31 Free and Fun Things to Do This MonthFree Stuff
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The American mindset is hopelessly, mindlessly, frivalously consumeristic. We make an extra dollar, and our immediate inclination is to spend it. We get a little free time, and we revert to money-spending activities to fill that free time. From $5 lattes to $20 movie tickets to $100 theme park tickets, we’re addicted to spending money! No wonder the average American has no savings!
Every penny counts, readers. If I save or make $50, I don’t only see $50; I see $400 in 30 years. And even when I see $5, I don’t see just $5; I see $40 in 30 years. Because that’s how money works when wisely invested.
So you have a couple hours to yourself. What do you do? Go to Starbucks and spend $5 on a latte?
There’s nothing wrong with spending money on coffee, but if that’s a mindless habit, it would be financially wise to take pause and see if there are some things that you can do with your free time that are equally enjoyable — but at no cost.
Well here, my readers, is a list of things you can do so that you can invest that extra $5 (my advice on how to invest it is here) rather than spend it while still enjoying life at the same time — and a couple will actually put money in your pocket! So without further ado, here are 31 Ways to Enjoy Life Without Spending a Dime:
1. Check out Craigslist’s free section to see if anything catches your eye. ?
So I just went to the Los Angeles free section on Craigslist and, in addition to the standard VHS tapes and rotten couches, I see on the first page see a free car, cat, and beaver. See? There’s something for everybody! What hidden treasures will you find in your city?
Sorry to state the obvious, but this needs to be said! Chances are very good that you need to read more. So go grab one of those books laying around your house collecting dust and put it to good use!
Did you know that the average American CEO reads 4-5 books per month while the average American adult only reads 4-5 books per year? I’m not saying that you need to 10x your reading, but I am saying that there is something about exposing yourself to great ideas and stories that just might increase your chances in life.
Bonus: put your reading list on Goodreads so you can keep track of what books you’ve read or want to read and see what your friends are reading. You can even add me as a friend and check out what I’m reading after you sign up here!
3. Or Listen to an Audiobook.
Audiobooks are a godsend on long car rides or even your daily commute. On our recent honeymoon, my wife and I had a blast listening to Amy Poehler’s Yes Please while driving through the Spanish countryside.
4. Find your tribe.
No matter where you are, there are people out there who you don’t know but who share the same interests as you do. You just need to find them!
Check out meetup.com to find meetups in your area for people interested in the same things that you are! It could be cooking or puppies or business or investing or really anything you can think of. And if you can’t find a meetup you’re interested in, why not start one yourself?
Ah, yes. That pinnacle of relaxation, favorite of young and old. Sleep feels great, and best of all, it’s free!
6. Take a walk.
Look outside. Is it nice out? Go take a walk! Get some fresh air! And even if it’s crummy out, you can still take some laps around your house or apartment to get your blood pumping.
7. Take a bath.
When was the last time you took a nice, long, warm relaxing bath? Doing so will relax your muscles and take you to another place.
8. Find a fun way to make some extra money online.
What better way to spend some free time than by generating some extra income from your phone or computer?
All of us have great thoughts or ideas that are worthy of sharing with the world, but the problem is that only 0.1% of people actually bother to put them down on paper (or type them out on a blog).
10. Do some gardening.
This can be very relaxing and is also a great form of exercise.
If you don’t have a garden at home, or if you’ve grown bored with it, you can find a local community garden in your area here.
11. Organize your house.
Did you know that when your surroundings are less cluttered, you feel less stress and can be more productive? And that the very act of decluttering and organizing is extremely satisfying for many people? It’s true!
12. Call a friend or relative you haven’t spoken with in a while.
It’s sad that in this day of technological advancement, we have no problem spending hours a day scrolling through Facebook or Instagram on our phones but never use those same phones to take 20 minutes to talk to an old friend or aunt once in a while. So why not take a little time and make someone’s day?
13. Better yet, hop in your car and visit that friend or relative you haven’t spoken with in a while.
150 years ago, people would’ve thought it unthinkable that today we can hop in a car and get to the next county in less than an hour. Take advantage of the fact that you exist in the 21st century and get some face time for those who are important to you.
