Although I have a real love-hate relationship with no spend weekends, I try to make them happen every other weekend (if not more often).
Don’t get me wrong, I love going out to eat or shopping for new clothes as much as the next person. I just don’t like spending that kind of money often and, to be honest, I can’t really afford to do things like that regularly, either.
I’m a stay-at-home mom and my husband works full time. If I were bringing in more money than I am with my side hustles, I wouldn’t even consider a no spend weekend. But as it currently stands, they are necessary a lot of the time.
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One upside is that it seems like more often than not, my husband volunteers to work on Saturdays. Sure, we miss having him around since he already worked Monday-Friday, but when Saturday feels like a weekday, it makes a no spend weekend a lot easier.
On some of our no spend weekends, we’ll splurge a little and buy something really inexpensive so we have something to do, but we always make sure this item can be reused on future no spend weekends.
Here are some of the things we like to do on the weekends that cost little to nothing:
Go for a walk
Sounds boring, huh? Well, it really doesn’t have to be. Go explore a part of town you’ve never walked through or check out your local nature trail or walkway. You may have driven by these places before, but walking through them gives you a whole new perspective and you’re sure to see things you’ve never noticed before.
Start a bonfire
This is pretty inexpensive if you already have firewood, scrap wood or live in any sort of wooded area. It doesn’t have to be a big fire, even a small one can lead to a relaxing evening chatting with your hubby or an exciting afternoon with the kids.
Visit friends and family
If you don’t want to use the gas to visit them, invite them to your house. Catch up on what’s going on in their lives and enjoy their conversation and company.
Create a bucket list
What are some things you’ve always wanted to do? Write them all down! All your dreams, goals and the things you want to see or do before you die.
Revisit old memories
Do you have a box full of old pictures and home videos? Maybe hundreds (or thousands, like me) of pictures from years passed on your computer? Go for a walk down memory lane this weekend.
Organize your home
This is something I hate jumping into, but I always feel so satisfied once I’m done. Few things make me happier than having an organized home.
You don’t have to tackle the entire house this weekend, just one room is fine. Leave the other rooms for another no spend weekend!
Read a book
I think most of us have books somewhere in our home that we have either never read or haven’t read in a while. If you don’t have any floating around, take a trip to your local library. You can kick back and read there or get a library card for free and bring a new book home.
Do a puzzle
Prior to this last Christmas, I didn’t own a puzzle. Had I wanted to partake in this activity, I would have needed to spend money. Today that is no longer the case as I was gifted one.
It seemed so random when I opened it. I haven’t put together a puzzle since I was a teenager! I’m glad I have it now, though, as it gives me an extra free activity to do on a no spend weekend.
Watch your favorite movie
Is there a movie you love but haven’t watched in years? Throw in the DVD or find it on Netflix. Take a seat on the couch, relax, and enjoy.
You may not be a professional photographer, but chances are you have a camera. Get out and snap some pictures of your kids, your pets, or just a location that’s special to you. A few years from now, when you’re looking through old photographs, you’ll be glad you did.
Rearrange your living room
I hate leaving my living room set up the same way for more than a couple months! I need change. Even if you haven’t moved your furniture in years, take a step back and try to look at it from a new perspective. Grab a tape measure and get creative!
Deep clean your house
Another chore I don’t much enjoy but am always happy to have done. Shampoo your carpet, clean out your kitchen cabinets, wash your walls, throw your curtains in the washing machine. You’ll feel so much better after completing cleaning tasks you don’t normally do!
Make money online
Check out websites like Swagbucks that pay you to do things like watch videos, participate in consumer research, and use their search engine.
Or take surveys at sites like Panel Place, Opinion World, and Global Test Market. These companies pay you money to share your opinion with them.
Wash your vehicle
Not only can you do it for free at home (even if you don’t have soap specifically for vehicles, dish soap works just as well), if you normally take your car to truck to a car wash, you’re saving money while killing time!
Change your vehicle’s oil
Definitely something everyone should learn how to do if they haven’t been taught already.
