Free Things to Do During a No Spend Challenge

No spend challenge - thrifty ideas

It’s the summer and with wedding preparations well under way I have found that my finances have taken a bit of a beating, almost to the the point where I almost expect the ATM to laugh at me when I try and take any money out. Consequently, I’ve been on a no spend challenge for a while (more on that in a later post) to avoid wasting money on frivolous nonsense. Over the last few weeks I have been looking at ideas to do things that make me happy, but don’t involve spending money…

Here’s a list of most of the things that I either have done, or plan to do over the summer holidays.

Visit the park
Organise a pot luck with your friends
Exercise – walk, jog, hike, cycle, do yoga or Pilates, follow YouTube exercise tutorials
Go the the library
Have a movie night at home
Declutter, clean, tidy and organise
Donate items to your local charity shops
Read – books, magazines, blogs
Start or update a bullet journal
Check out free places in your local town or city – go to the library, art galleries and museums, see if there are any festivals or concerts taking place.
Cook or bake new recipes using items already in your cupboards
Have a board games night or complete a difficult jigsaw puzzle
Get crafty – draw, paint, sketch, write, blog, scrapbook, sew, knit, collage… Anything to get your creative juices flowing!
Be a test subject at a beauty salon
Build your social media profiles – tweet, pin, stumble, follow, flip
Have a homemade spa day
Learn a new skill via YouTube tutorials
Focus on relaxation – relax, meditate, pray, breathe
Update your C.V.
Wash your make-up brushes or organise your make-up
Create lists – exercise plans, meal plans, budget plans, bucket lists, positive affirmations
Teach yourself the basics of a new language
Have young children? Build a fort with them in the living room!
Handwrite a letter to an old friend
Call someone that you haven’t spoken to for a while
Visit a friend that you haven’t seen for a while
If it’s a nice evening, go outside a watch the sunset or the stars
Make a new playlist
Repurpose old furniture
Think of some random acts of kindness that you can do for others… And do them!
Listen to a podcast or watch a Ted Talk
Have a nap!

What about you guys? Any ideas for no spend activities?

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104 thoughts on “Free Things to Do During a No Spend Challenge

  1. Watch reruns or box sets on tv!
    My ultimate is to sit and read in peace!
    But right now I’m writing… So that’s a good way to not spend!!!!

  2. Yes, I have a suggestion for something to do that’s free. A concert at home where you don’t have to go out.

    Since I’ve become a fan of Grace VanderWaal, I have been attending a lot of free concerts sitting in front of my desktop with a stereo headset on. She was 12 when she won America’s Got Talent in 2016. She’s now 13 and has a mini album out with her first five original songs on it. She was signed by Columbia records and her first mini album was called “Pefectly Imperfect” and reached #9 on the national charts in the United States and #11 in Canada. She has also won the Radio Disney Music Awards for Best New Artist and is pending for the Teen Choice Awards. She was nominated for Best Female Artist on the Acoustic Music Awards but didn’t win that one.

    This is my You Tube concert. I start with the four songs she wrote and performed while competing on AGT. I don’t watch TV, so I never saw the original performances. I learned about Grace by accident a couple of months ago and have only watched her on YouTube.
    28.17 minutes

    The next video is her performance on stage in front of a huge audience. She sings her first original song and a new one called Moonlight.

    8 minutes and 46 seconds.

    Next, I watch her first professional video where she sings her fifth original song, Moonlight.

    about 3 minutes

    Last, I listen to her first album on VEVO’s You Tube channel

    16:48 minutes

    And if you want to leave YouTube to read the original lyrics, they are available online. Once you read the lyrics of the songs this 12-year old wrote, it makes this YouTube concert experience even better.

  3. That’s a great list ! My friends and I are always trying to figure out something to do that a) doesn’t break the bank, and b) won’t make us fat. Problem solved ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. What a fantastic list! Being a bit of a frugalista myself, I already do quite a few of these – the library is one of my favourite places (and free kindle books) I refuse to pay to go to the gym and I’m glad I’m not a drinker – coffee is so much cheaper than alcohol!

  5. Great list! Though I misread at one point and thought ‘Have young children’ was a suggestion, rather than a question, haha. Certianly a cheap way to enjoy yourself!

    Also, ‘Update your C.V.’ whilst a good utilisation of time, I wouldn’t necessarily list it as something that makes me happy, but maybe that’s just me! Now I think about it, I can imagine it does carry a sense of achievement.

    Great list, Suzie ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Shaun! Noooooo, having young children is the worst thing for the bank balance! I updated my CV recently – it needed to be done, and it was a lot more stressful than I expected!

  6. Awesome list! Adding on to free museums, if you have a Bank of America card there’s the “Museums on Us” monthly promotion for each first weekend :).

