Whenever we’re looking to have fun, we usually try to balance the level of entertainment with the price tag in hopes of finding a sweet spot. Generally, the better the experience, the more it costs.
This way of thinking limits our possibilities. Price doesn’t need to determine how much fun we can have. There are countless ways to have fun that won’t cost you a cent. Whether it’s in the comfort of your own home, your community or even a national park, these 10 activities will keep you entertained while keeping money in your pocket.
Most attractions across the country have been closed to the public for months and will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future. The silver lining is that many cultural destinations have opened their (virtual) doors for free.
Through live streams and online showings, you can experience all these attractions have to offer right from the comfort of your home. Enjoy a performance from the Metropolitan Opera or watch the penguins at the Mystic Aquarium.
Play a Game
There’s never been a better time to crack open the toy closet and dust off some of those old board games. We promise they’ll be just as fun as you remember. Bring out a family favorite or teach your kids how to play one of the classics from your childhood.
But don’t stop there. With the help of services such as Zoom and FaceTime, you can play virtual games with friends and family members you can’t see in person. It’s a great way to reconnect with loved ones while having fun at the same time.
Utilize Your Local Library
Speaking of libraries, if you haven’t checked in with yours lately, stop in for visit if it’s open or head to their website. Libraries offer so much more than just books – although there’s nothing quite like digging into a great read – including movies, newspapers and magazines. Many also have access to databases like ancestry.com, allowing you to spend the day researching your family tree. You may be able to rent an item or access a service even if the building itself is closed.
Last but certainly not least, local libraries commonly host events and classes for people of all ages. See if these are offered online if they’re not currently being held in-person.
Filling your free time while also helping people in need makes this option twice as nice. (Not to mention that volunteering has been found to improve your mood.)
Donating your time doesn’t have to feel like a chore. If you think outside the box, you can find an opportunity that you find rewarding and fun. Research organizations that align with your interests. Animal lover? Volunteer to walk the dogs at your local shelter. Great chef? Lend your skills to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Or you could simply put together a home-cooked meal for a friend, family member or neighbor you know could use it.
It doesn’t cost a cent to walk out your front door. And there’s nothing like fresh air and sunshine to boost your mood. Have a family picnic or go for a sunset walk along the water.
And don’t think you have to go far. Your property may be more than enough to host, say, a backyard camp out. Be as creative as you can. Think about bringing activities you normally do in the house outdoors. Maybe it’s a movie night under the stars or a candlelit dinner.
While you’re in the great outdoors, why not try seeing as much of it as possible? Going on a hike or bicycle ride is a great way to get some exercise (which has been proven to boost mood) and see sights you may not have noticed before.
Do a little research to find a local bike trail or path. There’s likely one closer than you think. And depending where you live, there could be an exceptional hiking trail nearby you’ve never conquered. If all else fails, you can always go for a walk around town or a leisurely bike ride around the neighborhood.
Learn a New Skill
Have you ever wanted to learn how to knit? Or juggle? Or pick up a useful career skill like excelling at Excel? There’s never been a better time to add some bullet points to your resume.
Even better is that many of these skills can be learned for free. YouTube alone has tutorials on just about everything (just make sure it’s from a reliable source.) But there are a host of other online resources such as SkillShare.com. You might also want to check with your local community college or other learning institutions to see what kind of free classes they offer.
Cleaning and getting organized may not sound like your idea of a good time. But what if you could turn it into a moneymaking endeavor? Going through your old stuff will almost always result in finding things of value that you simply don’t use anymore (or never did). With the amount of marketplace apps available today, selling your stuff has never been easier.
Even if you don’t make money from cleaning your spaces, the task certainly will make your life easier. Getting organized can reduce stress and make you more efficient. Maybe this includes jobs like rearranging furniture or hanging that piece of art that you’ve been putting off. You might not be jumping at the chance to do some housework but your future self will be pleased.
When it comes to food, what’s on the plate is usually what we look forward to the most. But the actual act of cooking a meal can be just as much fun as chowing down on your meal – especially when you include others in the process.
Look around your house to see what ingredients you have available and plan your meal accordingly. Once you’re set on an idea, bring in guests to help. This is a great opportunity to get kids involved and have them learn about new foods, kitchen safety and measurements in a fun and interactive way.
You can make the activity extra special with a theme: Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc. Or maybe pretend you’re at your favorite restaurant and print menus with the different courses.
When it comes to creating something out of nothing, don’t stop at the kitchen. There’s never a bad time to be crafty.
Search your home for supplies. Maybe you have a bunch of art supplies, maybe you don’t. But you’d be surprised at just how creative you can get. Everyday household items can turn into your abode’s newest statement piece, like a humble garden house that transforms into a decorative wreath.
Wondering what to do with the money you saved? Learn how AAA’s Deposit Programs can help you put that money to good use.