10 Things to Do Instead of Spending Money

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! Having a holiday on a Tuesday is pretty odd (especially when you have work the day before and after), but nonetheless, it was nice to have the day off!

The past couple weeks have been so much fun – but also very expensive. Between my birthday (which obviously comes with extra self-spoiling), a stay in Orlando for the BlogHer conference, and booking a trip to Boston next month, my poor wallet could use a break!

Whether you’re looking to have a no-spend day, week, or month to either save or replenish your bank account(s), here are 10 things you can do instead of spending money.


1. Have a Netflix Binge-Watch

This is something I do regularly already, but hey, if you’re trying to save some extra dough, this is a great alternative to going out to the movies. And don’t worry about finding the same ol’ stuff to watch. Netflix is churning out original content like you wouldn’t believe!

2. Learn a New Skill

Is there something new you’ve been wanting to learn? This is the perfect time to watch some videos or work through a course you signed up for! If you’re getting a little stir crazy, check to see if a local store has a free educational event going on (stores like Apple and Home Depot have these all the time)!

3. Read a Book

Free entertainment right here! This is the perfect opportunity to pick up a book (or two) from your shelf and finally get to reading! Admittedly, I’ve been slacking on my reading (again), but am ready to get back to it. Next up for me are Into the Water (from the author of The Girl on the Train) and The Handmaid’s Tale (SO hooked on the Hulu show)!

4. De-Clutter + Donate/Sell Unwanted Items

When’s the last time you went through your closet or drawers around the house? Chances are there’s a TON of stuff sitting there that you either haven’t used in ages or haven’t used EVER. Time to let it go. This could even result in you making money if you’re able to sell things off, or act as a tax write-off if you’re donating.

5. Clean the House

Put a good playlist on and bust out the cleaning supplies! While you’re the basics of cleaning, this might be a good time to change the air filter and dust the baseboards/fans!

6. Attend a Free Local Movie/Music Event

During the summer there are free events (usually at a park) featuring movies or music ALL THE TIME. Look up your city (or one nearby) to see what kind of free events you can enjoy!

7. Tackle At-Home Projects

You know that never-ending list of home projects you’ve been thinking about? This is a great time to tackle them! It doesn’t have to be anything significant (because that’s where money comes in), but there’s always plenty to be done! For me, these are things like hanging up pictures, and unpacking those last few boxes of clothes (mostly winter things) from the move.

8. Volunteer at a Local Charity

Nobody said you need to lock yourself in the house when you’re on a spending freeze! Kill the time by donating your time to a local charity. It won’t cost you a penny and you’ll leave feeling really good from giving back!

9. Reach Out to Long-Distance Friends/Family

We live busy lives, so keeping up with friends and family can be challenging, especially when they live far away. Set aside some time for a phone call or FaceTime date with your loved ones to catch up on life!

10. Plan Your Next Vacation

Saving the best for last, am I right?! I LOVE to plan trips and spend quite a bit of time researching. Although you won’t actually be on the trip just yet, this is a great weekend to gauge where your next trip should be, or if it’s already confirmed, start nailing specifics down for what you want to do.


What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re trying to be money conscious?

  • Alissa Carpenter

    We decluttered last weekend and it was amazing! Not only did we not spend money but were able to make some money at our yard sale and selling at a thift store!

  • I feel like I spend so much time planning my next trip, lol!! I really need to sell/consign the clothes I’m not wearing.

    • I know the feeling, haha. Where’s your next trip to?! And YES that’s what I’m working on too. If they’re not getting worn, may as well make some money!

  • Decluttering and spending freezes definitely go hand in hand for me. I get the house so organized and clean when I’m not spending money!

    • Love it! Last time I planned to clean I got sucked into a Netflix binge, haha. Not starting any more binges until the cleaning gets done :)

  • I love this! I am such a minimalist. And I’m always trying to find ways to save more money, spend less and just participate in hobbies that don’t cost my entire savings haha

    The Felicia Renee | a minimalist lifestyle & beauty blog

    • Thank you! I’m with you, Felicia. Things add up so quickly! Have you found any low-cost hobbies?

      • Yes! I love to read, so I just rent books from the library. I also enjoy coloring, like a little kid haha So I bought an adult coloring book for $5 and I already have markers, coloring pencils, etc from middle school that still work!

  • Anna Hubbard

    Love this list, especially since I have an unpaid internship this summer! I def do my fair share of Netflix bingeing!

  • IamBryant

    I am living back in my small town this summer while doing an internship before going back for my senior year of college in August, and this post is great for me because my small town has nothing to do compared to my college town, so this posts has given me some great ideas.

    • So glad to hear it! I hope your internship goes well + that you’re able to make the most of your summer with these things!

