Ok, so you’ve decided to bite the bullet.
You’re cutting your expenses and saving more money each month.
But now the reality of your decision is sinking in and you’re asking yourself, “What daf^k am I going do for entertainment with no budget?”
The stuff you enjoy doing all involves spending money.
The thought of it is depressing. Ugh.
But hold that thought, because I’m delighted to tell you that there are LOADS of fun, inspiring and interesting things you can do to keep yourself amused without spending loads of money!
Here are 50 (yes, FIFTY) epic ideas for you, so that you don’t need to waste time and energy thinking about it yourself.
Okay, “epic” might be a stretch, but they’re all genuinely free or cheap and we’re sure you’ll find at least a couple you can enjoy. So, check the list, find one you like and go do it. Simple as.
Ok, here we go . . .
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1) Read a book
Yeah – remember those bound pages with printed words?
Put down your smart phone (the horror!) and get stuck in to a good old-fashioned book from the library – or borrow one. If you don’t want to go old-skool with this, stick with your Kindle or your tablet.
2) Visit a museum or art gallery
If you live in a city, there are probably some great museums and galleries to visit and many are free. Take advantage and spend the day getting yourself a bit of culture. If you live in a small town or museums are not your thing, let’s forget that and move on to the next one . . .
3) Go to the park
If it’s a nice day, have a picnic. Kick a ball around. Fly a kite. Push the kids on the swings – ideally your own kids or those belonging to a family member, because playing with other people’s kids in the park is generally not the done thing. You can spend all afternoon at the park and it’s almost always free!
4) Do chores
I’m serious. No, it’s not the first thing I would do with my free time either, but it is free and sh*t needs doing. If you’re going to chill out at home, it’s a much more pleasant experience if you’re doing it in a nice and clean environment. Or maybe that’s just us, because we’re clean freaks . . .
5) Tackle a nagging task
Kind of an extension of the above – we all have those little chores that we’ve been putting off. The squeaky door hinge, the drawer that keeps catching, the lightbulbs that need replacing. Get them done and feel good about it.
If you struggle with your time management, you might want to check out this post.
6) Start a blog
You might think that starting a blog is difficult, but actually, it may not be as difficult as you imagine. Hell, if I can do it, anyone can. Yes, there are plenty of new skills you need to learn and it might require some small expenses upfront, but you can set up a basic blog for nothing. Get your thoughts out there and share your views with the world.
Be warned though – it can be addictive. It’s also a lot of hard work.
7) Ride your bike
Getting around on your bike is a great way to see more of the place where you live that might otherwise be inaccessible by car. It’s fun and it keeps you fit too.
8) Go for a run
Wherever I live, I always seem to have a better knowledge of roads and directions in the area than most other people I know. And that’s simply because I run, which is a great way to discover places that you would never normally go when driving or taking the bus.
9) Become a volunteer
Whether it is reading to an elderly person, or helping in a hospital or picking up litter on the roadside, voluntary work is a great way to meet people and do some good for the community.
10) Visit a friend
Yes. I mean actually in person!
Back in the days before smart phones, friends used to drop round to visit each other all the time. Sometimes even without invitation. I’m not kidding – ask your parents. Go and see your friend at home for a coffee. See the whites of their eyes in real life and have a chat about, I don’t know, anything you like.
Beats video chats, although one benefit of those is that you can chat to your friends in your underpants and they are none-the-wiser. This doesn’t work so well face-to-face.
11) Connect with an old friend
Time flies and before you know it, months and even years can pass before you realise how long it has been since you spoke to a particular friend. And then you get old and die and it’s all too late.
It can be a shame to lose connection with those you have shared experiences with, since life is really about meaningful relationships with others. Don’t let that happen reconnect and keep the friendships alive.
Related ~ How To Be Happy Every Single Day
12) Learn a language
Speaking more than one language can be so rewarding and enriching and yet so many people overlook it. These days, there are many free apps and online services you can use.
Or why not make friends with a foreign student or worker and do a language exchange? Make a new friend and learn a new language. Double whammy!
Check out these free apps for starters.
13) Learn an instrument
Ok, so instruments can be expensive, but how many of us have a guitar knocking about that someone gave us or a roommate left behind that could get some use? If not, there may be an investment upfront, but it will provide you with many hours of free entertainment forever more!
14) Build something
This depends on your skills, but you could try anything from a Lego X-Wing to a cabinet or a chess board. The possibilities are actually endless. And if you build it, they will come . . .
I must admit that meditation was never something that appealed to me . . . until I started living in a big city and I found that taking some time to escape the masses and disappear into the solitude of my own mind was worth every minute.
