Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut doing the same old things each weekend, and draining your finances while you’re at it? Weekends are the best part of the week, but when you go into Monday without any money left in your wallet, you’re doomed to have a stressful workweek.
Luckily, with a bit of imagination and a little planning, a fun or productive weekend doesn’t need to cost a cent. Here are 24 ways to spend $0 over an entire weekend. (See also: 47 Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend)
1. Learn a new skill
Thanks to the internet, there are instructional videos for virtually any skill you could ever wish to learn — from a clever magic trick to DIY woodworking tips. So pick something you’d love to be able to do, and spend the weekend learning how to master it. (See also: 10 Easy to Learn Skills That Will Save You Money)
2. Start writing a book
They say that everyone has at least one book in them. Even if you don’t have an idea for the next best-selling fiction novel, you can always tell your own life story. Why not try your hand at being an author? All you need is a computer or a pad of paper and pen and you’re good to go. Start writing, and see what comes out. You never know, you may just turn out to be the next J.K. Rowling.
3. Catch up on sleep
A lack of sleep has been proven to adversely affect everything from your mood to your immune system, so making sure you’re well rested is an excellent time investment. A weekend spent in slumber won’t cost a thing, but it will pay dividends when it comes to your health. (See also: How Getting More Sleep Helps Your Finances)
4. Visit friends
Got a friend you haven’t seen in a while? Invite yourself over for the weekend, or invite them over to your place You will have a blast catching up, and they will likely appreciate the company. Humans are social creatures, so not only will you have fun seeing an old friend, but it can also count as self-care.
5. Go camping
Camping can get expensive if you stay in campgrounds with designated campsites and top notch facilities. However, there are plenty of places where it’s possible to camp in the wild at zero cost. It’s referred to as “dispersed” or “wild camping” and many national forests allow it — as long as you follow their camping guidelines. So pack the tent, stock up on food from your pantry, and head out into the wild for the weekend.
6. Visit museums
Visiting museums is an interesting and educational way to spend a weekend. Look for museums that don’t charge an entry fee, then check out the free days available for the ones that do. Many open their doors at no cost one day a week. (See also: How to Visit Museums for Free)
7. Play Pokémon Go
If you’re into gaming, but don’t want to spend the weekend stuck inside, then Pokémon Go is a great solution. This game will get you checking in at PokéStops and meeting other Pokétrainers, all while exploring your local neighborhood in the fresh air. Beware, it’s addictive! (See also: 8 Clever Ways People Are Making Money From Pokémon GO)
8. Tidy up your garden
A weekend is enough time to completely transform your garden from drab to fab. So make a plan, dig out the garden tools, and get to work on landscaping, weeding, mowing, and beautifying your garden. (See also: 13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master)
9. Bake up some treats
Get out your baking dishes and spend the weekend whipping up some pastries like cakes, biscuits, and pies from the ingredients you already have in your cupboard. Your colleagues will love you on Monday morning when you show up to work with a basket full of goodies.
10. Find free events in your neighborhood
Most towns and cities have regular events organized each weekend that are absolutely free to attend. A quick search online or a look at the community calendar on your town or city’s website will provide you with the info you need on everything from concerts and plays to festivals.
11. Host a board game night
Dig out a selection of your favorite board games, or even just a pack of cards, and invite friends over for a games marathon. Cut out the potential catering costs by turning it into a potluck as well, and asking each guest bring a dish or drink with them. (See also: 5 Fun, Cheap Party Games You Didn’t Know About)
Volunteering can be a wonderful way to give something back to your community, with the added benefit of making you feel great at the same time. Find an organized volunteer project, or do things on your own like pick up garbage, or help an elderly neighbor with their shopping or gardening. (See also: 18 Free Ways to Be a Better Person)
13. Do a deep clean
Spring cleaning isn’t just for springtime. You can give your home a deep cleanse at any time of the year. Start with your most frequently used room, as this will take the most time, and work out to your other rooms.
14. Have an at-home spa day
A pamper weekend is the ultimate in luxurious relaxation, but it doesn’t have to cost a penny. Instead of heading to a spa and spending hundreds of dollars, you can do it in your own home. Make yourself some products from things you’ve already got in the house and spend the weekend enjoying a bit of quality “me time.” (See also: 7 Homemade Beauty Treatments That Actually Work)
15. Play a team sport
Grab a ball and head down to your local park with some friends for a sportsfest. Depending on the equipment you have, you could play dodge ball, softball, football, or any other team sport. Why not try organizing a weekend tournament that takes place over two days and ends with the crowning of a champion? No prizes needed, as bragging rights alone will get people interested.
16. Do some meal prep
We’ve all got ingredients lying around that for one reason or another we’ve never gotten around to using. Instead of letting them go bad in the pantry, take them all out and plan some meals for the week ahead. Then you can stick the meals in the freezer so you’ve got homemade food ready for when you can’t be bothered to rustle something up from scratch. (See also: Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners)
17. Host a movie marathon
Dig out your old DVD collection or check your streaming service for some of your favorite movies, set a schedule for the weekend for when you’ll be “screening” them, and send it out to all of your friends. They can then choose which ones they want to see and you’ll have a revolving door of company for the weekend.
18. Hold a yard sale
Yard sales are a fantastic way to get rid of all your unwanted stuff and also make a few dollars in the process. Spend some time putting together everything you want to sell, publicize it on social media and with your friends and family, then set up shop in your front yard or garage. (See also: 12 Garage Sale Items That Sell Like Hotcakes)
19. Make a financial plan
Everyone should have a solid financial plan in place that covers short- and long-term goals. Even if you already have one, it’s worth revising it regularly. Spend time setting out a plan for where you want to be in a year or five, and how you’re going to get there. (See also: 6 Reasons Why Financial Planning Isn’t Just for the Wealthy)
20. Learn about different religions
Learning about different religions can be eye-opening, enriching, and educational. Places of worship are usually extremely welcoming to newcomers, and you can explain to anyone who asks that you’re there to observe and learn. Go to a Muslim mosque for Friday night prayers, attend a Jewish synagogue on Saturday, and head to a Christian church service on Sunday morning to see how different, and similar, they are.
21. Start exercising
Whether it’s been months, years, or decades since you last laced up a pair of sneakers, there’s no time like the present to get going again. You don’t need a pricey gym membership, fancy equipment, or swanky athletic wear to do so, either. Throw on comfy clothes and go for a run around the block. Find a park and do some pullups on the bars. Or you could follow along with a free yoga class on YouTube. (See also: These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free)
22. Start a vlog
If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming an internet star, why not give vlogging a go? Starting a vlog on YouTube is quick, free, and easy. All you need is a camera or smartphone, and an idea of what your vlog will be about. Spend the weekend making videos on your favorite subject and uploading them for the world to enjoy. (See also: How to Make Money by Creating YouTube Videos)
23. Learn a new language
It’s unlikely that you’re going to be fluent in a new language after just 48 hours, but you can certainly lay down the foundations. Some modern methods of language learning work on the principle that memorizing the 100 most frequently used words will give you a basic understanding of everyday conversations. Find a list of these for your chosen language on the web and focus on committing them to memory. Or check out a free language learning app to get you started. (See also: You CAN Learn a New Language — Just Use One of These 3 Apps)
24. Read a classic novel
There are endless works of literature that are revered as all-time classics, and many are now completely free to download or access online. If you’re more of a paperback kind of person then head down to your local library, and get sucked into some timeless writing from the greats.
Another alternative: We all have a pile of “to be read” books collecting dust in our homes, and this weekend is the perfect time to crack a few of those open.