50+ Ideas for a Fun No-Spend Weekend
When you work hard for your money on the weekdays, it’s easy to spend that money freely on the weekends. Unfortunately, that doesn’t jive with saving money to reach your financial goals. That’s where a no-spend weekend can help. No-spend weekends might sound tough and boring, but there’s a lot you can do without spending money and still have fun.
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What’s a no-spend weekend?
A no-spend weekend is exactly as it sounds. It’s going Saturday and Sunday without spending any money. Some people are stricter about it and make it two days and three nights (Friday included) of no spending. I prefer it this way because it’s more aligned with the overall goal of spending nothing for a few days.
For some people, just thinking about a no-spend weekend is enough to make them miserable. For others, going two days of not spending money is easy-peasy. If you don’t find it a challenge, aim bigger. Go for a no-spend week or more than one no-spend weekend in a row.
Why do one?
Most people do it to save money. They realize money to going out left and right, maybe even faster than it’s coming in. Cutting back on spending even just for a few days is a great way to reset patterns of spending and saving.
50+ ideas for a no-spend weekend
1 | Catch up on books you’ve been meaning to read
2 | Do a scavenger hunt of your city or town
3 | Play tourist for a day going around taking pictures of attractions
4 | Make new meals out of items you have in the pantry
5 | Bake a cake or some cookies with the ingredients you have on hand
6 | Go for a walk or hike
7 | Pack a lunch and go to the park for a picnic
8| Create a book of your favorite recipes and plan when you’re going to cook each of them.
9 | Spend the day enjoying the beach
10 | Take up running or biking
11 | Spend an afternoon playing frisbee, kickball, volleyball, or another outdoor game
12 | Use up gift cards you have around the house
13 | Visit a free museum or a museum on a free day. Some museums are free every Sunday or one weekend a month.
14 | Check out free events going on at the library or town center
15 | See if your library provides free tickets to attractions in your city and use them
16 | Attend a free play or musical performance at a college or music school.
17 | Find all the unique street art or art installations in your city or town
18 | Play card and board games you have around the house
19 | Invite friends and family over for a visit
20 | Have a game night with friends and family
21 | Host a potluck
22 | Catching up on your favorite podcasts and find new ones
23 | Redecorate your house with things you already have. Rearrange your furniture to give your house a new feel.
24 | Volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen
25 | Volunteer with an elderly person in your community. Teach the person how to use a computer or tablet. Or just spend time chatting.
26 | Spend time with cats and dogs at the local animal shelter
27 | Do a workout or yoga session using a YouTube video
28 | Host a sports game day with friends and family
29 | Have a movie or TV show marathon. You can watch some shows free online or borrow them from the library. If you already have a streaming service, you can watch there.
30 | Make greeting cards with supplies you have on hand
31 | Make a vision board for the goals you have in mind.
32 | Sell things online. It’s free to set up an account on Poshmark or Mercari.
33 | Review your finances and set up a budget (or make sure it’s up-to-date)
34 | Hold a garage sale
35 | Help family and friends with errands
36 | Write emails or letters to old friends and family
37 | Attend a summer street fair
38 | Attend a free outdoor concert
39 | Start journaling
40 | Write an ebook
41 | Create digital products like printables and start selling them online
42 | Attend a book reading
43 | Try a new gym or studio for free. Many offer the first class free.
44 | Take free online classes. There are tons!
45 | Make a 5-year plan for your future
46 | Give yourself an at-home spa day complete with a bubble bath and manicure.
47 | Create a budget if you don’t already have one
48 | Practice that instrument you have sitting at home
49 | Plan your next vacation
50 | Babysit a child or pet
51 | Clean house and figure out how to repurpose things you’ve forgotten about
52 | Patch up old clothes so you can start wearing them again
53 | Go geocaching
54 | Go to the beach and watch sunrise or sunset
55 | Go to a free movie night hosted in your area
56 | Take surveys on Survey Junkie or UserTesting to earn extra money
57 | Take a free tour of a vineyard, chocolate factory, or any other place that offers free tours
58 | Spend an afternoon browsing and lounging at a bookstore
How to be successful at it
Now you have a bunch of ideas for how to spend your no-spend weekend. Here are a few tips to help you succeed at it.
Commit to the weekend. If you find a few things to do that interest you, you’ll manage to get through the weekend with motivation and commitment to doing it. The weekend is only 2 days or 3 nights long depending on what you choose. You’ve probably been to events or on trips that weren’t as enjoyable for longer than that.
Prepare for the weekend. Take a few minutes to research and plan for the no-spend weekend. Once you have some activities in mind, you’ll be much less likely to be bored and tempted to spend on entertainment.
Plan your meals and grocery shop ahead as well so that you have enough food to last a few days. Otherwise you’ll want to visit the grocery store or go out to a restaurant.
Find free activities specific to your city. The list above has general ideas that would work for most readers, but there are many more more free things to do specific to location and population.
Fun Cheap SF is a website for finding free things to do in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many other free activities exist specific to Los Angeles, New York, and other cities. Do a Google search to find out what’s free in your location.
Let your family, friends, and partner know what you’re doing. If they know ahead of time, they might skip letting you know about an event that weekend and save you from having to disappointingly say no. Even better, they may want to join you for the challenge.
If you get the urge to spend, remember you can almost always do it another time. The activity you want to do can probably be done the next weekend. Your friends who want to go out to brunch can go with you another time. The restaurant you want to try will still be there. Choose to delay those activities and spending to another time.
Recognize that the weekend may not be all fun and games. Everyone has a different idea of fun and how to fill their free time. Some people might find the activities above fun while others find them boring. It’s true that baking cookies is probably not as fun as going to the concert of a favorite artist.
If you find yourself bored or disappointed during the weekend, accept that feeling and know that you’ll live through it. The weekend is short, but the changes you’re making to your spending habits will help you in the long-run.
A no-spend weekend is an easy way to break spending habits and reset your money mindset. With any luck, you’ll feel great seeing cash still in your wallet and reading your bank balance come Monday morning. You may find that you even enjoy doing free activities and want to do them more often. That’s a win for your wallet.
Now go have some fun (without spending a dime)!
What are your favorite free weekend activities?