It's time to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. Through October 15, Americans acknowledge and honor the contributions of the Hispanic community and pay homage to their ancestral ties. Consider celebrating this year on a budget. Here are some tips to do so.
1. Reading is a low-cost way to learn about a time in history.
The newly released book "Sofrito" highlights the main character's struggles with the loss of his heritage and homeland after his family left Cuba in the late 1950s. The main character, Frank Delgado, calls New York home but later returns to Cuba for an authentic recipe to save his restaurant business. When he returns from his trip, he feels reconnected to his roots and unknowingly fills a void he never knew he had.
"The search for home is a subconscious one. Frank never knew he lacked something," explains author Phillippe Diederich. He also points out that while the main character is in search of the authentic sofrito recipe in the story, he goes through a transition of understanding his family and also understanding himself.
If you're more interested in reading about artists, check out free books at the library about famous ones like Pablo Picasso. Reading about the lives of others is not only interesting but inspiring. For roughly $6 or less, you can read "The Who Was Series," which I did with my daughter. It's very engaging and weaves in mini-history lessons throughout the book.
We discovered that Picasso pushed frugality to new heights. Living the life of a starving artist meant not only sharing a place with a roommate but sharing a bed. This is what Picasso and a fellow artist did to make it in the art world. They worked opposite shifts to share a single person's living space to make life affordable.
Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist, is also featured in the series. She is known for her amazing self-portraits and vibrant paintings that often capture the lives of the indigenous Mexican culture. There are multiple books written about her for both children and adults.
2. Take a free virtual tour.
Learning about art, culture and other interesting information doesn't have to only be in book form. Check out the virtual museum on Smithsonian Latino Center's website for free. Take an online tour to see different artwork, music and other contributions by Latinos.
Scroll over the colorful online map to explore what the website has to offer. Click on simulations, experience mobile broadcasts from author and artist Sandra Cisneros or even catch a podcast about the Latino Experience in American Art.
3. Enjoy what's unique about your heritage.
Jessica Galan, a social studies teacher of Puerto Rican descent, suggests taking time to reach out to relatives and ask about customs and traditions from the past. Cook together or learn traditional dances from your native country. If your family lives far away, chatting via Skype or Google Hangout doesn't have to cost you a dime to reconnect.
4. Honor famous baseball players.
If you're a baseball fan, learn about players from different Spanish-speaking countries. Discover facts about the players just by searching online for free. Dominican native David Ortiz of the Red Sox recently became a member of the 500 Club after hitting his 500th home run on Saturday, September 12.
Many others have made names for themselves on the field, including Roberto Clemente, Felipe Alou and Pedro Martinez. Take a tour of a baseball stadium where some of these players have ran the bases. Many baseball stadium offer year round tours to the public. Tours at Fenway for an adult can cost $20 for an adult and $12 for children.
Growing up as an immigrant from Puerto Rico, AutoCAD operator Alfredo Cruz of remembers looking up to Roberto Clemente. "He was an example to live by, not only as a person from my homeland or a baseball player, but as a kind human being." Cruz recounts his charitable efforts and how he gave his life to what he believed in by helping the less fortunate.
Have someone in your family write down a bunch of facts about each person you wish to learn more about. Each day, pull one fact out a hat to share with your family. This is a fun, free way to learn about the contributions of others in the Hispanic community in America.
5. Personal finance is personal.
Get a dose of personal finance know-how from a mainstream media personality and author of Dominican descent, Carmen Rita Wong. Check out her book, "The Real Cost of Living." Understanding what things truly cost can be eye-opening, but handling money isn't only about dollars and cents. The author believes that money shouldn't be the only driving force when it comes to making life decisions both big and small. She highlights examples throughout her book and includes details about her own life as the eldest child. Look for her new money book and novel in 2016.
6. Try cooking an authentic dish.
If you've never made an authentic dish from your heritage or you'd just like to try something you've never made before, ask a relative to show you how. Cooking can be a low cost way to reconnect to your roots. Daisy Martinez is a chef, TV personality and author of Puerto Rican descent. She shares her love of Latin cuisine in her cookbooks, which can give you recipe ideas.
However you choose to celebrate the month, there are plenty of options for frugal fun.
Karen Cordaway is a teacher and writer who currently shares money saving tips on her website, MoneySavingEnthusiast.com.