100 Free Things to Do to Tame Your Entertainment Budget


In case your leisure spending is inflicting you to go over finances, it’s time to make some adjustments.

Don’t fear. We’re not suggesting you lock your self in the home and do nothing however eat, sleep and pay payments — in any case, we did that for a few years. Thanks COVID.

Nonetheless, with inflation consuming by our budgets sooner than a rabbit with a carrot, we’ve simply acquired to search out different methods to get pleasure from ourselves that received’t put us within the crimson.

We’ve compiled an inventory of 100 free issues to do to maintain boredom at bay however that additionally received’t hold you from shopping for groceries or gasoline. That’s proper, free. Incorporate a few of these strategies in your life, and have enjoyable with out feeling responsible about your funds.

Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Free Issues to Do Outdoor

1. Go to a park. Get some contemporary air and take a stroll by a close-by park. Convey your four-legged good friend alongside too.

2. Go to the farmers market. The farmers market is usually a excellent spot to purchase inexpensive produce, however you don’t must spend a dime to get pleasure from your journey. Browse native artisans’ items, style samples and take heed to reside music.

3. Take a hike. Benefit from the well being advantages of mountain climbing whereas immersed in nature.

4. Go biking. Seize your set of wheels and take off on a path. For those who desire a extra city setting, bike across the metropolis to take a look at public murals or notable landmarks.

5. Go tenting. Swapping a lodge room for a campground is one option to slash trip prices. For those who can’t discover a free campsite in your space, flip your yard into one. Borrow a tent from a good friend in the event you don’t have already got one.

6. Spend time across the fireplace pit. Get pleasure from this conventional tenting exercise, even in the event you don’t plan to sleep outside. Roast marshmallows for s’mores or crack open a beer as you sit across the flames.

7. Plan a picnic. Pack a lunch and a few snacks and head to a park for a “eating out” expertise you received’t must pay for on the finish.

8. Fly a kite. You can also make your individual kite with easy supplies like paper, plastic straws and string. Discover a tutorial on-line to stroll you thru the steps. As soon as the climate is breezy, take your DIY kite outdoors and let it soar.

9. Get a exercise with outside health gear. Invite your favourite exercise buddy alongside for camaraderie.

Many cities provide free actions within the parks in the course of the summer season. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Free Issues to Do Round City

10. Tour historic websites. In case your metropolis has a historic society, attain out for tips about locations to go.

11. Go to the library. They’ve a lot extra to supply than books. You could possibly borrow devices, instruments, cake pans, museum passes and different distinctive objects out of your public library. Or persist with the normal and curl up with a juicy novel. Use that library card without cost streaming providers for motion pictures, music and extra.

12. Go to a museum without cost. The best method is to tour a grant-funded museum that accepts donations however doesn’t cost admission. In any other case, test admissions particulars for alternatives without cost entry. Some museums provide free admission to native residents as soon as a month. See in case your native library will allow you to reserve free passes. One other option to rating free admission is in the course of the annual Free Museum Day held nationwide in September.

13. Go window buying. For those who can resist the urge to tug out your debit card, window buying is usually a enjoyable option to spend time. Take a look at a store you’ve by no means been inside or browse the newest choices at your favourite retailer.

14. Have a photoshoot. Select a picturesque spot round city and snap away.

15. Attend an area pageant. Take a look at your metropolis’s calendar of occasions to see what you may get into that doesn’t require an entry price. Eventbrite is one other outlet to search out upcoming free occasions. For those who assume you’ll be tempted to spend from distributors, go away your cash at residence.

16. See a film within the park. Get pleasure from a basic movie beneath the celebs. Examine your metropolis’s parks and recreation division to see if they provide this.

17. Hear a live performance on the park. Much like motion pictures within the park, many cities host outside live shows when the climate is sweet. You could not hear main headliners, however you received’t must pay live performance venue costs.

18. Attend a program at a spot of worship. Church buildings, synagogues and temples often maintain packages which might be open to the group at massive — together with live shows, performs and public audio system.

19. Attend a program at a group faculty. Expertise a public lecture, an creator e book signing or different free occasion at your native junior faculty.

20. Discover a brand new neighborhood. Enterprise out into part of city you’ve by no means explored earlier than. You could uncover a brand new favourite a part of your metropolis.