    I hear ya about the wedding planning financial drain haha just got married at the end of April and my bank account has been so much healthier since then. Best of luck in the months leading up!

    • Haha! I’m looking forward to the wedding being over so I can get back to normal haha! I’m in the UK so Bank of America cards don’t apply here but Im sure my American readers will find that useful!

      • Oh yeah I felt so much less stress after the wedding was over haha I only thought about giving up altogether a few…dozen times. My husband is so patient for putting up with me through that. ;D Ah darn too bad you can’t take advantage of that over there, but I’ve also kept my Uni ID haha and that’s been helpful in getting discounts too.

  7. The cook/bake and the library sound like good ideas. I remember once, before I was married, my finances took a bit of a hammering and my bank manager wasted to know if I was thinking to reverting to the old system of banking i.e. I bank with them and not the other way round. The going out to places, even if they are free is worth thinking about in that – are they within walking distance? if no, do I need to take public transport, or drive there? and if that is so, it means spending money on fares / petrol.

  8. I need this list! Having just spent all my money on a new place to live, I’m going to be making the most of every free thing I can do this summer. Do you think it’s OK to build a fort in the living room even if I don’t have children?

  9. Yes, we do many of these due to our lifestyle. Ted Talks are brilliant and most very insightful. Languages now that’s where the fun begins!! Not easy though I still try, and still greeted with a smile which at the end of the day, that’s the important thing. If I had my time over again, elopement, whoops did I write that ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Great ideas Suzanne! My favourite free thing to do that makes me happy is to dance round like a loon to 80s radio stations…I used to do it to the real thing 30 years ago and pretending I’m in my own Madonna concert still makes me happy…

  11. What a terrific list, Suzie. I’m having a hard time to think of any additions, but last weekend after our grandsons went home from a sleepover with us, it was really hot, and we took a dip in their kiddie pool. It was fun and refreshing. And free!

  12. Great ideas. It is Canada’s 150 birthday this year so Parks Canada is opening up all the parks for FREE this year to everyone. People could also check their area to see if art galleries or museums have a pay what you can night of a free night one a month.

  13. I read the title of this post and thought maybe you and my husband are in cahoots! He wants to go on a no-spend spree. So this came at the perfect time. I just read a blog post about free and adventurous things to do around Minneapolis, so I think I need to take that particular suggestion to heart. And a potluck is also a good idea! So many good recipes I’ve pinned lately, I’m sure I could find a few to get some friends together. Thanks for the ideas!

  14. Suzie in the consumerist world we live in, it is important to break away from all the impulses to spend. I think we need to understand that there are many free things to do which can be enjoyed. A hike in the woods, or stroll in park, catching up with friend at your home are good ways we all can do towards this aim.

  15. Had to laugh at the suggestion of cooking or baking something at home from what was already in your cupboards. hahahaha Lord, I’d starve for sure! As it is only me at home, I tend to buy only what I need, and nothing more, right now. Hmmmm, let’s see…..I “think” I have some pancake mix in the cabinet. ๐Ÿ˜€ Another great, relatively free bit of entertainment, is just taking a nice drive somewhere with the stereo blasting out one’s favorite music.

  16. These are all great ideas, which will come in handy now that I bought a new car and will have no money ever again. I usually fill the time running, reading, writing, or watching baseball. None of that costs me anything. Well, I guess the cable TV that provides the baseball costs money, but this is the 21st century and everyone has TV. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Man! I need to do a few of these as we’ve seriously spanked our bank account this summer. Fort building here we come (and that’s just me & my husband!)

  18. I’m just off out to the park with my kids with a picnic. No spending for us. We do an awful lot of activities that involve a special effort not to spend – because we have to with little kids that constantly want stuff!

  19. We love outdoor activities here. Some of our favorite here are – take a hike in a local park, build a campfire and gather with family/friends, take a walk around the neighborhood, engage in pick-up games of frisbee, basketball, or soccer, go fishing, and read a book in our favorite outdoor quiet space. Thanks for a great post!

  20. That’s a pretty good list. I recently taught my husband to play setback. We now spend our evenings after dinner playing. Pretty soon, I might be able to take him on the road and go to a friends house for a game of cards. And that can be a lot of fun!

  21. I am trying SO HARD not to spend money but my 12 year old has turned into an asking machine. In the past 2 weeks, we’ve outfitted his bedroom with Ikea, bought him his $130 tennis shoes he wanted, got him new school clothes and had to get both my sons school supplies. Meanwhile, I last bought myself shoes, a year ago….at Target. I have a bra that is so tattered, it threatens to split in the middle. So yeah, I’m doing great at not spending money on me. It’s this Ask Monster that is putting a dent in my finances. Thank you for this post!

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