  • Kori Evans

    These are all such great ideas! I live in a very small town, and they actually do free movies in the park! Love it!

    • Thanks, Kori! So glad to hear your town offers free movies in the park. So fun! Any you’re planning to see this summer?

  • These are great tips! I love a good Netflix binge whenever I have time and don’t feel like spending money going to the movies :)

    Kristen | http://www.sophisticatedgal.com

  • I definitely try and look for ways to save money because I am SO good at spending it (; I like to read books, go on hikes or take my dog to the dog park!

    • Haha, I too, am good at spending money! Those sound like great things to do when you’re trying to reign in the spending. Have you read any good books lately?

  • thesophiadiaries

    These are great things to be doing, although I don’t agree that all of these activities don’t require money xD

    • Some can definitely cost money, but you can also find ways to do them for free :)

  • Adriana

    I love this! Binge watching and cleaning/donating are my favorites, they’re great ideas!

  • Leah Hall

    Great ideas! We love to save money any way we can, especially with 2 growing little boys who eat everything in sight! Thanks for the great post!

    • Thanks, Leah! I think things are expensive just for myself sometimes – I can’t imagine how crazy it is for the whole fam! I know when the time comes, I’ll be doing even more of these!

  • Dia

    All of these are great ideas. I love a good Netflix binge. I also love when I stumble across live events. I live in San Antonio and the city has such a great culture and team spirit (go spurs go).

    • Thanks, Dia! Any fave shows on Netflix? So great that your city has a lot to do too! I wish I made it to San Antonio when I lived in Texas for a summer!

  • Were trying to save money so we can get a house so we’ll be doing a lot of these for the next 9 months haha.

    • Nothing wrong with that! Any luck with house hunting yet?

  • My favourite thing to do is watch some Netflix or look around on the blogosphere. There’s always something to do! I can write a post, reply to comments, send emails or play around on Twitter. Great ideas!

    • You’re so right! I’m glad we have so many options for entertainment when we’re looking to save!

  • Great ideas! I shop way too much and try to cut down right now because we want to move soon. So I always go to dance and yoga classes (already prepaid for those) and go hiking, swimming or laying in the sun with friends! :)

    • Thanks, Theresa! I feel like moving is the best time to get that decluttering/tossing of things done! Love that you’ve found some awesome things to keep you busy without spending extra!

  • Ashley Vickney

    This is great! We do a lot of Netflix haha, we also love to just walk around our neighborhood! Saving this so the next time I’m bored I can use it haha!

    • Totally fine, I think we all watch an embarrassing amount of Netflix, haha. Love the idea of going on more walks around the neighborhood! I can’t wait until later this year when it’s nice enough to go for longer walks. Summer in FL is tough!

  • haha you basically described my life! haha i love to save money so i always opt for these options instead of going out or shopping.

    • That’s great! I’ve been go-go-go so much lately that I haven’t been as good about it. I’m looking forward to a very low-key weekend ahead!

  • Azanique

    I love this! I spend so much time spending money – it’s awful. I love tackling home projects!

    – xo, Azanique | http://www.lotsofsass.com

    • You and me both, Azanique! Do you have any big home projects coming up?

  • Absolutely loved this post! I also like to take advantage of free exercise (like taking a walk or watching instructional Youtube videos) when I’m saving!

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

    • Thank you! Those are great ideas too! I didn’t think about the free workout videos on YouTube!

  • Something I like to do is keep an ongoing list of things I want and need to do, but haven’t really allotted time for. When I feel like I need to do something, I can pick from that list. It keeps me from randomly shopping just because I’m bored haha! Love this list!

    • Ah, yes! That’s such a great idea. I always think I’m going to remember all the things but that’s definitely not the case. Writing them down is so helpful!

  • This is such a good list! For sure things that people need to keep in mind when they don’t feel like spending money

  • mckenna bleu

    I love finding free things to do in my town especially with music!

    • Me too! Live music is the best, and it’s even better when it’s free :)

  • Great tips! I’ve been trying to declutter the house for the longest time. It always gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list!

    • Thanks, Maryanne! I know the feeling. Every time I plan to do it I get sucked into a Netflix binge and it’s always “just one more episode…” ha.

  • Sky Fisher

    I love this list as this is something I’m currently working on. I just got Netflix again so I’ve been binge-watching Heartland and I’m thinking about some DIY projects I can work on!

    • Thanks, Sky! Netflix has been coming out with so many awesome originals – it’s been hard to keep up!

  • Lol I am going to LIVE by this list this weekend #brokeasajoke

    • Hope you’re able to save some money up :) I know I need to do a lot of these too!

  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE to clean and declutter. It’s my favorite thing to do besides shop!

    • That’s great! And pretty funny – they’re basically complete opposites, haha!

