When you’re trying to live on a budget then it is essential to cut spending in certain areas. Cutting expenses isn’t always fun but there are lots of things you can do instead of spending money.
Since I still like to enjoy life and have fun, I’ve created a list of 50 fun things to do instead of spending money.
It’s great to have a list you can refer to when feeling bored, so you have something fun to do instead of thinking there is “nothing to do” without spending money.
Hopefully this list of things to do instead of spending money helps you cut down on spending while still enjoying life.
There are tons of fun things to do without spending money! Want to take it a step further? Combine these ideas with a no spend challenge!
Things To Do Instead of Spending Money
- Invite friends over. The best way to spend time and not money? Invite friends over just to hang out and talk with each other! It’s great to catch up with friends and chat about your lives, futures, and fun topics too.
- Attend a free event. If you live in a major city or near a college there are probably free events happening all the time. Look online for community calendars and check at the local library for listings of free events. Check out the local blogs or newspapers in your area for listings of free things to do during the weekends.
- Write a letter to a friend. Receiving real mail is rare these days so it has become extra special. Make someone’s day by writing and mailing a letter. The stamp will cost a minimal amount of money but writing the letter is a fun and free activity.
- Call your mom. No matter how old you are your mom (or other special person in your life) will always love to hear from you. Give her a call and tell her about your life or reminisce about good times. Just remember to say I love you!
- Write a letter to your representative. While this might not be the most “fun” item on the list, but it can be impactful. You might find making a difference in the world makes you feel good. We all have causes we care about. Take the time to write a letter to your representative to voice your opinion on an issue. This stuff matters!
- Read a blog. Want tons of free entertainment? Browse new posts and dig through the archives of a good blog for a few hours. There are thousands of blogs online with archives of free content on any topic you could possible imagine. Go find one you like and read through posts for a while in order to learn something.
- Write a blog post. Creating content can be fun! Write something for your own blog or another existing blog about a topic you are passionate about. You likely have something you can share about a topic that other people need to hear! Don’t have a blog yet? Start a blog NOW. It’s also a great way to earn a side hustle income!
- Organize your things. Go through a room and organize the items in it. Throw away old things you don’t need, straighten up things that are staying, and make things look nice and tidy.
- Organize your photos. Spend a little bit of time looking through your digital photos! Go through your iphoto library and organize everything. You probably have some photos you need to delete. You can take the opportunity to select photos for ordering prints the next time you are spending money.
- De-clutter your house. Work room through to get rid of extra clutter and errant items. Decluttering might sound like a chore, but a clean space can be life-changing and the process can be fun too.
- Sell your stuff on Craigslist. All that stuff you found during organizing and decluttering? Put it up on Craigslist for sale! This is a great free activity because it will actually earn you money that you can use for doing things later!
- Host a yard sale. Anything that doesn’t sell on Craigslist or is too small to be sold there can be offered up in a yard sale. You can advertise for free on sites like Craigslist and Facebook neighborhood groups. You can get rid of clutter and potentially make a few hundred dollars on the venture.
- Find free stuff. If you happen to need items rather than getting rid of them, sign up for curb alert groups and browse Craigslist and Freecycle for free items. You can also check Facebook neighborhood groups where people are trying to get rid of things and doing curb alerts of items they want to give away.
- Rearrange your furniture. Change up your living room by moving furniture around and trying new furniture configurations. Try something new in your space and see if you like it. This can be super fun and invigorating.
- Clean your house. Cleaning your house can make your environment better and save you money. Scrub the bathroom, floors, windows, everything. Make the house the cleanest it’s ever been, or at least in a while.
- Clean your car. Clean out all the junk that accumulates in a car and give it a nice wash inside and out. Make it look like a million bucks and you’ll feel like you have a brand new car without spending any money.
- Do some yard work. Getting outside can improve your mood and doing yard work can make your home more appealing. Cut your grass, trim the shrubs, rake the leaves. Manual labor is free and productive. You’ll be able to enjoy the landscaping for many months or years after!
- Make a to-do list. Making lists is free and useful! Make a list of all the things you need to do and have been putting off or make a list of all the things you want to do in the future. The things you want to do might cost money but making the list doesn’t!
- Tackle a nagging task. Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project) suggests this super tip for happiness. Tackle one of the pesky lingering tasks always on your to-do list and cross it off forever. Doing something you’ve been avoiding might sound boring or painful but it will lead to a boost in happiness.
- Go for a walk or run. Explore your neighborhood or a new part of town by foot. See things from a new perspective and get exercise. Running in different cities can be a fun and free way to see a new place.
- Go for a bike ride. Check out the trails or popular bike routes in your city. Ride your bike in a new area of along your favorite route for some exercise and fresh air.
- Go for a hike. Explore the nature near you by hiking in the woods. Hiking is a fun, free activity and every area has hiking trails even if it’s relatively flat. Look at your nearby parks and national forests for hiking locations.
- Try an at home exercise challenge. Look up an exercise challenge on Pinterest or another site and get to moving! Do the 100 pushups or 100 situps challenge. Or try to do a ton of burpees in a row. It’s free, fun, and challenging!
- Test out a new gym for free. Almost every gym out there offers a free trial period where you can go to the gym without spending any money or signing up for a contract. Test out a new gym and change up your work-out for the week. There are also lots of free workouts available in most communities that you can find and join in.
- Enjoy the sun. One of the nicest things to do on a sunny day is to spend time outside walking or laying out and enjoying the sun. Be sure to use sunscreen while you gloriously bask in the sun for free. This free activity will boost your vitamin D levels and improve your mood and health.
