As a guy that loves sports, I consider myself more than blessed to have 3 boys that are starting to love sports just as much (if not more) than me.
Some of the best times we’ve had on the weekends are playing outside with any sort of ball: baseball, football, kickball. Heck, any ball will work!
For any family that craves family time without going broke, this is some of the best times you can have.
It’s a solid reminder you don’t have to spend money to have a good time.
Obviously, you need to spend money to live, but you can help your cause by creating days when you don’t spend any money at all.
Money-free weekends are the best times to do this since money spent on weekends is often more about entertainment than survival. If you still want to spend a little extra on those weekend excursions, here are some helpful tips on how to make money fast that could help with those expenses!
The idea is to avoid spending money on any unnecessary expenses. That means that while you’ll make mortgage, utility, and debt payments, you’ll avoid discretionary spendings, such as eating out, going to the movies, or attending concerts or sporting events.
It’s something like going on a diet, except you’re doing it with money instead of food. By cutting down on the number of days you spend money, you also cut down on the amount of money you spend.
But in order to do that successfully, you will need to find activities that will keep you busy and engaged and not feel bad about giving up the things that money can buy. Here are 53 of those activities.
Not only will they keep you busy free of charge, but many of them will also enable you to either save or make more money even when you aren’t having a money-free weekend.
Table of Contents
- 1. Attend a Free Concert
- 2. Revisit Your Old Music Collection
- 3. …And Your Old Movie Collection
- 4. And While You’re at It, Watch Your Home Movie Collection
- 5. Clean Out Your Garage (Or Basement, Closet, or Spare Room)
- 6. If You Work at Home, Reorganize Your Office
- 7. Plot a New Future Direction or Two
- 8. Complete at Least One Task You’ve Been Avoiding
- 9. Get Out in Nature and Just Take It In
- 10. Organize Photos and Photo Albums
- 11. Plan Out Your Next Vacation
- 12. Have Family or Friends Over for a Potluck Dinner
- 13. Start Learning a New Skill
- 14. Start Learning a New Language
- 15. Cook a Meal That You Never Have Time to Make
- 16. Do a Detailed Review of Your Retirement Plan
- 17. Karaoke Night at Home
- 18. Make a YouTube Video on a Topic You’re Interested In
- 19. Figure Out a Way to Lower or Eliminate One Recurring Expense
- 20. Plan a Quiet Night-in With Your Significant Other
- 21. Take a Long Walk in Your Own Community
- 22. Take a Long Bike Ride
- 23. Participate in a Physical Activity You’ve Never Tried
- 24. Call or Visit a Friend or Family Member You Haven’t Seen in a Long Time
- 25. Update Your Resume
- 26. Volunteer – There Are Opportunities All Around You
- 27. Put Together a 1,000-Piece Puzzle
- 28. Read a Good Self-Improvement Book
- 29. Start a Vegetable Garden
- 30. Start a Diary or Journal
- 31. Get Some Much Needed Rest
- 32. Start Tracing Your Family Tree
- 33. Start an Exercise Regimen
- 34. Write a Letter to Your Future Self
- 35. Spend Time Helping a Neighbor in Need
- 36. Write Comments on Blogs
- 37. Have a Picnic at the Park
- 38. Attend a Public Meeting
- 39. Hike in a Public Park or Reserve
- 40. Play a Board Game
- 41. Master One Simple Car Repair
- 42. Work on Your Will
- 43. Replace One Bad Habit With a Good Habit
- 44. Do One or More Tasks That Will Make the Rest of Your Week Easier
- 45. Reconnect With Old Business and Work Acquaintances
- 46. Prepare to Have a Garage Sale
- 47. Spend One-On-One Time With Your Kids
- 48. Build a Snow Fort
- 49. Take a Luxurious Bath – The Kind Rich People Do on TV
- 50. Spend Extended Time With Your Pet(s)
- 51. Investigate the History of Your Community at the Library
- 52. Detail Your Car
- 53. Build a Fire and Just Relax in Front of it
1. Attend a Free Concert
Get a copy of one of those free circulation newspapers that covers your area, and see if there are any free concerts being offered locally. A free concert may be given by an upstart local or by more established entertainers who are being sponsored by a local organization. It can be a no-cost afternoon or evening out.
