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Saving money or trying to cut back on your spending isn’t exactly a fun task. It often means going without, and while it can make you happier in the long run, no-one particularly looks forward to the times when they have to be frugal. However, there are ways to live entirely for free, even if this is only in the short term.
The concept of the no-spend weekend has been around for a while, and it’s a lifestyle change that everyone should try out at some point, whether it’s to save money or simply to shake things up a little bit! To help get the ball rolling, here are our ideas of things you could do on your very own no-spend weekend.
Exploring your local surroundings is free and a great way to get some exercise and see some beautiful scenery at the same time. Though this can be a weather dependent activity, a crisp winter walk can be just as enjoyable as a summery stroll, so don’t discount this as an option when it gets a bit colder.
Wherever you live, there’s bound to be some local history or natural scenery that’s worth seeing. Look online to discover what points of local interest you should be making the most of and plan a route that includes them in your walk. You can then tell your family or friends about the area they live in and what stories it can tell.
You don’t have to have a gym membership to break a sweat. Find a free workout plan or video online and join in, or do some yoga poses to help get your muscles flexible and healthy.
If your pets are in need of some good grooming or are just a little bored, spend some time with them. Take them for a long walk, crack out their toys or just give them a good belly rub. Cleaning out cages and enclosures is a great way to pass some time, too!
Geocaching is a sort of treasure hunt whereby you try to discover items that other people have left behind, and leave something of your own in its place. It’s a great way to get everyone outside together. You can check out your nearest geocache by looking online.
If you’re fortunate enough to live by the sea, or have a free community pool nearby, then take advantage of it! If not, there could be some local wild swimming locations nearby that are just waiting to be discovered!
It’s free to camp in your back garden so make the most of it when the weather is warm enough and pitch a tent under the stars. You can spend the evening star-gazing, telling ghost stories and melting marshmallows.
There are tons of board games to choose from, and chances are there are a few different options gathering dust in your home. Get them out and start competing for the title of ‘board game champion’.
A quick check online should throw up a few things that are going on in your neighbourhood, whether it’s a street festival, parade, charity event or local band. Make the most of the free entertainment and take the whole family.
It’s easy to take your children to the park and sit on the bench as they play, but for some real bonding time why not take them to the park and join them too? You could play tag, or take a ball and have a kick about. If the weather isn’t suitable for this, try playing hide and seek at home or building a fort and being the monster that tries to get inside it.
It can be hard to find time for family or friends, especially if you work full-time, live far away or have a family of your own to manage. Make your no-spend weekend the time you reach out, even if it’s just over the phone.
Challenge your children to some amateur gymnastics at home and teach them some fun moves that will have them giggling in no time. Try forward rolls, cartwheels and handstands to get the ball rolling.
Get your children to collect a few keepsakes they don’t mind parting with and write notes to their older selves. Put it all in a sealable container, wrap it up and write the date it can be opened on it. It’ll be a lovely thing to open once you and your children are a little older!
Nearly everyone owns a smartphone nowadays, and with their high-quality cameras, it’s easy to take great photographs. Spend some time taking family portraits to have in your home or take some shots of local scenery and wildlife. If they’re good enough, you could even upload them to image sharing sites for other people to use too.
Looking for something creative to do? Writing is a great hobby and can help to expand your vocabulary. You could start with poetry, begin a blog or write stories for your children.
Make some artwork for your home or just entertain the children with some messy fun. Take care to lay down some newspaper to avoid stains!
If you’ve got some card and paper, pens and paints, get crafty and prepare in advance for any upcoming birthdays or holidays. It’ll almost certainly work out cheaper than buying store-bought cards and hand-made cards are so much more meaningful.
We’re fortunate enough to have a lot of free museums throughout the UK, so when it comes to a no-spend weekend; these places should be at the top of your list. Even if the nearest museum is a tiny affair, it should be an interesting thing to do for an hour or so.
Even if you don’t have a massive gallery nearby there’s a good chance there’s a local community college that shows homegrown talent. Make the most of it and expand your mind for absolutely no cost whatsoever.
Make your sofa your home for the weekend and have a good old-fashioned movie marathon. If you have a subscription to a service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney+, then make the most of it. If not, you can always arrange to borrow some DVDs from some friends or re-watch some of your old favourites.
Relaxing in nature is incredibly restorative, but not everyone has a garden to stretch out in. Take a blanket and a good book and make the most of local green spaces.
Give your imagination some exercise by reading a book that grabs your fancy. Most people have a few books lying around at home that they’ve still not gotten around to reading. Alternatively, you could make a trip to your local library and take advantage of the free services that are offered there. If you’re a slow reader, don’t forget to renew the return date on your borrowed book before it runs out, so you don’t incur any fees.
Shopping can be fun, but it can also be stressful once the costs throughout the day start to rack up. Have a no-spend approach to shopping and simply go and see what pretty things are in store. This can be handy if there are upcoming birthdays or events you have to buy for – you can spend the day comparing prices for things across different shops so you can bag a bargain later.
