One of the best things that seems to be coming out of the changes in the economy is that we are finding creative ways to entertain ourselves these days without spending a lot of money. We are cutting back on expenditures for tickets to events and finding new ways to keep our minds and bodies active without spending that kind of cash. You’ve probably already noticed yourself doing this to some extent but perhaps you are wondering if there are other free things that you aren’t doing for fun that you could be doing.
Well, wonder no longer. Here is a quick look at 25 fun ways that you could spend your free time while keeping it free:
1. Learn a game for the park. Just going to the park is a really great way to spend your free time but you can enhance it even more by learning a game that you can play yourself. Pick up juggling or hackey sack or just grab a tennis ball and start playing catch with yourself. You should be able to find something lying around your house that you can take to the park and play with.
2. Participate in flash mobs. Cities throughout the nation are home to flash mob events. These are events in which a huge group of people come into an area and do something noticeable. The actual activity varies – they may all start singing or dancing at once or they may participate in a pillow fight or they may dress in costume (like Where’s Waldo or as zombies). You can join up with them, have some laughs, meet some new people and not spend a dime. (photo source)
3. Play cards. There are tons of different card games out there that you can play alone, with a partner or with a group of people. Get online and find out the instructions to new games. Challenge yourself to master one new card game each week or month. You’ll find that you can really get into this, especially if you’re playing with the right people, and you don’t have to spend much money (if any at all). Most people already have a deck of cards lying around but it’s a cheap enough investment if you don’t.
4. Take photographs. As long as you already have a digital camera and you don’t feel the compulsive need to print out your pictures, you don’t have to spend any money to enjoy this art. Head out to anywhere with your camera and challenge yourself to have a great time noticing the details through the lens of your device.
5. Read something that interests you. Most people find it fun to read something. Whether it’s novels or non-fiction or comic books or just websites, there is probably something that you could sit down and read for hours and not be bored by. Make it a point to turn off all of the other distractions and immerse yourself in the written word so that you really enjoy the time that you spend on this activity. Make use of local libraries or bookstores that don’t mind you hanging out for awhile to keep this activity free.
6. Draw / color/ paint. Remember when you were younger and you could spend hours making art? Unless you’re an artist now, you may have stopped having that kind of fun. Start up again! You don’t have to be “good at art” to have a good time being creative. You also don’t have to spend money on fancy pencils and pads of art paper. Instead, find the scrap paper that’s lying around your house, pick up whatever pens or old paint you might have and just have a good time.
7. Make out with someone. Can you remember back to the days before you were in adult relationships, when it was really fun just to make out with someone for hours and hours? Want to know a secret? That’s still fun. We have a lot of hang-ups about sexuality as adults but if you get back to the basics and find someone in your life that’s really great to just make out with, you could find yourself having a great time without spending a cent.
8. Check out the free events in your area. There are always free things happening even in the smallest of cities. Check your local newspapers and blogs for announcements about free art openings, free outdoor movie screenings, free lectures at schools and libraries, free book readings. If you open your mind to trying to find events in the area that are free, you’ll find that there’s a lot to do and a lot to learn.
9. Host a comedy night at your house. Gather together the bravest group of friends that you’ve got and invite them over to come perform stand-up comedy for each other at your place. Make it a BYOB so you don’t have to spend money on drinks for them. If you’re not the comedy kind, you can do improv karaoke or some other form of performance art with your friends and family members. It’s a guaranteed good time if you’ve got laidback friends who can laugh at themselves.
10. Spend time making a wish list. One of the best things that you can do to have fun with yourself is to daydream. The best part about that is that it doesn’t ever cost you anything at all. Sit down and spend some time making a wish list of all of the things that you’d like to have or do in your life. Make a list of goals – places to travel someday, achievements you’d like to make, things you want to change about yourself. Or make a list of silly stuff like what you’d do with a billion dollars or who you wish you could have met in a past life. You may find that this inspires you to do more with your life. Or you may just find it fun to daydream for awhile all by yourself.
11. Go hiking. Get your blood pumping by finding a spot near you where you can hike. If you don’t have the right equipment for hiking and you don’t want to spend the money on that equipment, just go for regular walks. There is a lot to see when you get out of your car or off of your bike and just slow down. The physical exercise is good for you but it’s the chance to really enjoy your surroundings for a change that makes walking fun.
