Are you struggling with money and have no idea what to do this weekend? Check out these frugal activities you can do on your own, with your kids or with friends and family.
Lots of these activities can be done in or around your house and lots of them are totally free. Some activities require certain items which, if you don’t own them, can try to lend from a friend or neighbor.
Some activities do cost you some money, but that’s mostly gas for your car to get somewhere, cheap materials or food to bring along.
Pick the frugal activities you like and have fun!
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Frugal activities to do on your own
These activities can be done on your own, but most of them can also be done with your partner, children or friends:
Teach yourself magic tricks
Do you like magic? You don’t need anything other than simple things everyone has to perform magic tricks. If you want more, you can look for a second hand magic starter kit or lend one from a friend.
Check out this video on YouTube for some magic tricks.
Learn to play an instrument
Yes, an instrument can be expensive. But lots of people have an instrument laying around and don’t use it. So check with your friends and family if you can lend an instrument.
You can also look for second hand instruments. Sometimes you can find them really cheap or even for free.
And then just check out YouTube for videos that can teach you how to play for free. For example, check out this playlist with 10 lessons to learn to play the guitar.
Learn to juggle
Look for some small balls or use oranges or apples. Check out how this guy learned to juggle in just a couple of hours:
Make your own gifts
If you like to be creative, this is something for you. The internet is full of DIY guides on how to make your own gifts. Not only will it save you money, your gifts will also be very personal. People love personal gifts!
Make your own greeting cards
If you’re crafty, it’s a lot of fun to create your own greeting cards. It can even save you a lot of money if you never have to send store-bought greetings cards again.
Learn how to make clothes
This does require some fabrics and a sewing machine. Now, a sewing machine isn’t cheap at all. But maybe your parents or a friend has one you can borrow. You can also find them second hand and you might run into a bargain.
When you become good at this, you can save a lot of money and have clothes that no one else has. You can also repair your own clothes if you know how to sew.
Teach yourself how to knit
Knitting doesn’t require much, you need knitting needles and some yarn to start with. You can make socks, sweaters, bags, blankets, scarfs and all kinds of other great stuff. Check out Pinterest for ideas what to knit.
I found this awesome beginners video to learn how to knit.
Cook meals in advance
Maybe not the most fun thing to do, unless you love cooking of course. But it will save you lots of time during your busy week with work and kids.
Watch TED Talks
TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Talks are free to watch. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, computer or smart TV and an internet connection.
You can learn lots of things from TED Talks. You can find a talk on just about anything. So just browse trough all of the talks and pick what you like.
One of my favorite TED Talks:
And here are some TED Talks about: “How to take charge of your personal finances”
Listen to Podcasts
Personally, I don’t listen to many podcasts as usually have kids around me which makes it harder to concentrate on it. I rather watch a YouTube video or Ted Talk to have something to see as well.
But, lots of people love podcasts and when we keep it at finances, I hear great things about the Choose FI podcasts.
Here’s a list of 100 podcasts, you might find something you like there.
DIY Home decor
If you’ve got nothing to do on your weekend, why don’t you get creative and make something to personalize your home. You can do this alone, but also with your kids and maybe your partner is handy too!
You can make things as big or small and as expensive or cheap as you want. Look on Pinterest and YouTube for tons of ideas.
Do you want more inner peace, less stress and less thoughts in your head? You can start doing mindfulness exercises on your own, but you can ask your partner. friends or kids to join you.
Learn a foreign language
Learning a foreign language can be quite handy when you love to travel or have clients from other countries.
I found some YouTube video’s to help you to learn:
Want to learn another language? Check out YouTube!
Organize your digital life
If you’ve got nothing to do on a free day, it might be smart to organize or declutter your house or your computer. While many people focus on their house, having a messed up and full computer can make you feel stressed as well.
You can’t find pictures or documents anymore and that is frustrating. Or you’ve got lots of backups which are alike and you end up having every document 5 times (that’s me 🙋). And you end up buying another hard drive because it’s full again.
Digitize old photo’s
Once you’ve organized your computer, you can start to digitize everything else, without losing track of everything. Lots of people still have old photo’s laying around.