Give it a try. Start with some mindfulness.
16) Get a side hustle
Instead of spending money, use could your time to earn more! Google “side hustle” and enter a world of ways to bring in extra cash. Some people make a fortune doing this, but maybe not as much as these guys.
Steer clear of get-rich-quick schemes and MLMs though.
17) Teach someone something you can already do
We’ve all got skills and talents we can pass on to others. For example, speaking another language, playing an instrument, doing handicrafts, cooking, painting, coding, blogging, etc, etc. Why don’t you offer these skills to others? You don’t have t be a master at whatever it is you are teaching – just better than the student.
You might find that people are even willing to pay for your time too, which is an added bonus.
18) Do a digital spring clean
This covers our inboxes, files on our PC/laptops, photos and social media. If you don’t stay on top of this, it’s really easy for our devices to get clogged up with all kinds of crap that we simply don’t need.
Back up your files. Clean your desktop. Delete unwanted photos and old conversations. Organise your files and delete all the files and emails you no longer need. Unsubscribe from those updates we don’t read.
You’ll feel great and possibly a little bit smug once you’ve done this.
19) Learn to cook a new dish
Whether you’re a dab hand in the kitchen or someone who can barely boil an egg, learning how to cook one dish a week can quickly expand your repertoire and culinary skills.
Learning new skills has so many benefits. Check out our post 50 Life Skills For The 21st Century.
20) Organize your office/kitchen/bathroom
Another one of those jobs that is easy to avoid, but take advantage of the fact you’re spending less and do some cleaning and organizing instead. Crank up your favourite tunes as your backing track and you’ll be done before you know it.
Related ~ How To Declutter Your Home & Your Life
21) Take interesting photos with your phone
I’ve always been hopeless at taking photos. But the benefit of most smart phones these days is that you can take a dozen photos in a few seconds, delete the worst ones and use various apps to touch up the remaining ones to produce a pic that is at least passable. Great for bad photographers like myself.
Why not have a crack at some artistic shots using the various in-built features and available apps and see what you come up with? You might even accumulate enough to submit to a stock photo site and earn yourself a bit of passive income.
22) Wash your car
I actually find washing my car quite therapeutic. Yes, I’m weird like that. If it’s a nice day and you’re hooked up to a hose, it doesn’t take long and will save you a few bucks.
23) Re-arrange your room(s)
Sometimes a change is as good as a rest. Move your living room around and create a new vibe in your living space! We did this last week and it’s strange how it can boost your mood. But it just does. Again, maybe that’s a clean freak thing?
24) Write a song
Never tried that? Have a crack at it. I’ve written some in the past and all of them were sh*t, but it was fun doing it and I learned a lot – mainly that I can’t write songs, but hey-ho.
If you’re not musical, try writing lyrics in the form of a poem and work with a friend who can play an instrument. You might be surprised at what you come up with.
Love this one. Sleep in or take a nap. A luxury for many of us, but with some great benefits, especially if followed or preceded by #44. 😉
Related ~ How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
26) Sell your old stuff
We all hoard stuff we don’t need. But it is also a waste to just throw it away. Instead, take an inventory of what you have and see if you can sell it via a garage sale, flea market or if you’re British, a car boot sale. Yes, my American friends, that’s actually a thing. You park your car in a big muddy field with loads of other crazy Brits and then sell your stuff from the boot of your car. You can then use the money to buy other stuff.
Put more simply, you arrive with a car boot-load of old sh*t you don’t need, sell it and buy a whole load of new sh*t you don’t need to replace the old sh*t you arrived with.
It makes no sense really, so just skip to #27.
27) Make a playlist for someone you love
Back in the days before Snapchat, kids used to compile playlists and then make cassette tapes or CDs of them for friends. It’s really nice listening to a playlist put together by someone just for you. It’s thoughtful and might introduce your gf/bf to artists they had never heard before.
28) Do a random act of kindness to a stranger
Buy a homeless person a meal and a coffee. Compliment a stranger on their appearance. Help an elderly lady, gentleman or non-binary with their shopping bags. Whatever is, it won’t cost you anything, but making someone else’s day will make you feel like a million dollars.
29) Play a board game
In our ubiquitously digital world, it’s easy to forget about the simple fun a board game can bring. Monopoly, Risk, Game of Life – all fun and sociable and will give you a break from your phone and the world of social media for a couple of hours of sanity. Or how about chess? Or Checkers? Scrabble anyone?
30) Write a goal list/bucket list/gratitude list
For fun or for real. Think about the things you’ve done, the things you are grateful for in life and the things you do before you exit. It’s humbling and it puts the important things into perspective.