- Gaze at the stars. This free night time activity involves a blanket, no lights, and your eyes. Go for a drive out in the country away from city lights and find a secluded place where you can just lay down and watch the big beautiful universe spin by you.
- Take a nap. Relax for a bit and let your body rest and recover from the daily grind it goes through. Naps as an adult can be glorious! They are also a free activity that your body likely needs as much as anything you could buy.
- Take a bath. Sure water isn’t truly 100% free, but you have to get clean anyway! Take a relaxing warm bath at home, play some music and enjoy the little luxuries.
- Try a new hairstyle. Create a list of hairstyles you would like to try out and attempt one. You can create a Pinterest board of ideas you’d like to try recreating and then test one out for free. It might take a few tries to get right so your time will be well spent creating a new look for yourself.
- Try a new outfit. Chances are you only wear a percentage of your closet and even that is worn in the same way. Try out some new looks with the clothes you already in your close. Take what you have and try new combinations and accessories for a different look. Shop your closet for free!
- Mend your clothes. You most likely have a pile of clothes to mend or hem that you’ll get to “sometime” in the future or things that don’t fit perfectly. Tackle the clothes that need a little TLC and restore your wardrobe to it’s glory days without going out and buying new things.
- Host a clothing swap. Host a party where friends come over and bring items they want to give up to get other items. You’ll all walk away with new clothes and accessories without spending any money. You all save money and get free new items to wear. It’s also super fun to try on new clothes with friends!
- Read a book. Curl up with a good book and you’ll have a free adventure that lasts for hour or days. Hit up your library or Amazon’s free ebooks list. Here’s the top 100 free ebooks on Amazon, and there are plenty of free ebooks out there that you can spend hours enjoying for free.
- Write something. Writing can be fun, creative, cathartic, and best of all it is free. Use your imagination and create a story or draft a blog post or jot down old memories. If you don’t like to write things other people can see, just journal!
- Write a list of reasons not to spend money. Write a list of reasons why you want to save rather and spend and put your future goals in writing. It will motivate you to do all the things on this list rather than spend money!
- Babysit. Sure teens use babysitting as a way to make money, but it’s also a nice gift you can give new parents. If you have a couple in your life with kids, offer to watch their kids for free as a sweet thing to do. It’s a great gift, kind thing to do, and also can be very fun!
- Make a card. Get crafty and use the materials around your house to make a card for an upcoming holiday or just because. You can even stockpile these and use them throughout the year and have a collection of handmade cards to give away during the holidays.
- Make gifts. Christmas is coming and birthdays go year round so there is almost always an occasion for gift giving. Check out easy DIY gift guides for ideas and use what you already have to make cute gifts for friends and family. Need ideas? Read 20 Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas and 33 Money Saving Tips For A Frugal Christmas.
- Make a Pinterest pin. Most of us have a Pinterest account with hundreds of pinned ideas on it. Take the time to make one of those pins with the supplies you already own. You can search Pinterest based on things you already have so you don’t have to spend money.
- Go on a photo scavenger hunt. Take your camera or just your phone and complete a photo scavenger hunt around your area. You can make up your own list of items to find or borrow one from an existing website.
- Take a pantry recipe challenge. Challenge yourself to use what is in your pantry to create a new and exciting dinner for your family. There are many ways to use the items in your pantry that you might not have considered before.
- Create a meal plan. Write out your meals for the next week or month. Getting organized is free and will also save you money on groceries and eating out in the long run. Consider combining the meal plan with your pantry recipe challenge. Food can be a hue expense so meal planning along with budget grocery shopping is the way to go!
- Host a potluck. Want to see friends and keep expenses down? Try making a pantry dish and have others come over to provide the rest of the meal. Potlucks are always a fun and inexpensive way to get together with people.
- Watch a new show. You can check out the free shows on Hulu or most network channel websites. There are even shows and movies on YouTube you can watch as well. Pick a show and watch a new episode or two.
- Host a TV or movie marathon. Invite friends over and collectively pull together a marathon based on shows and movies you already own. Try to base it around a theme or genre for a more cohesive evening.
- Check your finances. Take a few hours and do a thorough review of your finances. Look at your spending levels, adjust your budget, and review your investment choices. Use Personal Capital or Mint.com to get an overview of your finances and make adjustments as necessary.
- Write out your future goals. Nothing is more motivating than dreaming. Take some time to dream about your life and write down the major things you want to achieve. Give yourself the free time to decide what you really want out of life. Figuring out your life goals might just inspire you to make a big change.
- Write a gratitude list. One thing I love to do when I’m feeling restless and wanting to spend/buy/consume is to make a list of what I already have. Listing out what you have and what you are grateful for reminds you that life is wonderful and you already have a lot. It gives you something to do without spending money!
- Volunteer. Volunteering is free except for your time and it’s extremely rewarding. You can find volunteer positions online and select a nonprofit you really want to support in the long term.
- Leave positivity where you go. It’s free to offer a smile or leave a positive note in a library book. It’s free to help someone complete a task or get something they need. You can always look for ways to impart kindness daily among those you cross.
This is a long list of free things to do instead of spending money because there are many options!
If you’re ever wondering what you can do with your time for free, then make sure you refer back to this list!
Life is not all about the money and this list proves there are plenty of things you can do without spending any money.
Mary is the founder of Pennies Not Perfection where she shares her journey to build wealth through online income. She quit her day job in 2021 after she paid off her debt and doubled her 9-5 salary.
Mary's favorite free financial tool is Personal Capital. She uses their free tools to track net worth and work toward to financial freedom.