If there’s some DIY you’ve been meaning to do, like tightening that loose screw, or putting that broken drawer back together, then now’s the time to finally get round to doing it! Most of us have at least one project that we’ve been putting off for a rainy day!
Take the opportunity a no-spend weekend presents to have a good clear-out. You could even think about listing some of your stuff on selling sites, like eBay or Gumtree, and earn some quick money that’s hassle free and de-clutter at the same time.
If you have a garden and the weather’s nice, spend some time in the sun weeding, mowing the grass and repotting plants. After a few hours, you may be amazed at the transformation!
Clean your windows, scrub that grout and descale the kettle! Do all the little jobs that will make your home feel brand new again. It might not be fun while you’re doing it, but having a clean home can bring fantastic peace of mind.
Baking doesn’t have to be expensive, and most people have the basic ingredients needed to create a simple sponge cake or biscuits. Take a look at what you have in your cupboard and then search online to see what you could make. For example, if you’d like to make bread but have no yeast, you should be able to find a yeastless bread recipe on the internet.
A lot of markets run on a Sunday, and are a great thing to attend. You don’t have to spend any money – simply make the most of the free samples! If you find something you love, you can go back the next week and buy it, once you’ve had time to mull over whether you really need it.
Settle down in your comfiest clothes and prepare for a weekend of serious game-playing. Whether you prefer to play single-player games, or invite a few friends over, this can be a brilliant way to spend many (many) hours.
Rustle up a new dish with whatever is leftover in the fridge or cupboards. It doesn’t have to be restaurant worthy – just tasty! You can look online for inspiration – Pinterest is always a good place to start!
Do something great and volunteer this weekend. Try nearby animal shelters or contact your local council to see where help may be needed. You could end up being responsible for something wonderful happening in your city.
It’s important to spend time with your other half but rather than just sitting down in front of the TV, sit down with your partner and have a good heart to heart. Try asking them questions about things you never knew about, such as asking about a relative you never met, or what cartoon they were obsessed with when they were younger.
Take some me-time. Fill a washing-up bowl with warm water and soak your feet, apply a face mask, perhaps do any grooming you’ve been putting off, and simply relax.
There are plenty of lessons available for free online. Tons of language apps are free, and YouTube tutorials can even show you how to do complicated things like fix broken cars. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to know how to do, tackle it this weekend.
There are loads of free podcasts available, and they’re incredibly informative, covering anything from improving your physical and mental health to comedy gold.
We all have a pesky to-do list with certain tasks that just never get done. Why not make it your mission to get these jobs completed before the weekend is up.
Take some time out and get your head down. While it can be great to try and get loads of things done at the weekend, sometimes it’s best to take the time to relax and re-energise.
Always wanted to juggle, do the splits or be able to ride a bike? Have a go – you’ll be surprised how fast you learn when you dedicate time to something and really set your mind to it.
Looking over your finances sounds boring (and often is) but your future self will thank you when you know exactly where your money is going and why. Try to see whether you could be getting your utilities any cheaper or if you’re paying for anything you don’t really need to be.
Bettering yourself is something employers encourage – and could lead to a promotion or bonuses for you. So try reading books, listen to podcasts or take some free classes on things that are related to your role, or an area you’d like to move into. Perhaps even contact a recruitment agency to discuss your career goals.
Are you heading where you want to? Is there a job you’d like to do? Is there a certain place you’d like to go? Assess your wants and needs to see if you’re on the right track. Then consider what changes you can make if you’re not.
We’re used to seeing things from our own point of view, but we could all do with expanding our minds every now and again. Perhaps attend a place of worship of a religion that is not your own, and ask about their customs. Or perhaps simply watch a documentary that follows life in different parts of the world.
They could be in the back of a newspaper or online but doing puzzles is great for your brain and will help keep it ticking over. Try putting some music on in the background, and settle down for a few fiendish puzzle challenges.
A diary is a good way to keep track of things and to offload the stresses of the day, as well as a method of improving your writing skills. It’s also fun to look back and remind yourself of funny things you hear, or what you got up to.
There are plenty of free newspapers around, but if you can’t get your hands on one, simply head to the internet for all the local, national and international news you can handle. You can learn more about what’s happening in the world, as well as have informed discussions with loved ones about politics and major events.
Massage away some stress in your pressure points or take the time to give your partner a massage that will have them melting from relaxation. If you’re lucky, they may return the favour!
Meditation is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. It can also make it easier to fall asleep. If you’re new to the practice, try to get used to the concept of meditation this weekend and then slowly introduce it on a daily basis.
What are the weekends for if not lying in the bath for at least an hour? Fill up your tub with hot water and bubble bath and stay there until your skin is pruney. You may even want to take a book to read with you.
You’ve made it through the no-spend weekend without spending a penny… So what are you going to do with the money you’ve saved? Plan it out now and make sure the money doesn’t go to waste on unimportant things.
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