When money is tight it doesn’t mean you have to sit at home and do nothing all weekend. There are loads of way to celebrate your free time without spending a dime. Here are 27 of some of the best things to do on a money-free weekend.
1. Walk through a farmers’ market.
One of the best parts about a farmers’ market is tasting the free samples. Try cheeses, coffee, local fruits, and freshly baked bread. A good farmers’ market features a little of everything so you can pretty much make a meal out of taking a walk, plus you get to meet your neighbors and local small business owners.
2. Visit a park.
Grab a frisbee or bring a book and plan for some time outside. Most parks are free so visit an old favorite or explore a park you haven’t been to before. Go to a playground or find a quiet place to read. The weather doesn’t have to be perfect, either. Some of the best memories of the park are made when you take a walk in the snow or a light rain.
3. Explore a museum.
Some museums are free all the time, like the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. Others have free tickets for students or veterans. Sometimes museums have a free day once a month or free events that are open to everyone. See what’s going on in your area this weekend.
4. Go to the library.
Check out books, magazines, and movies, and pop in on any free programs that may be going on. Some libraries loan board games and sporting equipment, too, so don’t rule out that trip to the park just because you think you won’t have anything to do there.
5. Have a picnic.
Whether it’s in the backyard, on the beach, or at a park, make sandwiches and snacks from groceries you already have in the cupboard and enjoy a meal al fresco. Keep it simple with a bagged lunch eaten by hand or make it a special occasion with a picnic basket, silverware, wine glasses, and a soft blanket.
6. Host a game night.
Pull some board games out of the closet and make sure your card games have complete decks, then invite your friends over for a night of fun. Drinks and snacks can be minimal and you can even ask your guests to bring their own if you don’t have much food on hand. The important part is having fun.
7. Camp out in the backyard.
Setting up a tent in the backyard is a simple way to change up the routine and turn a regular Saturday night into an adventure. It’s great for families as well as couples. If you don’t have a yard, a blanket fort with sleeping bags in the living room is fun, too.
8. Go to the beach.
Check out the beach options in your area. Some require paying for parking but may have free parking within walking distance. Bring your towel and some sunscreen and get ready to catch a wave or relax on the sand.
9. Go hiking.
A hike is an easy way to get active and spend some time in nature. It doesn’t have to be a trek up a mountain. Many areas have access to wooded areas and fields with trails for all fitness levels.
10. Work out.
Most gyms offer a free day pass or a free class for first-timers to try out the facilities. Whether you have a regular routine or you want to try something new, see what’s available in your area. Or use a free app like the 7 Minute Workout Challenge either in your home or at a park to get that workout in without having to go to the gym.
11. Go for a bike ride.
Ride with a destination in mind or wander around looking for an adventure. TrailLink has maps of safe biking paths and your local parks department provides maps of bike routes, too. See if there’s a group ride in your area and meet some new cycling friends.
12. Go on a walking tour.
Many cities have self-guided walking tours that you can find online or in books (books that are free from the library, of course!). Ghost tours are popular, as well of tours of recognizable sites if a movie or tv show was filmed nearby.
13. Visit historical sites.
Learn a little history about your area. Old homes and other buildings as well as parks where battles or other historically significant activities took place are often either free or have free programs.
14. Work on a jigsaw puzzle.
Maybe it’s a puzzle you haven’t done in many years or maybe someone gave it to you as a gift and you never got around to it. Clear off a table and dedicate your weekend to finishing a puzzle.
15. Build a Lego set.
Recapture the joy you had as a child by pulling out one of your old Lego sets, or one of your kids’ sets, and getting to work. The satisfying “click” of the bricks leads to a real sense of accomplishment.
16. Binge watch a new series.
If there’s a tv series that everyone’s talking about and you haven’t seen yet, why not set aside a few hours one weekend to watch it? You’re already paying for a Netflix or Hulu subscription so use it! If you don’t want to dedicate the time to an entire series, have a double feature of two movies you’ve been meaning to watch.
17. Try a new recipe.
From baking a cake to roasting a chicken, you may already have the ingredients on hand to try something new. Clean out the freezer and rummage through the cupboards, then use a website like SuperCook to search for recipes by ingredient. You may discover a new favorite dish! If cooking isn’t your favorite activity, invent a new cocktail or mocktail.
18. Redecorate a room.
Sometimes a room feels a little stale and all that’s needed is to clean up some clutter and rearrange the furniture. Or really roll up your sleeves and paint some furniture or an accent wall. Change some framed photos and artwork from one room to another for an easy instant facelift, too. Then try out your new room with a binge watch or a game night!
19. Work on craft projects.
If you have a tendency to buy arts and craft supplies but never get around to using them, use them! Set aside a few hours to create something new or to finally finish a project you started ages ago. Keep it for yourself or give it away as a gift.
20. Have some complimentary drinks.
Bars, breweries, and wine shops often have promotions that include a free tasting. It’s a great way to find a new favorite drink and experience the latest hot spot without having to spend any money.
21. Find free food.
If you’ve been purchasing food and drinks from your favorite apps, check your points balance. You may be able to score a free snack. Starbucks, Panera, and 7-Eleven are all great apps for collecting points toward free treats.
22. Host a potluck dinner.
You provide a cozy space to eat, with all the plates, utensils, and glasses you’ll need, and ask your friends to bring dishes and drinks to share. Everyone brings a little love and friendship.
23. Volunteer in your community.
Spend some time helping others. Food pantries and diaper banks may need a hand in the warehouse. There are often park cleanups and trail maintenance parties held on weekends. Think about how you’d like to pitch in and see what your community needs. You’ll feel great about giving back.
24. Try plogging.
Plogging is simply going for a walk or a run with a plastic bag in hand so you can pick up litter along the way. Enjoy some time in the great outdoors and leave it a little cleaner than you found it. If you have kids or are with friends, have a competition to see who can fill their bag first.
25. Go on a scavenger hunt.
Where will the clues take you? On an adventure. Create your own scavenger hunt for family members and friends to solve with a website like Scavenger-Hunt.org, or use the Geocaching app to search for treasures that someone else has left behind.
26. Babysit for parents who need a break.
If you know any parents, offer to babysit their kids for a few hours while they go out to dinner, see a movie, or even take a nap. You’ll be helping out friends in need and having some fun with the kids. You might even make some new little friends.
27. Take a free course.
Whether you want to learn a new language from an app like Duolingo or you want to submerse yourself in a subject with university-level offerings from edX or Coursera, there are thousands of opportunities to learn online. If you want to meet people and have engaging classroom discussions, check out your local community centers and colleges to see what they offer for free programs.