  • These are all great ideas. Too often, I get cabin fever and end up at Wal-Mart or Target just to get out of the house…and lo and behold, $5 here and $5 there is spent.

    • Thanks, Tayler! I know how that goes! If I’m feeling the urge I’ll try to suck myself into a Netflix binge, but then there goes 5 hours.. haha.

  • I needed to read this! I’m trying to save but is really hard!

    • I know the feeling, Melissa! Cutting back on dining out has helped me a lot, as well as doing many of the things on this list. I hope you’re able to find a strategy that works for you!

  • Olivia Stacey

    Such a great list and so savvy! I love the idea of volunteering at a local charity. This post is a wonderful reminder that we don’t have to spend money to enjoy life’s pleasures.

  • I definitely need to clean house and de clutter instead of going out this weekend! Reading blogs is one of my other favorite things to do in the downtime that’s free!

    • Such a good one! I go through super busy phases where I don’t have much time to get all of my blog reading in and then other times where it’s blog reading binge time, haha.

  • Clean the house… such a good one that everyone seems to put off haha. I’m actually cleaning tonight – we have a guest this weekend!

    • So true! Somehow cleaning always gets bumped to the very bottom of the to-do list, haha. I hope you had a great time with your guest in town!

  • hal

    reading a book is a big one for me – i love reading but rarely make time for it – it can take me an embarrassingly long time to get through a book!

    • I have the same problem! The stack of books on my shelf I’ve been wanting to read is crazy. I either finish a book in a day or several months, haha.

  • Ash Neverson

    Loving all of these. Anything to save money!

  • Shani Ogden

    Love these ideas! I’m at home a lot of days with my kids and do some of these already, but I need to be better about staying in touch with family and friends (and not just through social media. ;) )

    • Thanks, Shani! The staying in touch one is tough! FaceTime is my fave way to catch up, when possible!

  • Mikaela Fleisher

    All of these are great ideas! I really need to declutter.

    • Ah, decluttering seems to be the never-ending project. Just when you finish a new pile pops up :)

  • Miss ALK

    I’m def on a budget this summer so love this list!! :-)

    xoxo A

    • Thank you! I hope you’re able to take advantage of it and save some money up!

  • These are such great ideas! I’m such a homebody, so I generally grab a book, watch some TV, or go crazy and organize everything haha.

    • Thanks, Cameron! I love doing all of those things too (although Netflix has been winning out over books lately)! Any fave book/show recs?

      • Other than catching up on the latest season of Reign no haha. I just finished A.J. Messenger’s Guardian series, but wouldn’t recommend unless you’re really struggling to find something to read. If you haven’t read Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series yet you definitely should – it’s one my my recent favorites!

  • Amy

    SUch great ideas! I’ve been trying to budget my money better this summer and def getting lots of needed apartment cleaning done!


    Amy | Pastel N Pink

    • Thanks, Amy! I feel like summer is one of the worst times of the year when it comes to money since everyone’s out on vacation or wanting to do things because of nice weather. Those low-key weekends at home are much-needed :)

  • I like to read and catch up on blogs as a way not to spend money. Of course, that doesn’t always help because bloggers seem to be constantly rounding up their favorite products and then I end up wanting those, ha ha.

    • That’s a good one! I know I have a lot of catching up on blog reading to do! But you’re SO right. There are so many good product recs, especially when the big sales (like Nordstrom) happen!

  • I hated having the 4th on a Tuesday this year–it’s like we had two Mondays this week! Booooo. I wholeheartedly agree with the last one: I LOVE planning new trips even if it’s just the preliminary research. :)

    • Ugh, seriously! And YES always planning for trips :) What do you have planned next?

      • We’re headed to Puerto Rico in early September, and I REALLY need to start getting my plans in order! My husband is running a series of races while we’re there, so there are some things I have to work around. I’m excited to dive into the planning! :)

  • I swear every day, Netflix is recommending a new Netflix Original to me, and they all look so good! It’s kind of insane how fast they’re putting stuff out! Love this list though!

    • Oh I know! It’s been so hard to keep up with it all but I’m loving all of the originals they’re putting out!

  • tannawings

    There are actually tons of things to do instead of spending money. We enjoy time outside. Taking a walk either in the neighborhood or on one of the nearby trails is always a good diversion and burns off energy. I also need to work on decluttering.

    • Such a great idea! I’m out on walks all the time in the fall/winter since that’s when the weather gets a little cooler in FL. Summertime is tough!

  • Mary Williams

    These are some really good ideas of things to do instead of spending money. I try to think of things to do with my boys that don’t cost us money as we have been on a tight budget.

    • Thanks, Mary! I’m glad we have so many options (although sometimes it can be tough to resist the urge to spend)!