One of the first things that get cut from every budget is expensive activities, right? Out the door goes all the lattes and visits to the movie theater. But finding fun free things to do turns out to be a lot easier than expected.
It’s important to find free things to do so we don’t go stir-crazy. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. There are tons of things to do instead of spending money, and it’s just a matter of finding them!
So what do what do people do for fun anyway? I’ve compiled a list of 50 free things to do on a no-spend weekend when you’re bored and looking for free activities. Use these to make some plans to go have fun!
If you’re working on completing a no-spend challenge, you can download this worksheet and calendar to help personalize your rules and goals:
Free Things to do on a Saturday Night with Friends
It’s hard to find fun free things to do on a Saturday night with no money, especially when your friends want to go out. Luckily, there are plenty of fun free things to do at home with friends. Why not have them over and try one of these spend free activities?
- Set up a clothing/accessory swap. Find friends that are similar sizes and need a wardrobe update. It’s a fun way to shop without spending a dime, and a great way to clean out your closet at the same time!
- Host a movie night. Watch an old favorite or find a new release on Netflix.
- Host a pantry clean-out potluck with friends. Have everyone create a dish using items they already have in their pantry.
- Have a spa night and do facials, mini massages, and soak your feet to relax. Nothing says bonding like some self-care while you watch reality tv and drink wine.
- Volunteer together. Visiting the animal shelter to help out is one of my favorite things to do on Sundays. Whether it’s the animal shelter, the nursing home, or helping out at a 5k, there’s plenty to do that’s free and can help out others.
- Start or join a running club. Tons of people are working on getting in shape. Put out a call for other runners to start a running club, especially if you’re looking for things to do outside near your house.
- Exchange babysitting services. Watch a friend’s kids in exchange for your date night. Plus, it’ll keep your kids busy, so it’s a win-win-win, amiright?
Fun Free Things to Do Anywhere
See if your town (or a neighboring one) has any cheap things to do, like free events, that you can attend. If you don’t find anything interesting, try one of these instead:
- Face time, text, or call an old friend or family member. It’s a great way to catch up and spend time with those you love without spending money.
- Take the dog for a hike, or your cat for a walk (on a leash). Taking your dog for a hike or to the local dog park can be a fun way to meet new people. Add a cat on a leash? There’s a conversation starter (if your cat will tolerate it!).
- Explore the woods or a new park in town. Depending upon where you live, you can find something fun to do near you at your local park. They often have lots of free activities, from group hikes to nature learning sessions. Check the website for your local parks and recreation department to find a schedule.
- Walk or bike the local nature trails. Our city has a great variety of walking trails. Paved, dirt, even converted train tracks (rail-trails). They wind through the woods and circle local parks. Each is unique and fun in its way.
Free and Fun Things to Do at Home with Kids
Wondering what to do on a Saturday with no money and your kids staring at you in boredom? Don’t worry – there are a ton of ways to keep them busy without spending a dime:
- Tell funny stories or talk about favorite memories. Spend time telling your kids about your childhood, funny anecdotes, and more about their grandparents. They’ll cherish knowing more about everyone and look back on it fondly.
- Flip through photo albums and laugh about the dated outfits and hair. Trust me. I know you have those photos. Might as well get them out there and show your kids how cool you used to be.
- Host a backyard water battle. Have everyone bring their SuperSoakers or use extra sponges to set up some backyard shenanigans.
- Make popsicles. You don’t need fancy popsicle molds, just get creative. Use paper cups, silicone baking dishes, or any sort of mold you use to make a popsicle. Create a recipe or find one on Pinterest using fruit juices, fruit, yogurt, or softened ice cream.
- Camp in the backyard or living room. You don’t even need a tent – just use a rope to drape a sheet and create an instant tent. It’s one of my favorite things to do on a rainy day. Just set up a tent in the living room and have an afternoon movie, complete with popcorn!
- Declutter. Yes, it’s work – but it’s free, and the satisfaction of getting rid of stuff in your house and getting it organized is worth it. Check out the Decluttr app to help you get rid of it!
- Visit elderly neighbors. Bring some cookies, lemonade, or ask if they need help with anything around the house or yard.
- Break out your favorite board games and have a game night. This one works as an excellent indoor activity for adults as well. Have everyone bring their favorite board game and spend the evening talkin’ trash.
- Find your local water fountains or water jets. We have several different parks with water features, including a waterfall and sprays for the kids to play in. My kids could spend hours there! It’s an easy and free thing to do with friends on the weekend as well!
- Find free passes to museums or parks. Museums are some of my favorite places to go for fun. In Pittsburgh, there was a library book that you could check out, and would grant you free admission to the art museum. Some credit card companies offer a free museum day as a reward to all of its cardholders. Your company might even provide passes. Research which options are available to you in your area.
- Visit the pound or a pet store. We like to visit the pound and give the dogs, cats, and bunnies a little bit of extra love. Better yet, sign up to volunteer while you’re there.
