Making the most of your free time with little or no money doesn’t have to be challenging. In fact, it can be even more fun to stretch your resources — and imagination — than to rely on a hefty entertainment budget to stave off boredom. Try one or more of these six free activities the next time you need a little leisure-time inspiration.
1. Indulge in a board-game marathon.
Take a cue from trendy coffee houses and break out the board games. This analog activity is fun for the whole family. Kids will love checking out old-school games you have stored in the attic or tucked away in a closet. Whether you add to your collection with thrift-store and garage-sale finds over time or stick with what’s on hand, this is a great way to get everyone on board with having fun the frugal way. Hipster-friendly knit beanies and half-caff soy lattes are optional.
2. Arrange your own local walking tour.
This activity gets you out of the house while helping you appreciate the great things about your own community. With help from your town’s historical society website, mapping out the city’s top historical sites is fun and easy. Or set aside a few hours to admire the area’s architectural gems. Take along a picnic lunch or bag of snacks.
3. Plan an empty-the-fridge potluck with friends.
Invite your pals over to enjoy a meal that doesn’t cost anything and will help everyone organize their cabinets or refrigerators. From using up canned chili in a tasty nacho cheese dip to whipping up amazing smoothies from that frozen fruit in the back of the freezer, this is one of the tastiest free ideas for the weekend we can think of.
4. Spruce up your nest.
DIY projects offer some of the most gratifying, entertaining free activities around — assuming you have the supplies on hand. Ideas include using stencils to spray-paint designs on welcome mats or solid-color curtains, creating your own floral arrangements, whipping up some wall art, or designing a seasonal wreath or holiday decorations.
5. Have a goal-setting session.
Whether as a solo effort, pairing up with your partner or as a family, this is one of the best ways to get fired up about achieving your goals. Identifying what you want to achieve and planning when and how to get there is definitely a worthwhile use of your leisure time. Not only does it not cost a dime; it will help you grow as a person, couple or family while helping you make your dreams come true.
6. Volunteer for a worthy cause.
Whether you help out at a soup kitchen for a single day or commit long-term to walking dogs at an animal shelter, this is another of the most rewarding free ideas for the weekend on our list. In addition to providing much-needed assistance to a charity or other non-profit effort, volunteering helps you meet new people. From making new friends to creating business contacts or potential income-generating side gigs, the rewards just keep coming. You don’t have to limit yourself to local opportunities, though. Consider contributing your coding skills to an open-source project or your writing skills to a cash-strapped non-profit group’s website and marketing materials.
When it comes to free activities, the sky’s the limit. Whether you work on a project, binge-snack with friends or pitch in for a worthy cause, there’s always plenty to do that doesn’t require spending. Want to do something that requires a little less energy? Forget all your cares while you blow bubbles, look for cloud shapes or watch a sunset. We hope these free ideas for the weekend provide you with hours of fun or inspire you to stay entertained in your own individual way.