21. Cease by the customer middle. Fake to be a vacationer and get schooled on all of the factors of curiosity your metropolis has to supply.

22. Attend a grand opening. Get the inside track on soon-to-open outlets and eateries out of your chamber of commerce, the enterprise part of your native newspaper or your go-to native enterprise weblog. Get pleasure from free samples and different giveaways.

23. Be a part of an area meetup. Meetup.com is a good way to attach with group members. Browse by class to search out teams with a shared curiosity. Some occasions value cash, however you may also discover some which might be free.

A young man looks through a telescope.
St. Petersburg Faculty Planetarium and Observatory in St. Petersburg, Florida, provides two free planetarium exhibits on Friday nights when the faculty is in session. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Free Issues to Do on a Date

24. Have a penny date. The premise of a penny date is to make use of coin flips to dictate the place you’ll spend your date. Choose a place to begin after which flip a penny. If it lands heads up, you flip proper on the nook. Tails up, you flip left. You stick with it for a predetermined variety of flips — and hope you don’t find yourself someplace bizarre. It’s actually extra in regards to the journey than the vacation spot.

25. Prepare dinner at residence. Showcase your culinary abilities (or recipe-following abilities) and impress your date with a home-cooked meal. Or use this chance to get within the kitchen and cook dinner collectively.

26. Go for a stroll on the seashore. This romantic cliché is absolutely a good way to spend time along with your vital different. Get pleasure from putting surroundings and dialog with out having to take out your pockets as soon as.

27. Gaze up on the stars. Discover a good, personal spot on a transparent evening and spend the night stargazing. Attempt to spot constellations and be looking out for capturing stars. To convey the enjoyable indoors, see if a close-by faculty provides free planetarium exhibits.

28. Chuckle ‘til it hurts at a comedy present. Some comedy golf equipment host free exhibits in the course of the week. You most likely received’t hear from any well-known comedians, however you may try native up-and-coming expertise.

29. Play a recreation of pool. Discover a lounge or dive bar that has pool tables and rack ‘em up. If billiards aren’t your factor, attempt darts, cornhole or another recreation.

30. Check out a brand new fashion of dance. Care to study swing dancing, line dancing or salsa? Native dance organizations or golf equipment might provide free classes to the general public.

31. Take a tour of a vineyard or brewery. Rating samples of free booze whereas studying the historical past of your native vineyard or brewery and the method of how your favourite drinks are made.

32. Go to open mic evening. Impress your date along with your singing abilities or fake to be secret judges as everybody else performs. Simply be sure that the venue doesn’t have a canopy cost.

33. Attend a poetry slam. Maintain a watch out for poetry slam occasions at your neighborhood espresso store, wine bar or indie bookstore. The matters the performers cowl could also be a springboard for additional dialogue along with your date.

34. Attend an artwork gallery opening. Many galleries open their doorways to the general public without cost for brand new displays and artist talks.

35. See a free film screening. Is there a film popping out that you simply’d like to see along with your vital different? Snag free tickets with one in every of these 3 ways to attend advance film screenings.

A young woman does a yoga headstand.
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Free Issues to Do on Your Personal

36. Follow yoga. No must pay a category price. Take a look at a DVD from the library, watch a video on YouTube or just go off reminiscence for a satisfying stretch session.

37. Study one thing new on-line. YouTube is a good useful resource to study a brand new music on the guitar, a brand new recipe, a brand new dance routine or no matter you’ve been itching to attempt.

38. Get artsy. Spend time tapping into your interior artist. With provides so simple as pencil and paper, you may let the creativity move.

39. Volunteer. Expertise the private perks of volunteering while you usher at an area theater or snuggle with puppies at an animal shelter.

40. Meet up with family members. Video chat along with your outdated faculty roommate or give your grandma a name. You don’t must reside shut to attach and luxuriate in time collectively.

41. Browse a bookstore. Attend an creator discuss or simply cross time searching the stacks.

42. Take time to work on a private purpose. Whether or not you wish to prepare for a half-marathon or plan a highway journey in an outdated VW camper, mapping out an formidable purpose might be extra enjoyable than placing within the work to attain it.

43. Give your self a DIY spa remedy. Acquired coconut oil, coarse sugar and a pair drops of a necessary oil available? Then you have got the makings of a spa remedy you may get pleasure from at residence.