- Plan a scavenger hunt. There are several different ways to do this. One is to create clues that lead to each other. Another is to create a list of objects that they have to get pictures. I love the second option, and I’ve seen where they assign points to each item, depending on how hard it is to find. Then you can create a competition with teams, and see who wins!
- Create your own field day challenge at home with the kids. Set up games of HORSE, soccer matches, whatever sports your kids love to play. Make a day of it and hand out homemade medals or old trophies for everyone’s achievements.
- Learn how to make shadow puppets (or teach your kids). Find a book at the library or directions online to create a puppet show with a flashlight.
- Explore the neighborhood at night with your kids. Take flashlights and explore the backyard or area for nighttime animals, sounds, and fun.
- Catch lightning bugs. It’s one of the first things we learn to do as kids that’s also free to do. Pass this age-old tradition down by spending the day painting jars, then the evening catching lightning bugs.
- Teach your kids something you love. Have a hobby you love? A favorite musical instrument? A fun card game? Or can you break boards with your head? Teach your kids how to do it too. They’ll love the interaction and will be proud of their new achievement!
- Play mad libs. Find some free Mad Libs online or write your own story. It’s a fun way to teach your kids about adjectives, adverbs and creative thinking with some hilarious stories.
- Join a summer reading program. Not only do you get to enjoy new stories and far off places, but you can earn rewards as well! Check your local library or search online for companies offering reading programs, such as Pizza Hut.
- Find a stream, skip rocks, and explore. Act like a kid and have fun!
- Create a backyard obstacle course. Use yarn or rope to create obstacles to crawl through or create different stations to test the kids’ endurance.
- Have a dance party. My kids love this – it’s like they’ve seen a unicorn whenever I bust out my dance moves. (I’m hoping it’s because I don’t do it often, so it’s a rarity, versus it being about how bad at it I am anymore.)
- Have a karaoke night. Pull up YouTube, Pandora, or Spotify and find your favorite song (with or without the words).
- Find free local activities. Our parks do free events often, and the suburb we live in hosts events as well. There’s always free stuff to do near you, and it’s just a matter of doing a little research on your local websites.
- Build a couch fort. No explanation needed here.
Free and Fun Things to Do Without Going Anywhere
Sometimes you just want to park it at home, after running around all week. Luckily, there are a ton of great options for some spend free time with the kids, family or friends:
- Give yourself a mani or pedi.
- Find ways to do your favorite hobby for cheap/free. Use supplies you already have or find swap sites to get the supplies for free.
- Plan out your next trip or vacation. Daydream about your next vacation. Then, use some time to research the area, how to get there, and where to find the best deals. Create a vision board or a planner with places and activities for when you’re able to cash flow your vacation.
- Spend the day painting, drawing, or crafting. Dig out your existing supplies from projects you haven’t finished (or started). Use Pinterest for inspiration and create a new piece of art for your house.
- Bake for others. (Or yourself, no judgement.) If you have the supplies in your house, and the love of baking, make your favorite recipes for neighbors, friends, and folks at the nursing home or at church.
- Make cards for far away family members or write them letters. I love getting personal mail and it’s always a great surprise to find in the mailbox.
- Learn a new hobby or skill for free from videos on YouTube. There are so many tutorials on YouTube – from woodworking to playing the guitar to learning how to knit.
- Learn a new language. Find free resources through the Internet or your local library.
Free Date Night Ideas
If you’ve finally bribed or begged a family member or friend into babysitting, and are still wondering what to do on a Saturday night with no money, don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Here are my top suggestions on ways to connect with your significant other without having to shell out tons of cash:
- Give (or ask for) a massage. Turn on some relaxing music, get comfy, and take turns giving shoulder, neck or foot massages.
- Have a coffee date at home. Bust out your fancy sugar and creamer and those awesome cookies you hoard in the cupboard, and have a coffee date. It’s the perfect time to chat and reconnect.
- Hit up free sample day at Costco – just leave your wallet at home! A bit of a weird date? Sure. But you have to give it points for creativity!
- Go on a picnic. Use supplies you already have and find a nice park or beach to relax for a bit.
- Roast marshmallows or have a bonfire. Put your fire pit to use and enjoy some time outside.
- Attend a free movie in the park. Grab a blanket, some popcorn and a drink – these are tons of fun and great for the family!
- Give geocaching a try. Geocaching is a like using a real-life treasure hunt using your GPS. All you have to do is to create a free geocaching membership, use the GPS on your phone, and your off on a treasure hunt. It’s a great way to get some exercise and have fun. To learn more, check out geocaching.com.
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. It’s just a matter of being creative and using things you already have around the house. Whether you’re single, married, and/or have kids, you can find things to do in your area to still have a great time.
Looking for more free fun stuff to do? Here are 75+ (Mostly) Free Things to do with Kids this Weekend. Or, you can learn more about the rules of a no spend challenge or other no spend challenge ideas here.
Have you tried any fun and free no-spend activities? Comment below and let me know which are your favorite!