Psychical photo’s can easily get damaged. So by digitizing them, you can make backups so you will never lose your precious photo’s. More tips and reasons to do this can be found here.
Take your time to do this, because once you sit down with all those old photo’s, memories will come and you probably will want to look at all of them and remember when it was made.
Learn how to take great photo’s with your phone
Do you like to take photo’s, but aren’t good at it yet? All you need is a smartphone to start making great photo’s. Once you really fall in love with taking pictures, you can always decide to save up for a camera.
Tips & tricks: How to Take Good Pictures With Your Mobile Device
Dive into your income and expenses and create a budget
Not the most fun probably for most people, but it is something that can really benefit you. If you know what comes in and what goes out, you can see where you could save money.
So grab your bank account papers, a notebook or spreadsheet and start writing down all of your expenses from the last couple of months.
When you know how much you have left after the monthly bills, you can create a budget for other categories, like groceries, kids, clothes and entertainment.
Start a blog
If you like to write about things that interest you, you can start a blog absolutely free. There are many options to start with, like WordPress.com, Wix and Blogger.
You can write to educate other people, but you can also keep a diary for yourself on a private blog.
If you intend to monetize your blog in the future, I do suggest to go for a self hosted website. You can get hosting and a domain name for a couple of dollars a month.
Learn to code & build an app
If you love to be on the computer and want to learn something new, you can learn how to code and start building your own apps. You can even make a nice income if you become good at it!
Here’s a full 6-hour course to learn Python.
Grow your own vegetables
Growing your own vegetables doesn’t have to cost much.
- You can start by planting the seeds from the things you eat.
- Put 1 potato in the ground and dig it up 100 days later. You will now have 10-15 potatoes.
Here are more tips for a low-cost vegetable garden.
Some more ideas:
- Make a bucket-list: A bucket-list is basically a list of your dreams, goals and experiences you want to fulfill before you die. It can be a lot of fun to think about. And if you’re really up for it, you can also make plans how to fulfill all of these items on your list.
- Have a garage sale: Do you have a lot of stuff you don’t use anymore? Collect everything, spread the word and have a garage sale. Kids usually love to help with this, so involve them and learn them about money in the process.
- Write a book: Do you like to write? Get in touch with your creative side and start writing. It doesn’t cost you anything. You can write stories for your own kids, write about your life or just start a novel.
- Teach yourself how to fix things around the house: YouTube is your answer! You can find video’s for almost everything that you need to fix around the house. Save money by repairing things yourself, and become a real handyman in the process!
Frugal activities to do with friends or family
Have a frugal diner with friends
Instead of you having to buy and make all the food for all the guests, ask them to bring their favorite dish. Put all the different dishes on the table and enjoy an awesome meal together.
This way you may eat things you’ve never have eaten before, you get to know your friends even better and it won’t cost you so much.
Have a poker night with your friends
Do you like to play poker and your friends as well? Invite them for a night full of fun. You will need an deck of playing cards and something you can use as chips. Maybe you or one of your friends have poker chips?
You can also use play money from your kids or something like cocktail picks in different colors.
Design a board game
I always love to think about a new game to make from scratch. My husband and I actually made a game a couple of years ago. We still have to try it a few more times. It’s based on “Risk”.
If you love to be creative, this might be a great idea to do in your free time. And your kids can help out too. If you’re really good, you might see your own game in stores some day ;)
Play games on the computer or a game console
Do you like to play games on the computer or a game console? There are lots of multiplayer games. Use your own games or get some friends to take their favorite games and have a game-night or throw a whole game weekend!
Of course a whole weekend does include to buy some food and drinks for you and your friends.
To help you out: Here’s a list of 100 cheap and easy snacks.
Have a frugal movie marathon
Tell your friends to bring their favorite movie(s). Make some snacks, like popcorn or crackers with some egg salad. You can make this as expensive as you choose to.
Let everyone find a spot in front of the TV and watch great movies together. Fun guaranteed!
Look for free events in your area
Most towns have an event calendar. Check the website of your town of the towns around you to see if there are fun things to do. Walk or take the bike to keep it free.
- Go on a walk or a hike: Check the internet for nice walks and hikes in your area, pack some lunch and drinks and enjoy nature.