2. Revisit Your Old Music Collection
You probably have a fair amount of old music that you’ve accumulated over the years. You bought it because you liked it back then, but you probably still like it now – maybe even more than the last time you heard it. You may even have enough music to fill several hours.
3. …And Your Old Movie Collection
If you’re like most people, you probably have a big collection of old movies that you haven’t watched since the day you bought them. That happens because once you buy a movie, you know you can watch it any time you want.
If you’re looking for no-cost ways to entertain yourself, get them out of storage and plan to watch them on money-free weekends.
4. And While You’re at It, Watch Your Home Movie Collection
Most people are much better at taking home movies and videos than they are at watching them. But if you’re looking for some no-cost entertainment, spending some part of your weekend watching them can be an uplifting experience of reconnecting with happy times from the past.
Trust me; you can spend hours watching family movies and not even realize it.
5. Clean Out Your Garage (Or Basement, Closet, or Spare Room)
You probably have one or more spaces in your house that have become your storage areas. By cleaning them out, you free up space in your house, giving you more room for better purposes. And trust me, there’s nothing better than decluttering!
A good example is a garage. People sometimes have so much stuff stored in their garage that there’s no room for their cars. You can fix that in a weekend.
6. If You Work at Home, Reorganize Your Office
When you work at home, you probably spend nearly all of your time working on the most important aspects of your job or business.
In the process, your workspace can become an organizational nightmare. Take time on a money-free weekend to reorganize your office. A better organization will likely make you a more productive worker and eventually increase your income.
7. Plot a New Future Direction or Two
A money-free weekend is the perfect time to sit down with your spouse or your family to plan a serious new direction for your future.
Take a look at every area of your life – your health, your faith, your friendships, your employment or business, or even the place where you live.
Set goals for where you want to go in each of those categories, then create strategies and tactics that will make it happen.
8. Complete at Least One Task You’ve Been Avoiding
It’s probably human nature that we spend more time running away from an unpleasant task than it would take to actually do it. But once it’s completed, you no longer have to worry about it.
Identify what that task is, and get it done on a money-free weekend. That will free up your mind for more productive activities, rather than figuring out ways to not do a job that you have been dreading.
9. Get Out in Nature and Just Take It In
This is about taking the saying, “Get out and smell the roses,” literally. Most of us don’t spend much time out in nature, if only because we know it’s there and that we can go to any time we choose.
But choose to do it now. It won’t cost a thing, and if you get out and just take it all in – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the harmony – you just might clear your head in a way you never imagined you could.
My guess is you’ll be back at this activity again and again. It can change your whole outlook on life.
That’s kind of what you want to accomplish on money-free weekends.
10. Organize Photos and Photo Albums
You probably have packages, boxes, and piles of photos stashed somewhere in your house (probably in one of those closets that you’re avoiding cleaning out).
But if you want to participate in an activity that will hold your interest but won’t cost you any money, organizing your photos and photo albums is an outstanding way to do it.
Family movies, videos, and photos are a chronicle of your life, and spending time getting them organized can be a lot of fun.
And if times are a little tough in your household right now, looking at photos of better times could remind you that even better times are in store for your future.
11. Plan Out Your Next Vacation
Just because you can’t spend any money this weekend doesn’t mean you can’t plan for the time when you can. And this can be a real stress reliever in the dead of winter. Check out prices, plans, and photos of where you want to go. Videos are even better.
As you make your plans, the upcoming vacation will become real and provide some relief to your money-free weekend.
12. Have Family or Friends Over for a Potluck Dinner
This should be as informal as possible. Prepare a dish that you can make using only ingredients that you have in your home already. Your guests should do the same.
It won’t matter that you won’t be eating gourmet fare – the fact that you’re getting together with other people is the real payoff. If need be, let your guests know that you are working this into a money-free weekend. They may even start doing the same thing themselves.