Not to worry. Thanks to YouTube, learning is really easy. I’ll admit it does cost money to change your oil, but it’s a necessary task to keep your vehicle running well. Although it isn’t free, it must be done and doing it at home is cheaper than paying someone else to do it.
Create a budget
A budget is important in every household. If you haven’t created one yet, sit down and get to it. If you already have one, revisit it and make some changes to improve it.
Organize your computer
I like to turn on some music when I do this one! And I always love how much easier my computer is to navigate once this task is complete.
Check your credit score
Everyone should know their credit score. Luckily, you can check it for free using Credit Sesame!
Make a meal plan
A meal plan is a great way to save money on your grocery bill. Instead of buying what you think you’ll eat next week, you can buy what you know you’ll eat next week.
You can also make things fun by finding new recipes on Pinterest!
Walk your dog
Get Fido out of the house!
Even if you walk him every day, you can make it more interesting for both of you by taking him somewhere you’ve never walked him before. The change in scenery will make this task feel less like a chore and your pooch will greatly enjoy experiencing the new sights, sounds, and smells.
Train your dog
This used to be a go-to for me all the time when my dog was younger. Now that he’s an old man who knows all the basic commands and 15+ tricks, I don’t push him to learn more.
It’s definitely something I always enjoyed, though. Training him was always my favorite way to bond with him.
Bathe your dog
I’m honestly always surprised when I hear someone tell me they take their Labrador or German Shepherd to the groomer.
There’s literally nothing a groomer does to most breeds that you can’t do at home. Taking them into a groomer is all about convenience for most people.
Granted, if I owned a Poodle or a Bichon Frise or something, I’d take it to the groomer regularly. There’s just too much that goes into grooming them for me to think I could attempt it and do a good job. But with my Lab mix grooming is pretty simple.
Some brushing, some bathing. I clean his ears, trim his nails and cut the fur between the pads on his feet (it cuts down on how much dirt and mud he drags in!). It’s time consuming and a bit messy, yes, but it’s nearly free.
Watch other people’s dogs
While we’re on the topic of dogs (they are basically my passion), have you ever considered dogsitting?
Rover.com is a great place to find dog sitters in your area. It’s also a great place to sign up to be a dog sitter.
I board dogs in my own home using Rover and couldn’t be happier with the process.
Check out my profile if you need a little inspiration creating your own.
Print and clip coupons
This is a great way to spend your time! Give back to your community, it won’t cost you a penny. You can volunteer at tons of places, from your local library to the animal shelter in town.
Go to the park
And actually play! Or don’t, just relax. The choice is yours.
Start writing your will
It doesn’t sound like much fun at all, but it’s a smart and responsible choice to make.
Learn to crochet
Unless you already have them laying around, the supplies might cost you a couple of bucks. But the hook is reusable and the yarn is pretty cheap. You don’t need to spend extra money to learn how to do it, either. There are tons of tutorials on YouTube.
Start a blog
Although I recommend spending a little money on hosting when you start a blog, it isn’t mandatory. You can start a blog on WordPress, Blogger or Squarespace for free anytime.
Get the blood pumping! Go for a jog, lift some weights, try a little yoga. Consider throwing together a real exercise routine and plan while you’re at it!
Perfect your paper airplane
When was the last time you made a paper airplane? It was probably years ago!
Give it a go this weekend! Try perfecting the sad little plane you used to make as a kid.
Do some yard work
Another one of those “I don’t wanna” activities that you end up being proud of once it’s all done. I did this last weekend because the weather was amazing and, although I wasn’t overly motivated to do it at first, the better my yard started to look, the happier I became!
Start a journal
A journal is a great way to let all of your ideas and feelings out. I’ve always found it therapeutic.
Sell your stuff
Make money on your no spend weekend! Have a yard sale or post some old stuff you don’t use anymore on Craigslist.
Throw a frisbee, blow bubbles, play a game of catch. There are so many things you can do in your own backyard or at the park down the street.
Learn a new card game
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a bunch of card games you’ve collected over the years, but never attempted to play. If you don’t, a simple deck of playing cards will do. There are a bunch of games you can learn to play with the help of the internet.