- Play card games: There are lots of card games to play with friends, like canasta, hearts, solitaire and jass. Here are 40 more ideas for you.
- Go for a bike ride: Look for a nice route or go to another town or a friend and enjoy nature.
- Write a story together: It’s a lot of fun to write a story together with friends or family. You can also do this online with other people that love to write. Who knows your story will be published some day!
- Visit family or friends: You can always visit family or friends. It just depends how far they live if it’s an option within your budget.
- Have a sunrise breakfast: Get up early, pack breakfast, and take your bike to a place to enjoy the sunrise.
- Make a puzzle: Love to puzzle? Get a big one and have fun the whole weekend.
Frugal activities to do with kids
There are lots of free and cheap activities you can do with your kids:
Create an obstacle course for your kids
You can do this in the house or in the garden. Use pillows, blankets, wood, blocks, balloons or whatever you have in your home to make a fun and challenging obstacle course.
Do a science experiment
A fun experiment to do with your older (10+) kids is: How to drop an egg from 10+ feet without breaking it.
Every child (or team when you’ve got lots of kids or having a party) gets the same materials:
- 45 paper sheets
- 25 straws
- 25 sticks
- 60 inches of rope
- 2 inches of scotch tape
- 5 rubber bands
- 1 egg
- 3 balloons
Who can build the best construction? Which construction goes down the fastest without breaking the egg?
Make sock puppets
All you need is a couple of socks, some materials to decorate your sock and some glue. You can make hundreds of different sock puppets, just the way you like it.
Make play dough from scratch
Most kids love play dough. It can be pretty expensive to buy. But what if you make your own? It’s a fun activity and gives fun for months when it’s done! I found this great recipe to make good play dough in a few minutes and under a dollar.
Play board games
I love to play board games. It’s fun and when you play with your children, they learn a lot from it as well. You probably have some board games lying around and if you don’t, your neighbors or friends will. Find some great board games to play and have an evening full of joy.
Some games me and my family love to play:
Have a frugal movie marathon
You probably have some movies in the house or a Netflix subscription. Otherwise you can try to lend some DVD’s from family, friends or neighbors.
Pick a movie the whole family loves, make some popcorn, close the curtains and enjoy!
Create a treasure hunt for your kids
Kids love to find treasures!
Look for a great treasure, like some old coins or a toy, and bury that in the ground. Make a map and make clues around the house to solve and make them lead to the next clue or a key to the treasure chest.
You can make sums, anagrams, drawings or whatever fits your children’s age. Or just write down or point to the map where they have to find the next clue.
At the very end, have the last clue lead them to the treasure.
Set up the tent and camp in your own garden
Do you own a tent? Kids usually love to camp. While going on a holiday can be expensive, you can camp for free in your own backyard, assuming you have one. Otherwise, you might have family or friends with a big backyard where you can camp for a night.
Need some tips & tricks? Check out these steps to Camp in your backyard.
Build an awesome train track
Our boys love trains and we build big train tracks almost daily!
- Go to the beach: Pack some snacks and drinks, take some toys to build sand castles and maybe an umbrella for the sun and some sunscreen.
- Play Pokémon GO: Download the game on your phone, get the kids and go outside to catch Pokémon! It’s pretty addictive and lots of fun. My boys love to play it too and it’s great for your health as you walk a lot while playing the game.
- Bake cookies: All you need is flour, butter and sugar for simple, delicious cookies. Click here for a recipe.
- Build a fort with chairs, tables, pillows and blankets: Fun 100% guaranteed!
- Go to a playground: There’s probably always a playground to be found in walking distance. Kids love them!
- Go to the forest: The forest is awesome for many adventures. Kids love to play with sticks or discover what lives and grows in the forest.
- Create paper airplanes: Let everyone build his own plane and have a flying contest.
- Build a Lego town: If you have Lego, make a whole town together and play with it all day long.
- Play soccer in the park: Take a ball and perhaps a snack and go to a park in your area. Have fun!
- Play with your kids: Kids love to get attention from their parents. It doesn’t really matter what you do, just give them attention for a whole day. Play around, cuddle, read books, build towers or do whatever they like to do.