13. Start Learning a New Skill
Is there a skill that could improve your life, your job performance, your relationships, or even your golf game? Spend some weekend time learning that new skill.
Plan to learn several skills on your various money-free weekends, and those weekends will literally become life-changing. As far as cost, you can learn a lot just from surfing the web.
There’s plenty of free information that can provide the basis for just about any skill. Once you learn those, take it as far as you like.
14. Start Learning a New Language
This is another form of learning a new skill but extending it to a new language. You can start your study on the web. For example, go to YouTube, and enter “how to learn Spanish,” and you’ll see dozens of videos that can get you started.
No, you’re not likely to master another language on YouTube, but it will get you started free of cost.
15. Cook a Meal That You Never Have Time to Make
Busy schedules take a real toll on meal preparation. This is the reason why more meals are consumed outside the home than ever before and why many at-home meals are prepackaged.
People simply don’t have the time to prepare meals anymore. But a money-free weekend can give you just the time you need to prepare a more complicated meal.
Pick one you ordinarily don’t make, or even a recipe that’s brand-new, and make an adventure out of it.
This has an added dimension if you have a family. Involving everyone in your family in the preparation of a major meal is an excellent family bonding experience. Everyone will be more likely to appreciate a meal that they helped prepare.
16. Do a Detailed Review of Your Retirement Plan
Retirement planning is a passive activity for a lot of people. They participate in a retirement plan at work, set a contribution percentage, make a portfolio allocation, and then let the whole process run on automatic pilot.
But once or twice each year, you should do a detailed review of your retirement plan. That will help you to know if you’re on track to reach your retirement goals or if you need to make changes, either in the number of your contributions or in your portfolio allocation.
Check out one of the several retirement calculators offered by Bankrate.com and other financial sites. They will help you to know if you’re where you need to be for your retirement.
17. Karaoke Night at Home
If you’re too timid to do this at a club or party, doing it at home could be a way to bring out your inner rock star. It’s a lot of fun, and who knows? You might be preparing yourself to do it in front of more people if you get comfortable with it.
18. Make a YouTube Video on a Topic You’re Interested In
Does this sound like something you’d never do? It doesn’t have to be – millions of people are making videos and putting them on YouTube. All you need is a decent digital camera with video capability.
You can create the video, download it on your computer, and then add it to a YouTube account. The video can be about anything you like.
It could be something novel or even downright silly (like a video of your karaoke night at home). Or it could be something more serious, like a how-to video or a recording of your opinion on an important subject. Remember when the Harlem Shake was a big deal? Yeah, we do, too. 🙂
Here’s one good example of how a family can have a good time on a Saturday night:
A video could go viral, which opens up a lot of potential opportunities for you. But even if it doesn’t, you’ll acquire a new skill, one that you can use either for professional or entertainment purposes.
19. Figure Out a Way to Lower or Eliminate One Recurring Expense
One of the best uses of a money-free weekend is to create strategies that will save you money on an ongoing basis. Finding just a few of these expenses over the course of the year can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.
That will be over and above the money that you are not spending on your money-free weekend. Talk about a win-win!
20. Plan a Quiet Night-in With Your Significant Other
A quiet night at home with your significant other can do more for your relationship than an evening packed with high-cost activities around town.
A candlelight dinner, followed by a night of listening to music (or practicing karaoke) can create a bonding experience that more formal dates can’t.
21. Take a Long Walk in Your Own Community
Not only is this completely free and good for your health, but it’s a way to learn more about your community than you ever can by driving through it every day.
When you walk, you will learn about various neighborhoods, buildings, and local attractions in a more intimate way. There is also a greater likelihood you’ll interact with people that you may never meet otherwise.
22. Take a Long Bike Ride
Another activity that is both cost-free and good for your health. It’s also an excellent activity for couples and families. Once again, biking through your community provides the potential to learn more about it and to meet more people that you won’t in the normal course of your life.
23. Participate in a Physical Activity You’ve Never Tried
This could be some form of exercise, like jogging or biking, but it can also be something fun too. Join a local pickup basketball game or volleyball match. You can also try in-line skating or even skateboarding.