44. Get pleasure from a free magnificence session. Get primped up with out hiring a make-up artist. Magnificence outlets like Sephora and Ulta and malls like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s provide temporary, complimentary consultations with magnificence stylists.

45. Attend an Apple workshop. Study all you are able to do in your iPhone or Mac. The Apple retailer often hosts free workshops to learn to profit from varied options, like picture and video.

46. Take a digital course  by the Microsoft retailer. Microsoft hosts free occasions the place you may study to code, go to one other nation from the consolation of your sofa, or tour a significant museum.

47. Check out a brand new recipe. Ask your mother for her well-known meatloaf recipe or search on-line for directions on find out how to make a dish you’ve been dying to check out.

Two females take a roadtrip together.
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Free Issues to Do With Your BFF

48. Plan a day journey. Take a day exploring someplace shut sufficient that you simply’re not driving without end however far sufficient that it appears like a break from residence. Don’t neglect to pack snacks for the automotive.

49. Attend an open home. It doesn’t matter in the event you’re not out there to purchase. Open homes is usually a nice likelihood to get residence decor ideas and probably some home-baked cookies.

50. Get to know one another higher with dialog playing cards. What three issues would your greatest good friend take if stranded on a abandoned island? Study all types of random issues — and reasonably than going out and shopping for a set of playing cards, make your individual utilizing strategies from the web.

51. Strive on loopy outfits on the mall. Have enjoyable selecting articles of clothes your good friend would by no means put on willingly. Then be sport when your good friend picks a ridiculous outfit for you. You’ll want to get picture proof of all of it.

52. Go tailgating. You don’t want tickets to your favourite sporting occasion to benefit from the environment. Convey a transportable grill, snacks and a cooler stuffed with beer, and stake out within the parking zone with a radio to maintain up with the large recreation.

53. Go folks watching. Generally the seemingly mundane might be actually attention-grabbing. Discover an important spot with a bunch of foot visitors and spend time along with your BFF observing people who stroll by. Bonus factors to whoever can create the funniest backstory for the characters you see.

54. Swap homes for a weekend. For those who and your bestie reside in numerous cities, swap properties for an inexpensive trip. Watch a film from their DVD assortment. Make dinner with no matter’s within the pantry. Get pleasure from exploring their hometown.

Two women dance in the street.
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Free Issues to Do with a Group

55. Set up a potluck. Skip the restaurant. Collect a gaggle of mates collectively and make the meals yourselves. Make it enjoyable by selecting a theme, like a rustic delicacies, vegetarian/vegan, dishes that embody cheese or household favorites.

56. Host a online game competitors. Maintain rating, after all.

57. Host a film marathon. Have every good friend select a favourite movie and are available collectively for an final film evening. Alternatively, you could possibly binge a TV sequence that you simply all get pleasure from on Netflix.

58. Play sports activities. Collect sufficient gamers and head to your native park for a recreation of basketball, flag soccer, soccer or the game of your selecting.

59. Kind a e book membership. Join with fellow bookworms and take turns internet hosting month-to-month conferences.

60. Go dancing with the women. Sorry guys, however golf equipment will typically provide free admission to ladies or host a weekly women evening. Shopping for drinks is at all times non-compulsory, however you may sweat it out on the dance flooring with out spending a dime.

61. Have a jam session. Get your musically inclined mates collectively to kind an impromptu band.

62. Throw a block get together. Have every neighbor chip in to convey meals, placed on some music and let the dialog move.

A father pushes his daughter on a swing.
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Free Issues to Do With Children

63. Go to the playground. This go-to exercise for households is one younger youngsters by no means appear to become bored with. Change issues up a bit by attempting out playgrounds in a unique a part of city.

64. Go to an indoor playplace. Don’t let unhealthy climate dampen the enjoyable. Go to the indoor play space at your native mall or IKEA. Quick meals chains like McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A have play areas too, however they’re actually for purchasers who order meals.

65. Get artful. You’ll find limitless arts and craft concepts on-line — simply don’t sweat about issues ending up Pinterest excellent. Don’t stress about provides both. Random home goods like bathroom paper rolls and sponges might be repurposed to make one thing artistic.

