This post was last updated on June 17th, 2021 at 12:49 pm
Are you ready to embark on a no spend week?
What is a no spend week? It’s a week full of activities that don’t cost any money. As the name implies, you are on a spending freeze.
Going a week without spending a dime on anything but essential items, such as groceries or gas, may seem impossible depending on the lifestyle you may already be accustomed to.
You may want to start with a no spend weekend.
How to have a no-spend weekend
We all tend to spend the most money on the weekend, as most of us are out of work and finding ways to entertain ourselves and our families and friends.
But if you are on a budget, these weekend festivities can really break the bank.
So why don’t you challenge yourself this weekend! Don’t pull out your wallet. Plan ahead. Save your extra money from your paycheck and try to challenge yourself to save it instead.
Skip dinner and drinks with your friends, forego a trip to the museum for a free activity with the family.
Not only will you be saving money, but you will realize that you can have just as much fun by adjusting your spending habits.
Yes, you can still have a fun weekend – even when it’s for FREE.
You’ll be surprised how many activities cost little to nothing, if you just search for them. (Facebook events is a great place to find free or cheap things to do with your kids and family!)
Your bank account will thank you later as you begin to save money each month. And you’ll be surprised at just how much you saved.
So stop spending money, and try your shot at a no spend challenge.
Once you complete a no-spend weekend, you can try your hand at attempting a no-spend week! Completing a no spend week challenge can really add money to your savings account.
What can I do with a week off and no money?
If you aren’t sure what to do on a no spend weekend or no spend week, check out our list below of 100 things to during a no spend challenge to get you started with some great frugal ideas.
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How to have a no spend week, no spend weekend, or even a no spend month
When I first became a stay-at-home mom, money was very tight. We were living on one low income, and had to forego a lot of the activities we were used to doing as a family on a dual income.
I learned how to find things to do for free or cheap quickly, because staying in the house with my kids 24/7 wasn’t an option. After all, I didn’t want us to feel like we were trapped at home because I gave up my job to stay with my kids.
Here is a list of 100 great activities to do with friends or family during a no spend challenge.
- Take a walk around your neighborhood.
- Go swimming – if you do not have a pool, search for a local community pool nearby. Many neighborhood communities may offer one to use for free, and if not, many recreational pools nearby allow you to swim for free or for a very small fee.
- If you live near mountains, go explore them for an afternoon.
- Go to the beach. Nothing is better than laying out in the sun, and listening to the waves crash.
- Binge on your favorite TV shows. This may be a great way to make it through a no-spend weekend! Some of my top favorite binge-able shows right now are Bridgerton, Chicago PD, Cruel Summer, The Umbrella Academy, and Ginny and Georgia.
- Attend a free festival in your town.
- Bake cookies from scratch. You could buy the ready-made dough, but by choosing to bake cookies from scratch, you will find something to do for about a hour or two of your time, and you will be eating healthier cookies than store-bought.
- Take the kids to the park. This is always a no-brainer go-to for most families with kids.
- Visit a friend.
- Visit a local farm.
- Deep clean the house. Nobody likes to do it, but you will accomplish something productive and feel great about it afterwards.
- Go on a hike. Search for local hiking trails nearby and spend the afternoon exploring them.
- Go camping. Take hiking a step further by camping out under the stars.
- Have a yard sale. (Make money!) Go through all of your belongings and find gently used items to sell at a garage sale.
- Go to the library and pick out some books to read.
- Attend a free event at the local library. Did you know the local library holds free activities and events for people of all ages? From story time to crafts to other activities for babies, toddlers, kids, teens, and adults.
- Wash your car.
- Build a fort. Is any childhood complete without memories of making a fort in the living room? Make sure to let your kids sleep in there, too.
- Clean out your car.
- Visit a local flower field.
- Get dressed up and take family photos at a nearby spot such as the beach, flower field, or other pretty location in your town.
- Volunteer. Find a local organization that needs help and donate your time.
- Tour a free museum. Many museums offer free entrance. Some museums may offer free admission on a certain day of the week or month. Others may offer a highly discounted price at certain times of the year. Check your local museums.
- Make a craft. This is my favorite go-to as a stay-at-home mom because Pinterest is my best friend.
- Start a gratitude journal. Write about the things you are grateful for, as well as positive things about your day or week.
- Go for a bike ride.
- Make your meal plan for the week ahead. This actually takes me about a hour anyway, so is a great use of your time always.