The idea is to pick a new activity. The challenge itself will make it a rewarding activity, and one that won’t cost you any money at all.
24. Call or Visit a Friend or Family Member You Haven’t Seen in a Long Time
Do you ever have those moments of guilt over not calling or visiting certain friends and family members? It happens to all of us – we get busy, the time passes, and we never follow through on our good intentions.
But since new activities are one of the best ways to successfully manage money free weekends, making that call or visit can be just what you need to do something productive and enjoyable. It’s also an excellent way of renewing old relationships.
25. Update Your Resume
Most people only do this when they’re facing the threat of a job loss. But updating your resume is one of those activities that’s always best done when everything is calm.
It enables you to make a realistic assessment of your situation, skills, abilities, and goals in a way you can’t when your financial survival is threatened.
26. Volunteer – There Are Opportunities All Around You
There’s a Bible verse that addresses this – “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” – Matthew 9:37. So it is when it comes to volunteer work. There are opportunities to serve all around us – in the community, in churches and synagogues, and even in hospitals. A money-free weekend is the perfect time to step up.
Seeing and serving people in need is also a perfect way to reinforce your decision to have money-free weekends since you’ll be exposed to so many people who are experiencing money problems. Volunteering is also an excellent way to give, apart from giving money.
27. Put Together a 1,000-Piece Puzzle
If you can get past the fact that this can be tedious, it’s a good way to get deep into concentration over something that has nothing to do with the rest of your life. We all need that from time to time.
A 1,000-piece puzzle can keep you busy for as long as you need it to and probably won’t be done in just one weekend. That’s fine – you can complete it in as many money-free weekends as you like.
28. Read a Good Self-Improvement Book
What better way to come out of a money-free weekend than with a fresh perspective on your life? There are plenty of good self-improvement books out there; you just have to choose one that’s most relevant to your own situation.
What’s good is that you can choose a book that focuses on a specific area of your life that you want to change. That challenge can be exhilarating, to say the least.
29. Start a Vegetable Garden
Nothing gives a greater feeling of control over your existence than the ability to grow at least some of your own food. A backyard vegetable garden won’t enable you to feed yourself or your family completely, but seeing the cycle of planting, growing, harvesting, preparing, and eating your own food is downright liberating.
Apart from developing the ability to grow your own food, you may even develop a greater understanding of the importance of healthy eating.
30. Start a Diary or Journal
This can be more beneficial than it sounds on the surface. Writing about your own experiences and feelings has a way of giving you a greater understanding of yourself and of your life.
Thoughts come and go, but writing them out takes time and concentration, and the diary or journal will allow you to go back later and recount earlier times in your life. That can give you insight as to who you are and where you’re at today, as well as provide inspiration on your future direction.
31. Get Some Much Needed Rest
You know all of those weekday mornings when you can’t get out of bed – or those afternoons at work when the 3 o’clock droopies hit hard? Now is your chance to catch up on some much needed rest.
It will prepare you for greater accomplishments in the week ahead.
32. Start Tracing Your Family Tree
You know all those commercials you see for Ancestry.com – admit it, you’re curious, aren’t you? A money-free weekend is the perfect time to get that going.
Start by recording your own family history, as far back as you remember it. Then follow Tip #24 above, and start contacting some long-lost family members to get even more information.
Once you have the names of people in your lineage from two or three generations back, start searching the web to see what other information you get.
And if you run into any roadblocks, you can sign up for Ancestry.com when your money-free weekend is over.
33. Start an Exercise Regimen
Have you been putting off starting an exercise regimen? If you have, a money-free weekend is an ideal time to launch it. Activities that have benefits beyond the money-free weekend are the best kind.
And exercise is a very real investment in your health. You can walk, jog, bike ride, or do exercises on the floor without spending any money.
34. Write a Letter to Your Future Self
Imagine that you are 10, 20, or even 30 years older than you are right now – what advice would you give yourself? It’s not easy, not the least of which is because you aren’t actually older than you are.