31) Sort out your finances
If you’ve made the decision to start saving, you might as well go the whole way start a household budget. Setting goals and tracking income and expenditure may sound boring, but it is the best way to get your finances under control. Treat your household like a business. Check out the post below to find out how to do it.
Related ~ How To Create A Budget That Works
32) Do a free class
There are many free introductory classes out there. Find them and take advantage. You could do a new one each week without even spending a penny. You might feel like a cheap skate, but hey – take advantage of the system!
33) Take a walk in the forest/beach/hills/desert
Simple pleasures are sometimes the best. Get out for some fresh air on your own or with a friend or partner. Take the opportunity to practise some mindfulness surrounded by nature.
34) Organize your wardrobe
We all need to do it and we never get around to it. Do yourself a favour and sort it out. An organized life starts with an organized wardrobe!
Related ~ How To Declutter Your Home & Your Life
35) Write a thank-you letter
Hardly anyone writes anything more than their signature these days and many barely even manage that. The beauty and art of the hand-written letter is something that is being slowly lost.
And it’s a shame really.
So, think of someone who has really helped you recently and made a good impression – it could be a coach, an employee, a sales assistant or a receptionist at a hotel.
Write them a letter or card expressing your thanks and what you appreciated most about how they helped you.
Receiving this kind of appreciative letter will really make someone’s day and I can guarantee it happens so infrequently that they are bound to remember it for a very long time.
36) Download free stuff
The internet is full of free stuff. Try a site like Free Stuff Finder for starters. Or maybe download our free Monthly Financial Planning Tracker!
37) Make a handmade gift for someone
Learn origami. Design and create a greetings card. Learn to knit and make a sweater. There is nothing like a handmade gift to show someone how much you love someone. Or just make them with your kids for fun.
38) Do some karaoke at home with friends
This can be a total laugh. Crack open a few beers and sing your hearts out like no-one is listening. Although, the neighbours probably are listening and you’ll then receive a visit from the local police in response to the complaint about the noise levels. But, whatever.
39) Go camping
Get back to nature and give yourself a cheap or free weekend break away from home. Or just set up the tent in the garden.
40) Bake a cake
Ok, so you have to buy the ingredients, but the making it part is free. And everyone loves a good cake. Invite some friends over and have a tea party. Or something.
41) Go people watching
Not the pervy kind of watching and no stalking or harassment, please. But sometimes it’s cool to find a seat in a crowded place and watch the world and its people go by. Guessing what people do for a job and what they are thinking can be fun. This article almost makes a science out of it. I had no idea.
42) Listen to a podcast
So many great educational, amusing and thought-provoking podcasts out there these days. Learn stuff and broaden your horizons. There are so many topics to choose from these days, but try these for starters:
43) Discover as much about one thing as you can
Thomas Huxley once said that you should try to learn something about everything and everything about something. These days, we have a tremendous amount of information at our fingertips thanks to the internet. Choose a subject that interests you – it could be anything from French knitting to hedgehogs to conspiracy theories – and read/watch/listen to everything you can find on it until you become an authority.
Then go and impress/bore your friends with all the new knowledge you have acquired.
Related ~ Basic Financial Literacy Quiz
44) Horizontal jogging
Oh, come on – we all do it and don’t tell me you weren’t thinking about that one! It’s good for you and it’s (generally) free too. Enough said on that one.
45) Learn a handicraft
Most people can’t even make a paper aeroplane these days. If you’re one of those people, learn how to do some cool stuff, like this swan below and then you can easily crush idea #37.
46) Make a Pinterest Board
There’s a huge amount of absolute crap on Pinterest, but there is also an extremely large amount of really well-curated boards on some really interesting subjects. Go explore and maybe start your own boards. And remember to follow All Sussed too!
47) Consolidate all your loose change
Down the back of the sofa, behind the curtains, under the foot mats in the car, in the pockets of that jacket you haven’t worn in ages. Loose change can be found all over the place. Why not seek it out and add it to your change jar and then count it up and cash it in.
48) Play with your kids or your dog
Don’t ignore them. It’s simple. It’s fun. It’s free.
49) Go to a free networking event
Check out local websites and apps like Meetup. Meet new people and learn new stuff. Make some potentially useful contacts.
50) Sit and talk with someone
Your friend/spouse/brother/sister/mother/neighbour, etc. It’s good to talk.
So when I started this list, I wasn’t sure that I could even think of 50 things, but having got to 50, I could probably still write another 50!
The point is, there are so many ways you can spend your time productively without spending frivolous amounts of money and without the social crutch of your smart phone.
What cheap or free activities do you enjoy?