- Freeze meals for the week ahead. Spend an afternoon cooking and preparing meals for the upcoming week. You will thank yourself later when it’s time to cook dinner each night and all you have to do is throw your food in the oven, Air Fryer, or Instant Pot.
- Have a family game night. Get out those board games! Our favorites are Charades and Apples to Apples.
- Make a YouTube video or start your own YouTube channel.
- Read a book.
- Try geocaching.
- Do a science experiment using items from your pantry.
- Make some extra cash by taking some surveys at Survey Junkie or playing games with Swagbucks.
- Take a long, relaxing bath. Don’t forget the candles or essential oils.
- Do some yoga or cardio. You can find Yoga and cardio workouts for free on YouTube. We love Yoga with Adrienne.
- Have a picnic at the park.
- Take the kids to a local splash park. There are many free splash parks near our house. Do a Google search to see if you live near one!
- Have a movie night. Pick out your favorite classic movie or find a new one that is streaming. Don’t forget the popcorn.
- Listen to some podcasts. I love listening to rewatch podcasts such as Fake Doctors Real Friends, The Office Deep Dive, and Office Ladies.
- Donate old clothes and toys to Goodwill or the local VA.
- Earn extra cash by creating listings on ThredUp or Ebay to sell used clothing and other items.
- Check Facebook events for your town to see a list of free events that are happening this weekend in your city. (This is one of the most frequent ways we find fun things to do with our kids without spending money! There are free things going on every weekend.)
- Find a new side hustle. (Make money!)
- Find coupons for the grocery stores you typically shop at.
- Take a nap.
- Go fishing.
- Attend a free concert. Check your local listings.
- Practice your photography skills.
- Make a time capsule. This can be really fun to do and look back in on 10 – 20 years from now.
- Try a free trial at a local gym.
- Rearrange the furniture in your house.
- Play video games. This is my husband’s go-to activity because he can continue to socialize with his friends.
- Sunbathe in your backyard.
- Go star-gazing.
- Start or tend to a garden.
- Write in a journal.
- Create a budget.
- Do some yard work.
- Watch the sunrise or sunset.
- Learn a foreign language. Try the free app DuoLingo to get started.
- Take your dog to a dog park.
- Go for a jog.
- Visit a pet store or the local SPCA.
- Plan a scavenger hunt for the kids.
- Have a date night with your spouse at home, by cooking dinner together, having a glass of wine, and watching a movie.
- Plan your next trip.
- Paint or draw a picture.
- Attend a free class at your local craft store.
- Play with bubbles with your kids.
- Play kickball with friends from your neighborhood.
- Do a puzzle or crossword puzzle.
- Let your kids cool down by letting them run through the water sprinklers.
- Set up a slip-n-slide in the backyard.
- Go to church, or attend a church group/event.
- Help a neighbor.
- Catch up on reading your favorite blogs.
- Play Frisbee at the park.
- Play soccer with friends at the park.
- Play a round of Mad Libs.
- Write a blog post.
- Get rid of old clothes and toys from your kids’ rooms.
- Make something out of play-dough with your kids.
- Make homemade slime.
- Play catch with your kids.
- Make a to-do list.
- Clean out your garage.
- Clean out your refrigerator.
- Clean your oven and microwave.
- Take the kids to a free Home Depot workshop. The first weekend of every month, Home Depot hosts a free kids workshop where they can create something using tools, paint, etc. My kids love this!
- Browse Pinterest for creative things to make or do.
- Make a new recipe using the items you already have at home.
- Go window shopping.
- Make a Christmas shopping list.
- Call a friend or family member that lives far away.
- Send a card or letter to the military, military kids, or veterans.
- Watch a YouTube tutorial to learn a new skill.
- Watch a YouTube review/unboxing to check out a new product.
- Browse books at Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million. We like to pick up a few and read/skim them in the café.
- Bake a cake from scratch.
- Take the kids to the mall playground.
- Attend a free high school sports event.
- Give yourself a mani/pedi.
- Work on a home improvement project.
- Write a love letter.
Complete a 30 day no spend challenge
If you are feeling up to it, try attempting a no spend month. Many people like to complete a no spend November or no spend January, to either prepare for Christmas or to recover from the holidays.
By choosing to only spend money on essentials for a full 30 days, you can save more money and put it towards your debt and savings.
Have you completed a no spend week?
What’s your favorite free activity to do? Leave a comment below.
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