But you can get plenty of inspiration from the Internet or from speaking with people who are a decade or two (or more) older than you are. Once again, this blends nicely with Tip #24.
35. Spend Time Helping a Neighbor in Need
There’s probably someone in your neighborhood right now who is facing a struggle. It could be due to health issues, financial problems, a career crisis, or family conflicts. If you know who that person (or family) is, reach out to them and see what you can do to help.
Sometimes what people need most is to know that there’s someone who cares about the problems they’re facing. You can be a shoulder to cry on, a source of advice, or even a contact person for extra help.
36. Write Comments on Blogs
You probably have strong opinions about several topics or even practical advice that you can pass on to people. One of the best ways to do this is by making comments on blog articles.
Find blogs that you are interested in, and read some of the blog articles on topics that you like. Then weigh in with your comments; you may be surprised and excited by some of the responses that you get.
People used to do something similar with “letters to the editor” in newspapers, but now that no one reads newspapers, blogs are the place to write your opinions.
37. Have a Picnic at the Park
In the largely indoor world that we live in today, a picnic is virtually a novelty. But it’s also a lot of fun. Put together a lunch from what you have in your kitchen or pantry, and head to a nearby park, lake, or beach. Bring a football, a Frisbee, or some skates, and keep the fun going for hours. Cost: zero.
38. Attend a Public Meeting
Since 2016 is an election year, there are political events going on all over the place. You can attend one of these, or you can attend a presentation at a local school, college, or even a bookstore.
These events are typically free and quite educational. It’s also a way of getting involved and letting your voice be heard on important issues.
39. Hike in a Public Park or Reserve
This combines a walk with a natural setting but also adds a bit more purpose to the activity. On a hike, you might plan to reach a certain destination or maintain a certain walking speed.
You might also plan to include a trek through a natural area, even over difficult terrain. It’ll be more challenging than a walk around town, but it will also offer better distraction, which increases the entertainment value.
40. Play a Board Game
This is an often overlooked family activity, but it’s one that everyone can participate in. It won’t cost you any money at all, and you won’t even have to leave your home. Pick a game that everyone likes, and have at it. It could go on for hours, making your whole family forget that you’re not spending any money – to say nothing of the family bonding opportunity.
41. Master One Simple Car Repair
Not everyone is into car repairs, but it’s undeniable that most of us feel like we’re taken hostage by a repair shop anytime we need a car repair. But if you can learn even simple repairs, it can be incredibly liberating.
For example, you can rotate the tires on your car in your driveway, free of cost, on your money-free weekend. And if you don’t know how to do it, there’s always YouTube to show you the way.
42. Work on Your Will
In Tip #8, I recommended that you complete at least one task that you’ve been avoiding. Without even knowing you, I’m guessing that preparing your will is at the very top of that task list.
Most of us don’t even want to think about dying, let alone what will be done with our stuff after we’re gone. But it’s a very necessary step that we all need to take, particularly if you have a spouse and/or children.
You won’t be able to find a lawyer to help you prepare your will on the weekend, which flows beautifully with the money-free weekend concept. But you can work out the details of what you want your will to include. Use the Internet to help you determine what is usually included in a will for a person in your situation, and go from there.
43. Replace One Bad Habit With a Good Habit
It’s often said that the only way to get rid of a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. A money-free weekend is a perfect time to make it happen. Choose your worst habit, then think long and hard about a good one to replace it. Once you do, implement the change immediately.
Getting rid of the bad takes time and repetition. You can’t make that happen in one weekend, but you can get the ball rolling by deciding to make a change and then initiating tactics to make it a reality.
44. Do One or More Tasks That Will Make the Rest of Your Week Easier
A lack of time is a constant concern during the workweek. You can invest some time on your money-free weekend figuring out what tasks you can do that will make your work week easier. This is another way of creating benefits from your money-free weekend that will spill over to the rest of your life.
Tasks can include creating daily to-do lists, lining up your daily wardrobe, creating a meal plan for the week, or even preparing weekday lunches from leftovers and other food items that you have in the house.
