Ever since we got married, we would declare January as an entire month of No Spend. It was right after the holidays after we just got done with putting a bruising on our personal finances, we would shut down all spending for the entire month and at the same time slow down life.
During this time, we would spend getting our life back in order, organizing our life, pay off any bills that we could and honestly just relax. It was during this time that we would come up with some pretty creative ideas to occupy the time but without spending money.
At the end of January, we would have things back in order and prepared for what’s next. For you, it doesn’t have to be a month worth of time. Maybe just a weekend to get started. So for this weekend you make a pack that your not going to spend a dime and truly make it a No Spend weekend. You will come out of it relaxed, with a few extra dollars in your pocket and ready to face the world again.
Here is my list of NO SPEND weekend ideas:
Family Movie Night
I can’t tell you how many of these we have had. Pop in a DVD or turn on the TV and see what’s on, pop some microwavable popcorn from the cupboard and curl up on the couch next to those that you love.
Potluck Dinner Party
Invite some friends over and ask everyone to bring their favorite dish to share with everyone. If you invite enough people, you find yourself surrounded with all kinds of good food and friends to ear the night away.
If you like to hike and sleep in a tent, then this one is for you. Go out into the woods and find a path that takes you through fields and streams. Find a random place to pitch a tent and nestle in with those that you love for the night.
Walk in the Park
There are always parks to visit in every community around the world. Not only will you get some needed exercise for your body, you will get some fresh air while you are at it to rejuvenate your soul.
Go to the Playground
Take a step back into your childhood and take your partner and go play on the swings and playground. Go slide down that slide and have some no spend fun!
Play outdoor sporting activities
Go shoot some hoops with some friends, play corn hole in the back yard, lawn darts, lawn bowling or go to the local tennis courts to play with your friend.
Hiking local trails
If you have never before, research your local area for interesting hiking trails that may be around you. In our area we have the Cuyahoga National Park system and it has amazing trails and a tow path where you can hike for miles.
Tour a museum
Our local art museum is free here in Ohio. Research your local areas and see what museums that might be around you that are free of charge.
Wine and Craft Night
Invite your friends over one night and ask them to bring a bottle of wine to share. Either have them each bring a craft to share or provide one out of your crafting archives.
For those into Scrap Booking, this is huge where we are at. There are local meet ups and I know plenty of our friends who do scrap booking all the time. Now this could get expensive to gather all of the materials here, but it’s assumed that you already have plenty of supplies in your house that you have bought over the years rather than spending money.
What family does not have a stack of board games laying around their house. We probably have a good 20 board games laying around that we have pulled on many times in no spend weekends.
Flour, Sugar, Vanilla and a few other ingredients and you have a baking show on your hands for a few hours of baking with friends. Bring your friends over and have them bring enough ingredients to make their own special cookie recipe. At the end of the night, everyone shares each others cookies.
Indoor Forts are Fun
If you have kids (or if you don’t), use your creative skills to erect the largest indoor fort that you can muster up. Pull every blanket, cushion and pillow together to make one awesome fort. Have fun in life! Don’t take life so seriously.
Spend Quality time with your Kids
Pull out toys that haven’t been played with in awhile, spend that precious time with your kids because they will soon grow up and move out of your house. Make sure you are bonding with them while they are young. They will both appreciate the time and will grow up to be much more well adjusted adults.
For those that like video games, this is a great way to kill hours of time. I can’t say it’s a real productive time, but sometimes just having some fun in life isn’t a bad thing. If you like to go a little retro or vintage, maybe pull out some of the older gaming systems that you haven’t played in years. See if you can still beat that game you played years ago.
Play a Sport
If you are in school, look for some local sporting activities. Even as adults, there are many local groups that you can join that regularly play sports for fun. Whether it be a soft ball league or a friendly game of volleyball, if you look hard enough you will find like minded people that would love to play a friendly game for fun.
Not too far from our home, there is a state park that has a lake and a beach that the public is welcome to swim right off the sandy beach. They even have grills that you can pack a lunch and have a grilled out picnic.
De-clutter your home
There is nothing more clensing to me that to take an area of the house to clean and de-clutter. It’s quite a task taking it on, but once it’s over you will feel much more refreshed knowing your home is in order.
We had a room in our basement that still had boxes from when we moved in 5 years ago. A few months ago we went down there a pulled all kinds of things out of there and donated most of the items. We then built some shelves for what remained. Now I can walk into that storage area and find anything very quickly.
Binge Watch your Favorite TV Series
Ready to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix all weekend long? Well here is your chance!
Learn a New Language
If you ever plan to travel abroad once you saved up some money. Well here is your chance to make sure you are well versed in the local language. There are a number of sites, even YouTube, where you can pick up a language over time with practice.
Listen or Watch Podcasts
If you have an iPhone, you have a massive collection of knowledge at your fingertips to tap into on almost any subject that you can think of. The best part of it is that Podcasts don’t cost you a dime.
Read a Book
For me there is something relaxing about curling up on the sofa or out on the lawn listening to the birds while reading a good book. It’s a peaceful journey for me.
Organize your Finances and Set Goals with your Partner
What better time to organize all your finances than on a no spend weekend with the one that you love. Take the time to talk through your plans for the future and set achieveable goals together that you would like to shoot for. Most importantly, make sure you write those goals down and tape them to the door that you leave every morning. This will help remind you of the promise that you made to your partner.
Go to a Library
Libraries are often forgotten about in this day of the digital age. But libraries still exist and they hold all kinds of interesting things to discover and it’s all free. Check out your local library for meet up groups and local events that are usually held each weekend.
