Sometimes, to hit your savings goals, you need to spend less money. That’s a fact of life. However, this does not mean you need to have any less fun. Here are 20 free (or very cheap) activities to do outside of your house.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
Staying home is truly one of my favourite things to do. Staying home when it feels like everyone else is out having fun is the absolute worst. When you’re trying to save more and spend less the first thing people do is stop going out so they stop spending money. That’s not a bad idea in the short term… but it’s not sustainable in the long run. You’ll end up feeling house bound, uninspired and frustrated. This is a perfect recipe for having a blow out and spending $100s in one day!
Trust me- been there done that. RIP that money.
Instead of doing that it’s better to find new fun ways to enjoy yourself. These are also great things to suggest when friends want to hang out. I’m sure they will be happy to save the money too.
Here are 20 free (or very cheap) fun ideas that get you out of the house. I’ve ordered them alphabetically.
1. Beach day
The beach is freeee especially if you choose a beach with no parking fees. Remember to bring sunscreen, plenty of water, a bag full of snacks and your headphones. That way you won’t have any need to spend any money.
2. Chips on the beach (I swear this is different then #1)
When I was hardcore saving for my trip to Europe one of my favourite frugal late afternoon / sunset activities was to have chips on the beach. We would pack bread, salt, sauce, drinks etc. Then we would go to a cheap fish and chip shop and order $5 worth of chips to share (only cost me $2.50). Then we would sit on the beach and enjoy a cheap meal, a few drinks and a sunset – perfect!
3. Coffee in a café
Sometimes you need to get out of the house, see a friend etc but it’s not the best weather to be wandering around outside. In this instance I would go to a café and order a coffee / tea. I was really strict with myself and promised myself not to order a snack or meal. Bonus points if you bring coins to pay and leave your bank card at home – remove the ability to give into temptation.
4. Community calendar
I discovered this way too late in life! If you Google “x city community calendar” or “x suburb community calendar” you will see ALL the events being held in your area. Many of which are free. Then you can pick and choose the ones that appeal to you and plan outings around them. I recently attended Sculptures by the Sea which was so fun. I went with a group of friends and we all took picnic items and beach gear. It was such a nice afternoon and I spent $0.
5. Display Homes and home opens
Display homes are 100% free and 100% motivating! I love wandering around the beautiful houses, dreaming up my own home and seeing some of the terrible interior design choices. This is actually how I spent my day yesterday!
On weekends you can also check out home opens. If you’re saving a deposit it’s an incredibly motivating way to spend your time.
I love dogs and cats… and birds… and really all animals! When I was little my mum used to take us to pet shops to look at all the animals. I thought it was THE BEST way to spend time. Now I realise it was also a really cheap day out for her.
Now I’m an adult I still love pet shops for birds / fish … #adoptdontshop for cats / dogs. I also love visiting the dog beach and free dog competitions. This is where they get their hair all done up, walk fancy around an oval and jump over stuff – cute and free entertainment!
Look I’m not the biggest fan of exercise but it is a good way to save money and get out of the house. You could go jogging, swimming or go play on a public basketball or tennis court. If you google “Free exercise classes in my area” I guarantee you will find something to try out. Bike riding is another fun option.
If you like running (or want to like running) Parkrun is also a great free option. Check that out here.
If you already have gear, fishing is a great free(ish) hobby.
9. Friend’s houses
Need to get out of your house? Time to head to someone else’s house! Bonus points if they have a pool, fancy coffee machine or cute dog.
…Dogs are featuring really heavily in this post and I’m not mad about it…
10. Gift cards
This is a two part suggestion
- If you have old gift cards a fun day out is to go spend them. Leave your bank card at home to reduce the temptation to buy other stuff. #stopbuyingshityoudontneed
- When peeople ask what to get you for Christmas, Birthdays etc ask for a gift card for an experience you’ve been wanting to try out. Then you can get out of the house for free! I recently went on the ferry to Rottnest Island for free thanks to tickets I got for Christmas.
11. Go for a drive (and see how the other half live)
This is a guilty pleasure of mine. I LOVE driving / walking around the most affluent suburbs of my city and gawking at the crazy big mansions. These places are normally along the most scenic areas of the city so it’s nice to experience that too.
Plus it’s motivating! One day I’ll be rich 😂
12. Guided walking tours (free)
So museums, the government and community groups fund walking tours that are free. I have done heaps of these overseas (Jack the Ripper in York, ‘Ghosts’ in Liverpool, The Troubles in Belfast, Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg etc). One day it occurred to me that these probably run in my city!
Quick google and read through of the tourism sites and I saw that they do exist. I did one on convicts and bushrangers in my local area and it was so interesting!
Note: These are free but they generally ask for a small donation at the end. Like a tip!
As a kid I spent a lot of time at the library because it’s freee (I see what you did there Mum). Libraries are a great place to;
- Take free (or cheap) classes.
- Borrow books / DVDs / Toys.
- Read magazines (saves you buying them). I read National Geographic / Cosmo at the library.
- Do/borrow puzzles
- See what’s going on in your community.
14. Maccas $1 menu
My friend who has kids told me about this hack of hers. She shows her kids the Maccas $1 Menu at home and asks them to pick an item. She makes sure they know they can’t have anything else. Then they go to Maccas. She spends $2 on her kids and gets a coffee for herself. Then her kids play on the playground for an hour – genius!
Another one to Google. I love walking around the markets in my area. Especially the farmers markets.
Lots of museums are free or ask you to put a coin donation in a box at the door. Some museums do cost money but have one day a month where they’re fee. It’s so nice to wander around in the quiet and learn something new.
17. Op shop challenge
My friends and I love this! We set a $ limit (usually $5 – $15) and get it out in cash. We leave our bank cards at home and go Op shopping for the day. It’s so much fun seeing what the Op Shops have and it feels great to find yourself a bargain. Plus we normally have a good laugh at some of the ridiculous stuff you find.
Parks are freee. Parks are fun. Dogs hang out at parks. Need I say more? Plus you can bring a home made cup of coffee to enjoy while you wander around in the sunshine and gossip with a friend.
I LOVE picnics. I have a basket and everything because I take my picnicking seriously. If you spend $100 on items for a Pinterest perfect picnic you’re missing the point. Pack what you have at home. Grab some friends and a blanket. Enjoy a frugal picnic.
20. Parliament house
You’ll need to Google this one because it varies state to state, but it’s free to sit in the gallery and watch the politicians battle it out. Not everyone’s cup of tea but it might be the perfect brew for you!
21. Public Pool
Public pools are quite cheap. Its nice to go for a swim or do some laps. I recommend finding a public pool with adult friendly slides or a whirlpool because they’re the best. Your inner child (or actual child) will love it.
22. Star gaze
BYO blanket and an app that tells you all about the constellations.
24. Sober drive
I am a big fan of sober driving! Organise a night out with friends but offer to sober drive. You’ll be the hero of the night, get to have fun and save yourself serious money on drinks!
A casual stroll, a hike or a visit to the scenic place near you that you’ve never quite got to. Walking is free and good for you!
Saving money shouldn’t be a death sentence for your social life or spontaneity. It’s actually quite liberating to experience fun that does not involve your bank card or overpriced avo on toast.
What activity will you be trying out? Let me know in the comments below.
“The best things in life are free” – Luther Vandross
| This blog post was all about free activities you can do for fun to save money.
If you enjoyed this blog I would LOVE you to share it to your socials using the buttons below.
If you liked that you’re going to love this!