66. Have a film evening. Film tickets and snacks for your complete household can drain the finances. Pop some popcorn at residence as an alternative and select a enjoyable film to observe. Borrow DVDs out of your library so that you’re not seeing the identical movie for the fifteenth time.

67. Have a recreation evening. Escape the board video games and a deck of playing cards. Invite mates over so as to add some contemporary video games to the match.

68. Sing karaoke or have a lip sync battle. You don’t have a flowery karaoke machine to hitch in on this enjoyable. Seek for instrumental variations of your favourite songs on YouTube and pull up the lyrics. Or go along with the common model of the music and do your greatest lip sync impersonations of the singer.

69. Attend a college efficiency. Even when your youngsters aren’t in jazz band or the newest manufacturing of “Annie,” you may nonetheless assist those that are. Highschool performances would possibly cost a nominal price, however you could possibly get into elementary faculty exhibits without cost.

70. Cheer on little league gamers. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s t-ball, soccer, flag soccer or basketball. Attend a recreation placed on by your group youth sports activities league and skip the professional league costs.

71. Take part in a free in-store occasion. Varied retail chains host particular occasions for youngsters. They get you within the retailer in hopes you purchase one thing, however there’s no obligation to spend cash. Barnes and Noble hosts youngsters’s storytime periods. Michaels, Joann, The House Depot and Lowe’s invite youngsters to make craft initiatives. The Disney Retailer and Bass Professional Outlets maintain particular occasions to have fun the vacations.

72. Cool off at a splash pad. Neglect the water park. Take the children to a splash pad on a sizzling day as an alternative. Or create your individual model with sprinklers within the again yard.

73. Make a scrapbook. Collect the development paper, stickers, images and outdated ticket stubs. Cross the time in a enjoyable method whereas reflecting on reminiscences of the previous.

74. Create your individual expertise present. Put the (imaginary) highlight in your youngsters as they exhibit what they like to do. Invite mates and neighbors to take part.

75. Have a subject day in your yard. Discipline day doesn’t simply must occur in school. Create your individual model at residence with what you have got available — pillow circumstances for a potato sack race or a bounce rope for tug of struggle.

76. Take the children skating. Varied skating rinks throughout the nation take part within the Children Skate Free program the place youngsters can get pleasure from free skating periods at choose occasions. You could have to pay for skate leases in case your youngsters don’t have their very own.

77. Spend time outdoors. Blow bubbles, draw with sidewalk chalk, bounce rope, hula-hoop or play tag or disguise and search. There’s loads of enjoyable free issues to do outside — and also you don’t have to fret in regards to the youngsters wrecking the home.

78. Strive a science experiment at residence. Disguise these studying alternatives as enjoyable. Combine baking soda and vinegar for a fizzy eruption. Construct aluminum foil boats and see what number of pennies they’ll maintain earlier than sinking. Google’s your greatest good friend to find different neat science initiatives to attempt.

79. Make a time capsule. Collect issues consultant of the right here and now — newspaper clippings, retailer catalogs, journal entries — and seal them in a container to bury and dig up a pair many years later.

Free Issues to Do in Season

Regardless of the season, there’s at all times one thing to get into that doesn’t require spending cash.

People watch a sunset at the beach.
The nightly sundown is a good way to get outdoors and luxuriate in Mom Nature — without cost. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Within the Summer season

80. Go for a swim. Municipal swimming pools might provide free swimming periods — or make plans to go to a good friend who has one. Varied YMCA places even provide free swim classes for youth. No pool entry? Hunt down a close-by lake or seashore the place you can also make a splash.

81. Take a seashore journey. A basic within the free issues to do custom, even in the event you’re not into swimming. Seek for seashells. Construct a sand citadel. Hearken to music on Pandora whereas taking within the stunning surroundings. Be certain that to pack a cooler with drinks and snacks, and don’t neglect the SPF!

82. Plan a BBQ. Summer season is the season of grilling. Give your kitchen a break and transfer your cooking outside. (Listed here are some professional tips about grilling on a finances.)

83. Soak up a fireworks present. The Fourth of July and fireworks go hand-in-hand. The wonderful thing about most pyrotechnic shows is that they are often seen from a distance. You don’t have to purchase a ticket to the July 4th pageant. Chances are high you will discover a spot on the outskirts to observe.