14. Make money playing games on your phone or computer.
A schoolboy’s dream. But yes, it’s possible! We’re not talking Playstation games here, but rather online web-based games. No, you won’t become a millionaire, but doesn’t having fun making a few bucks beat splurging on coffee or ice cream in your free time?
Did you know that stretching increases the production of endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters in the brain that can elevate your mood and alleviate pain and depression? It’s true! So why not go through a gentle stretching routine in your spare time?
16. Track your net worth.
This is fun. No, really, it is. Personal Capital makes it really fun and easy to track your net worth so you know in real-time exactly how much you owe and how much you own.
Meditation reduces stress, improves concentration, increases self-awareness, slows aging, and has numerous other health benefits. Rather than always being on the go in your free time, why not take some time for yourself to be still and breathe?
Because why not?
19. Look up free events in your city and maybe check one out.
There are so many cool free things to see around me, I’m not sure why I ever spend money on entertainment! For example, today in my town, I can visit a haunted forest, discover a “sunken city”, or scoot down a 1,000-foot slide. Those are things I’ve never done before, but they’re right here in my town for free!
20. Set up affirmation reminders on your phone.
Affirmations are sentences aimed to influence our mental framework and worldview toward positivity and success. Top of the top performers in every field imaginable — from entertainers like Oprah Winfrey and Jim Carrey to athletes like Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali — have all used affirmations to carry them to greatness.
21. Go paperless.
This sounds like a chore, but if you have the right tools, it’s really fun once you get going scanning and organizing all your old paper docs and all. All it takes is an app, like Evernote.
22. Play a board game.
If you haven’t played a board game recently, you really need to treat yourself to one. They are so much fun! My wife and I busted out the old classic Monopoly laying around the house and have reaped hours of enjoyment for free!
Your friends aren’t into board games? No problem! There are tons of board game meetups across the country at meetup.com. Check them out here!
23. Look up yummy recipes.
Not only will you save money by being able to eat delicious food at a fraction of the price you would pay at a restaurant, but you will be able to impress your friends at your next pot luck.
24. Go to the library. Ah, yes. The library.
You pay taxes, right? And some of those taxes go to support your local library. Might as well make good use of your tax dollars!
Check out my article 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Local Library.
25. Organize photos on your phone or computer.
You know you have to do it eventually. Why not now? By clearing up space on your phone or computer, you can have more space for cool apps (see # 8) and going paperless (see # 21).
26. Volunteer your time for a good cause.
So often we think of free time as “me time.” And that’s fine. But in everyone’s life, there should be time set aside to give back to our community. Whatever your interests and skills are — interacting with children, playing guitar, building things, etc. — there is somewhere local where you can volunteer your time and talents for the greater good.
27. Learn new do-it-yourself hacks on Youtube.
Warning: learning DIY projects can be seriously addicting. But guess what? They’re good for your noggin — because often they force you to use a part of your brain that you typically don’t — and your checkbook — because instead of paying a plumber or electrician $50/hr, you’re doing it yourself!
28. While you’re on Youtube, learn a magic trick.
You’re never too old for a good magic trick, and you will be beloved by young and old alike. So spend 20 minutes perfecting your technique and sleight of hand, and prepare to win the affection of all the children in your life.
Watch 7 Simple Magic Tricks with HouseHold Items.
29. Watch a documentary.
Sure, Game of Thrones is fun, but why not try something about the real world for a change? It may change your perspective on an issue or at least give you conversation fodder to look smart at your next party or networking event.
30. Do a crossword puzzle.
Yes, playing Candy Crush is fun, but it’s also very basic and not all that mentally stretching. On the other hand, researchers from U.C. Berkeley found that doing crossword puzzles helps ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia by chipping away at the “brain plaque” that accumulates over our lives. But here’s a warning: crossword puzzles can be seriously addicting!
31. Google your name, be shocked at how much it knows about you, and then figure out how to get your name off.
It’s scary how much Google knows about you. Having a reputable online presence is good — you want your LinkedIn on there as well as your personal or professional websites. But your personal address, date of birth, or children’s names? Not so much. So go ahead, Google yourself, and see what comes up! Prepare to be amused — or shocked.
Do you have anything you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments below, and if I like it, I’ll add it to this list and credit you and your blog in my post!
Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.