45. Reconnect With Old Business and Work Acquaintances
Like preparing a resume, this is something most of us do only when threatened by a potential job loss. But it’s best to have business contacts lined up before you need them. That will keep those contacts fresh and avoid a sense that you are begging for mercy after you’ve been laid off.
Just as important, those contacts could be a major source of new opportunities right now, even though you may not be particularly interested in changing jobs. Opportunity has a way of coming around whether we’re ready for it or not.
46. Prepare to Have a Garage Sale
This is an involved process that will probably take several money-free weekends to prepare fully. It also works quite nicely with Tip #5. Cleaning out the storage spaces in the house can produce a wealth of salable items for your garage sale.
But you’ll also need time to clean the items, make any needed repairs, and price them for sale.
The payoff is that the effort made on your money-free weekend can enable you to convert your unused stuff to hundreds of dollars in cash.
47. Spend One-On-One Time With Your Kids
When it comes to family, the emphasis is often on group activities. That is, of course, excellent for family bonding. But just as important in building one-on-one relationships within the family.
You can do this by pairing off on your money-free weekends. That means that each parent spends some time with each child individually. This builds individual relationships within the family, ultimately making the family unit stronger.
It takes time to do this, which is why money-free weekends are a good opportunity.
48. Build a Snow Fort
In the dead of winter, outdoor activities can be limited. But one of the best wintertime activities is building a snow fort. The same snow that makes your morning commute a nightmare can be used for recreational activities.
One of the great things about a snow fort is that you can build it anyway your collective imaginations take you. It can be big or small, square or round, have one room or several, and best of all, everyone in the family can participate.
Build it big enough, and I’m willing to bet that you’ll have a few neighbors joining in.
49. Take a Luxurious Bath – The Kind Rich People Do on TV
The weekday morning routine doesn’t offer time for much more than a quick shower. But a money-free weekend is the perfect time to take a long, luxurious bath. Fill the tub with hot water and a bubble bath, surrounded with candles and burning potpourri, play some quiet music, then relax and enjoy yourself.
50. Spend Extended Time With Your Pet(s)
If you or your family have a particularly busy routine, your pets may get no more than minimal attention in the normal course. On a money-free weekend, you can spend some extra time with your pet, even blending it with other activities on this list.
For example, a walk around town is a natural activity for a dog. So is a hike in the park.
But you can spend extra time with your pets even if you don’t leave the house. Just spending extended periods of time playing your pet’s favorite games, or even just cuddling, can be a serious bonding experience.
Spending time with pets also has emotional benefits that come both from bonding and from immersing yourself in your pet’s world. After all, it’s hard to be angry about anything when you’re enjoying the love of your pet.
51. Investigate the History of Your Community at the Library
We usually tend to think of history as something that happened somewhere else. But history has taken place everywhere, including your own community. Local history can also be the most interesting because it’s directly relevant to your life. For example, it can be exciting to find out who has lived in your home before you did. You may also find buildings in your community that have a long and exciting history.
You can find out a lot just by walking around town. When you find interesting buildings or important previous residents, you can head to the library and do some additional research. You may be surprised to find that some pretty important people and events have passed through your humble little town.
52. Detail Your Car
Sure, you can take your car to a car wash that will do that for anywhere from $20 to $100, but there’s something relaxing about cleaning your own car. You can probably do it using supplies you have around the house and for a lot less than $100. It can also be a family activity, and since many hands do light work, you’ll get the job done faster.
53. Build a Fire and Just Relax in Front of it
Fire is the most basic and necessary invention of civilization, and it can be downright hypnotic to sit in front of one and watch it burn and dance while providing you with warmth.
Just as was the case in the olden days, you and your family and friends can sit in front of a fireplace or a backyard fire pit and chat, sing, or simply bond by the fire.
It’s where people ended each day for thousands of years, and it works just as well today.
So there you have it: 53 ideas to help fill your money-free weekends. It should be enough to cover several weekends each year. Just make sure that you don’t spend any money on any of the activities – because that’s the whole point!