84. Take the children bowling. Register your little ones for the Children Bowl Free program, and so they can get pleasure from free video games all through the summer season at taking part bowling alleys. You could have to pay for a shoe rental, however you’ll nonetheless be saving cash.

Within the Fall

A group of children dressed in costumes go trick-or-treating.
Adobe Inventory

85. Acquire the falling leaves. No, I’m not speaking about raking the yard. The fantastic thing about autumn is when the leaves flip crimson, orange and gold. Discuss a stroll, decide up among the prettiest leaves you discover, and use them for a seasonal artwork mission or residence decor.

86. Carve a pumpkin. Nothing says fall like a gourd with a toothy grin. Collect mates collectively and see who could make the spookiest pumpkin carving. Roast the pumpkin seeds for a low-cost deal with.

87. Go trick-or-treating. Trick-or-treating isn’t simply free enjoyable for the children (and the kids-at-heart). It additionally means free sweet, so win-win. You may go door to door in your neighborhood or attend a free trunk-or-treat occasion held at native companies, church buildings or group facilities.

88. Watch the Thanksgiving parade. You don’t must battle the crowds in New York Metropolis to see Macy’s famed spectacular. The intricate floats and spectacular balloons alone are definitely worth the watch, however reside performances in Herald Sq. are a heartwarming option to usher within the begin of the vacation season.

A child goes sledding in the snow.
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Within the Winter

89. Go sledding. Certain, you want a protected sled earlier than you may get pleasure from this basic winter pastime, however you will discover them used or borrow one from a good friend. Upon getting a sled, the enjoyable occasions are limitless.
90. Enhance the home. Place the menorah in your window or the kinara in its designated place. Get the ornaments down from the attic, placed on some vacation music and make a day of adorning. You may even select a xmas tree to brighten outdoors.
91. Make vacation crafts with the children. Winter is among the craftiest seasons. It’s additionally tremendous costly! So capitalize on free issues to do to have fun the Yuletide, from DIY cardboard dreidels to paper-plate snowflakes. The web is stuffed with concepts that’ll hold your brood entertained on snow days or throughout vacation break.
92. Fish on the ice. Ice fishing is usually a enjoyable option to benefit from the chilly climate and perhaps even hook some dinner. Plus, it will get you out of the home throughout lengthy chilly snaps. You may lower your individual gap within the ice, or drop your line in a gap another person left behind.

93. Get your baking on. Neglect about counting energy. It’s time to interrupt out the cookie sheets. As soon as your candy treats are out of the oven, you may pack them up and have a cookie alternate with mates. Or eat all of them your self. No judgment.
94. Expertise a pageant. Ice festivals abound in chilly climate climes, however winter festivals aren’t only for locations with snow. New Orleans hosts Luna Fête, a yearly pageant of sunshine and even Celebration, Florida, holds the “Now Snowing” pageant. Acquired mates who can carry a tune? Get collectively to sing Christmas carols — even when your thought of caroling doesn’t embody leaving the home. Consuming eggnog by the piano sounds cozier than going through below-freezing temps.
95. Take a look at the sunshine shows. Pile within the automotive one night and drive by completely different neighborhoods to take a look at all of the adorned properties. Vote in your favorites.
96. Watch the Rose Parade. Tune into the Match of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, on the identical January day because the Rose Bowl soccer recreation. The floats within the parade are manufactured from 100% plant materials.
97. Benefit from the snow. Construct a snowman. Have a snowball struggle. Make a snow angel. Simply be sure that to bundle up and have some sizzling cocoa ready for you while you come inside.

A mother and daughter spend time in their garden.
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Within the Spring

98. Plant a backyard. It can save you seeds from the fruit you eat or regrow greens from scraps. You could even be capable to rating free seeds out of your library or an area agricultural group.

99. See the cherry timber blossom. Or the dogwood timber. Or the crape myrtles. Spring is when every little thing’s in bloom, so spend a while taking within the magnificence.

100. Go to a farm or orchard. Benefit from the hotter climate and soak in that sunny feeling whereas strolling by the timber and watching the lovable animals.

Nicole Dow is a former senior author at The Penny Hoarder. Freelance author Veronica Matthews contributed to this story. 




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