Plan a Picnic
I love going on a walk in the park and breaking out a blanket in the summer to have a lunch with that special someone. You have to eventually eat, so why not have lunch on an adventure in the wild.
Go on a Bike Ride
We do this all the time in the summer. There is miles and miles of Tow Paths around us here in Ohio. These are all level terrain that go for miles and miles and miles. A great way to spend a Saturday getting some much needed exercise.
Learn a New Skill
With being equipped with YouTube and the internet, you are able to take on all kinds of new skills. Learn a new recipe, learn how to play the guitar or maybee you want to know how to crochet. If you look hard enough, you will find plenty of people on the internet that will show you how it’s done for free.
Play around in the Garden
If you plant a garden, there is always something you can do to do up keep on the garden or your landscaping outside. Grab a lemonade and just enjoy being outside.
Have a Garage Sale
What an awesome idea! Not only are you not spending money, you are actually making money from people coming over to take things off your hands that you don’t need anyways. Just a little effort on your part and you have earned a few extra money that you didn’t have before.
Tackle the Nagging To Do List
I don’t know about you, but I constantly have a running to do list in my mind that I know I need to eventually get to. Start the weekend off by writing them all down on paper organized by the highest priority item on top. Start at the top and just start knocking them all off the list one by one.
Plan a Date
A date doesn’t have to cost money. Over a given year, we end up gathering a number of gift cards from gifts that people give us through out the year. When we have our no spend January every year, if we decide to plan a date we look at what gift cards we have and we go there.
For whatever reason, we end up with a lot of Starbucks gift cards as well. So maybe the date just consists of taking a trip to the local Starbucks for a cup of coffee and a good conversation.
We love festivals through out the year. Here in Ohio I often visit a local festivals web site that lists all the festivals going on this weekend and they provide in depth reviews of each one of them. We have 100’s of free festivals in Ohio each year.
There is one going on almost every weekend so plenty of fun to explore for free. Anything from the German festival with local bands that come in or local community festivals where you meet up with all your neighbors that are in town.
All you need is a fishing rod and some bait and off you go to fetch a fish in the lake. This is always fun to do with a friend or spouse along side a peaceful lake. Make sure to pack a lunch!
Exercise, Practice Yoga or Meditation
There are plenty of opportunities to get your body moving or calm yourself through meditation. Spend some time on yourself this weekend and make your body feel great!
Take a Nap
You spend all week running from this one thing to this next thing. Take some time for yourself on the weekend and just close your eyes for a few hours for a much needed nap.
Explore a new part of your City
I have lived in Ohio my whole life, but I can tell you there are plenty of places in our local city that I have not explored. Take some time to go explore some of these bustling areas and see what’s out there.
Start a Blog
Be sure to read my blog post on the 4 simple steps I recommend to build out your blog. If you put your mind to it, you also have the potential to make a lot of money by authoring a blog.
Clean the House
A clean house is a happy house, as they say. Get your house and your life organized. Your future self will thank you.
There are always groups within your community or church that could use your help through volunteering. Not only is it free to do, you are also helping others in the process which is awesome.
Brew your favorite cup of coffee
Go brew your favorite cup of coffee or tea and go sit out on the deck. If you want, bring a magazine, book or paper to read.
There is something about going out in your back yard or a field some where, putting a blanket down at night and just staring up into the sky and watching the stars. I love doing this during the summer.
Go to your local mall or local festival and people watch.
Clean out the Garage
I don’t know what happens in our garage, but over time and if it’s ignored for any period of time, it will quickly become disorganized. In the summer it will even get to the point to where you can’t fit both cars in the garage. This is a problem! Time to clean out the garage.
Plan your next vacation or even better Staycation
Sit down and explore all the things that you could do on your next vacation. There are times where I will just go research different travel options around the world, even though I know I’m not even planning a vacation. Maybe you could just call it dreaming, but its fun to explore what this world offers.
Meet up with an old Friend
With life and all, sometimes its hard to stay in touch with all your friends. Take this weekend and reach out to someone and ask if they would like to just come over and chat and hang out. Maybe take that Starbucks gift card that you got for your birthday and take your friend out for a coffee on you.
Research ways to make extra income
Like building your own blog like I have. There are plenty of other ways to side hustle and earn extra income.
Attend a free class at your local hardware or craft store
Often your local hardware or craft store will hold free sessions in store to help demonstrate new techniques or products where you can participate in. There are even craft projects that are free for kids too. For example, Home Depot has a program for kids once a month.
Learn to play an instrument
I want to learn how to play the guitar. It’s something I have had on my list for awhile now. This could be your opportunity to pick up a new musical instrument and learn it. Maybe learn the piano.
Go to Church
If it’s been awhile since you have been at church and you have been wanting to go back. Make weekend the time to go back and spend some time. A lot of our local church’s have daily services that you can attend.
Have an in home Spa Day
Break out the Epsom salts, light some candles, turn on some soft music and just relax in the tub. Spend time pampering yourself for once.
Go fly a Kite
Find a kite around the house and go out in the back yard and see if you can get it to fly.
Take up photography
All you need is a descent camera and something to aim at. Go out and see what you can capture for the day. Your phone’s camera might just be sufficient enough as well.
Go Visit Family and Friends
Make an unexpected stop at the parents and spend some quality time with them. Life is short, your family matters so spend some time with them.
That’s my exhaustive list of things that we have tried over the years. What type of No Spend weekends have you had in your family?