12. People watch. One of the greatest things to do when you don’t have any money to spend is to go sit somewhere where there are a lot of people and just watch them. People are really fascinating. You’ll overhear things and witness things that will totally surprise you. And you’ll have stories to tell about the experience when you get together with friends and family. Of course, don’t be creepy about watching other people. Do it appropriately in places where it’s normal to just hang out, places like town squares and public parks and shopping districts.
13. Dance. Dance in the streets. Dance at free community dance events. Dance with friends. Dance in the privacy of your own home. You don’t have to have rhythm or special shoes to be able to shake your body and feel good. Loosen up and have fun with it!
14. Make up stories. It is fun to stretch our imaginations by creating stories in our minds. If you are the writer type then you can get a pen and paper and craft these tales on the page. If not, consider getting one or more people together regularly to tell stories aloud to each other. Tell your own stories or work on stories together. Don’t worry about getting the words exactly right. Instead, get the ideas flowing and enjoy watching your own mind expand with new thoughts.
15. Resume an old sport or hobby that you gave up. You probably already have the equipment lying around your home so it’s not going to cost anything to do this. Find your basketball and go shoot some hoops. Pick up your flute and give it a blow. Even if there was a reason that you gave up the pursuit of this old dream, you can still have fun with it as a new hobby now and then.
16. Count the stars. Find a place where you can see the stars and settle in for a few hours. Look up and see if you can count all of the stars in the sky. Do this with someone else and you’ll find yourself remembering old times, talking about big ideas or simply marveling at the expanse of the sky. See if you can start identifying constellations or picking out planets. Be wowed by the world that surrounds you.
17. Build a sandcastle or a snowman. Put your body to work making something out of the nature that surrounds you. If you don’t live near sand or snow, figure out a way to get your hands dirty with creation (even making big designs with rocks is an option). You’ll find yourself staying busy for free, creating something cool and having a good time making your temporary mark on the world around you.
18. Have long, relaxed conversations. So much of the conversing that we do these days is in the form of short exchanges of information or complaints about our concerns and fears. Take the time to really engage in long conversations about relaxed topics with the people that you enjoy speaking with. Get together for a cup of coffee in your living room and talk about your favorite memories, your biggest dreams, your silliest stories.
19. Have a picnic in your living room. You can picnic in front of the TV with your loved ones and make a special, fun night out of something pretty normal. Find all of the finger food that you currently have in your home and make a smorgasbord out of them. Scan the channels or pop in a DVD that everyone loves and settle in together with blankets and your snacks. By making magic out of the things that you do every day, you spice up life without spending anything extra.
20. Offer to help people with stuff. Do you cringe whenever your friends and family members ask you to help them run errands, move into a new place or host a yard sale? If so, you might want to change your attitude. These are things that you can do with someone that give you quality time with that person, keeping you busy without spending any money. If you focus on the good stuff – the fact that a yard sale allows you to have great conversations with your neighbors, for example – then you will find that you actually enjoy donating your free time to assisting others with their tasks. Building the community around you is a great way to improve your use of your free time.
21. Make the most of museums and zoos. Many museums and zoos open their doors to you for free on certain days of the week or month. These can be really fun places so give them a chance!
22. Attend an open house. Buying a home is a really expensive thing to do but there’s nothing costly about just seeing what’s out there. Sometimes it’s neat to see the places that are near you or the places in neighborhoods where you would like to live. Find open houses that interest you and check them out by yourself or with someone you’d like to daydream about home-buying with.
23. Find free music. It’s always fun to see live music but most people who are being frugal don’t get the chance to do this since concert tickets are so expensive these days. If you broaden your musical horizons, you may find that there is a lot of great free music at local bars and even at parks near you (especially during the warmer months when the parks are filled with festivals).
24. Do all the free things that you can only do in the season that you’re in. This means that you should have a snowball fight in the winter, jump into puddles in the rainy season and take advantage of the chance to (safely) suntan when it’s warm outside. Celebrate the seasons without spending lots of money.
25. Play with kids. If you don’t have kids then volunteer to babysit the kids of someone that you do know. They’ll teach you how to play all sorts of games that don’t cost you any cash. In fact, you might have noticed that a lot of the things on this list are things that you used to do as a kid. There’s a reason for that – kids know how to have fun without spending any money. Take a lesson from the little ones around you and start enjoying your life a little bit more!