
  4. Never swim (swimmers buy beer)
  5. Build your own furniture
  1. Live where you work
  2. Eat canned food. Dented cans? Ask for a discount.
  3. Food store samples
  4. Couch surf
  5. Wash your car at home
Calculator and Notepad placed over Stack of Paper Bills
Try these 99 time-tested scrimping strategies for dirtbags. | Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels
  1. “Siren sale” at Giant Tiger
  2. Cancel your gym membership. Develop “prison workout”
  3. Reuse everything—almost everything
  4. Practice visualization
  5. Use grocery store bags as booties
  6. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine for more great deals and money-saving strategies

Paddling Magazine Issue 65 | Fall 2021

This article first appeared in the Early Summer 2009 issue of Rapid Magazine and in Paddling Magazine Issue 65. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions here, or download the Paddling Magazine app and browse the digital archives here.

Here’s how to find a way within your means to make the most of your paddling budget. | Feature photo: Courtesy Dagger Kayaks



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here