Help out someone in need
Does the little old lady down the street need help with her yard work? Is the single mom your acquaintances with struggling to find a babysitter? Do a good deed and help out someone who is in need.
Sit back, relax and turn on Netflix
Binge watch a new show! Definitely not the most productive of ideas, but an easy way to pass the time.
Some of my favorite shows on Netflix right now: The OA, The Office, Parks and Recreation and Hell on Wheels.
Attempt to draw
I’ve always been absolutely horrible at drawing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t attempt it now and then. It’s a good way to pass the time and check, yet again, whether or not I have any talent with a pencil and paper.
Ride a bike
If you already own a bike, this is an easy and free go to. Hop on your bike and go for a ride through town!
Catch up on the news
When was the last time you read a paper or watched the local news? Heck, you can even hop online and read news articles. It seems like these days everyone is getting their “news” from Facebook. Confirm some of these stories you’ve seen in your feed or find out what’s going on in your community!
Go camping in your yard
Even if you don’t own camping supplies, you can easily do this for free if the weather is nice. In the summer when the low is still in the 70’s, all you need to camp out under the stars is a blanket. Add a little fire and it could be the perfect way to change up your normally routine evenings.
Not only is it a nice, inexpensive time killer, but few things taste better than home baked goods!
Putting in a little time meal prepping on the weekends can make your weekdays so much easier and less stressful!
Family movie night
Throw in a favorite child-friendly movie and watch it together as a family.
As someone who isn’t a fan of kids shows or movies (like, at all), I still enjoy doing this on occasion. I may not enjoy what’s on the TV, but it’s spending that time with my husband and daughter that really matters to me.
Have a picnic
Pack up some sandwiches, chips, fruit and veggies and head to the park. Throw down a blanket or find a picnic table and enjoy lunch outside with those you love the most.
Purge the garage
It’s easy to throw stuff into the garage and forget about it for months or years. This weekend, tackle that cluttered garage of yours! Decide what you want to keep, throw away, donate and sell. Organize the garage as you put away everything you’re keeping.
You can pull out Chutes and Ladders and play a board game as a family or make it an adult game night with some Cards Against Humanity and invite your closest friends over. Tell them to bring the drinks and you’ll supply the snacks. Then just pull something out of the cabinet for everyone to enjoy!
Get lost on the internet
Head over to Wikipedia, YouTube or your favorite blog and get lost online. This happens to me all the time, unintentionally. I start out looking for information about an actor on Wikipedia and the next thing I know it’s been over an hour and I’m reading about serial killers! I can never understand how it happens when all I was looking for was the answer to one little question.
If you already have the gear and a license, this is a really inexpensive way to spend a Saturday. Depending on where you live, you may have to spend a little money on gas, but if you catch a few fish for dinner, it might be worth it!
Start a garden
There’s so much that goes into starting a garden that you could probably spend a good chunk of time prepping for it without spending a penny. First, you have to choose a location, then you have to remove all plant life and debris from that area. Nutrients may need to be added (which would cost a little money), the soil needs to be turned. If you plan it right and start your plants from seed, this garden could save you a whole lot of money on fruits and veggies.
Just like drawing, poetry isn’t for everyone. Definitely something worth attempting, though. You never know unless you try!
There’s something almost magical about sitting outside staring up at the stars. If you’re lucky enough to live in a more rural area, you can do this right outside your front door.
Build a fort
It can be as simple as a few blankets and chairs in the living room, or as crazy as collecting scrap wood and building something in the yard. Either way, it’ll be fun to tap into your inner child and your actual child will have a ball.
At home pedicure & manicure
I always have supplies on hand to give myself a pedicure and manicure. Truth be told, I’ve only paid to get a manicure once in my entire life.
It’s a simple way to pass the time and you’ll love the way your nails look after.
Use a gift certificate or gift card
Every Christmas my husband and I are gifted at least one (if not multiple) gift certificates and gift cards. Sometimes we go six months to a year without remembering to use them! If you have any kicking around, pull them out and treat yourself on someone else’s dime during your no spend weekend!
Do you regularly participate in no spend weekends or will this be your first time? Have you ever tried these activities during no spend weekends? Which ones are your favorite?