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How to Spend Your Weekend without Spending Anything!

How to Spend Your Weekend without Spending Anything!
Written by Irina Vasilescu

The reason why most people look forward to Friday nights is because there’s no work or school the following day. This means that they can spend the entire weekend relaxing somewhere, doing things other than work, seeing friends, spending time with family – the list goes on. If you’re a stressed-out employee, you definitely deserve to give yourself a treat during the weekends.

However, the things that you usually have in mind to spend an enjoyable weekend typically involves money. Let’s say that you are planning to drive just a bit out of town with friends. You need to spend money on gas, food and accommodations – unless you have a specific place where you can stay for free.

Another scenario is having a family outing where you’ll either eat out or watch a movie in a theater. Both these activities require you to spend money.

What if you’re in between pay checks, the weekend is coming up and you would like to still have fun but without having to spend much or anything at all?

There are also times when it’s close to pay day but the weekend is upcoming, so you’re at a loss as to what to do without having to spend anything and stretching your budget.

Fortunately, there are many activities that you can do during the weekend with minimal or no spending involved at all. By implementing a no-spend weekend, you can enjoy the last two days of the week without burning a hole in your pocket.

How Can You Spend Your Weekend on a Budget?

Before counting down the things that you can do on a no-spend weekend, let’s first take a look at what it is, exactly. As the name implies, a no-spend weekend involves spending Friday night, Saturday and Sunday doing fun activities – but without having to spend a single cent.

When implementing a no-spend weekend, there are a few things that you should think about.

Number one: why are you going for such a program in the first place? As mentioned earlier, it could be that you are in-between pay checks and you have no more money to spend, but you still want to spend some quality time with your loved ones.

Number two: you are trying to save up for a major purchase or even your kids’ college education, so you are trying to cut back on the family’s entertainment expenses.

Number three: you could be planning a grander vacation so you are putting away money on a travel fund.

No matter what the reason is behind your need to have a no-spend weekend, there are a few rules that you should follow for it to succeed.

First, know the reason why you are having a no-spend weekend in the first place.

Second, make sure that the entire household is involved. If you’re the wife and you planned not to spend any money at all but it turns out that your husband planned for you to go out to the movies, you will not experience any savings at all.

The third rule is that you should not use your credit card, checking account or even your wallet.

The only things that you will spend on during a no-spend weekend are the things that you already allotted a budget for. This includes your food for the entire weekend. Once the weekend is over, you can go back to your normal spending habits. Whatever amount you managed to save for the weekend, you can put towards your other financial goals.

Things to Do on a No-Spend Weekend

Now, what exactly are the activities that you can do during the weekend which will not require you to spend any money, or very little cash, if at all? Take a look at the following list:

Organize a potluck dinner

If you think that a no-spend weekend means not seeing other people because you can’t go outside and spend money, think again. You can actually invite friends or relatives over for a potluck dinner. Whatever you have planned to cook for the family during the weekend will be prepared so you don’t have to spend extra money.

Then, the people who you will invite over will bring their own food to contribute to the feast, and you can bond the night away!

Have a board games night

Instead of having the kids stare at their mobile phones, laptop computers or tablets all day long, bring out those old board games and have them actually interact with each other. Monopoly, scrabble and other board games are fun while also giving them strategic and mind-sharpening skills. You don’t have to spend anything at all when having a board games night.

Binge-watch your favorite TV shows

Okay, you would have to spend a bit on electricity use when binge-watching your favorite TV shows. But it is definitely cheaper to do so at home than to go out to the movies. Play catch-up on the latest episodes of your favorite TV shows – be it that medical drama or sci-fi show that everyone’s talking about. The websites of the networks would usually have some free episodes up, so you don’t even need to pay anything for the shows.

Check out your local community calendar

During the good-weather months, most local communities organize free events like outdoor concerts, fairs, cook-offs, sing-offs and similar activities. These are usually organized by the local community officers and you can also check out the church-led activities. You can simply pack some snacks from your own kitchen so you don’t have to buy anything, then enjoy the activities for free.

Play catch-up with friends

When you’re busy at work or if the kids are always in school, you sometimes fail to keep in touch with friends and relatives. During a no-spend weekend, play catch up and give those who you haven’t heard from in a long while a quick hello via e-mail, text or social media. You’ll be surprised at how much you miss the people who aren’t that much a part of your life anymore.

Have a general house cleaning session

What better way is there to spend a no-spending weekend than with a general house cleaning session? Once the weekend is over, you will feel like you’re living in new domestic quarters. You can even grab the opportunity to sort out the things that you aren’t using anymore and make money out of them by selling them online, or at a garage sale.

Enjoy the great outdoors

If you have a bike, a basketball, volleyball, Frisbee, badminton or even just running shoes, you can spend the weekend doing something sporty. Enjoy the great outdoors by going on a short hike with the family. The fresh air would do you a world of good, and you can pack a picnic basket using the stuff that you already have in your kitchen. You can also go biking, swimming, or play a game at a local park.

Dig out those old cookbooks and experiment with old and new recipes

Whether or not you have a flair for cooking, you can easily dig out those old cookbooks and try your mom’s recipes. Using the ingredients that you already have in the pantry, experiment with old and new dishes. Cooking and preparing meals is a surprisingly relaxing activity, and you can have fun by competing against each other when it comes to plating and presentation.

Get crafty

Gather the kids together and bring out those art materials so that you can get crafty. You can simply doodle stuff as an artwork, create a scrapbook using old family pictures, make some do-it-yourself craft items – the list of what you can come up with are practically endless.

Volunteer

If you haven’t done volunteering in such a long time, a no-spend weekend is the best way to squeeze it in. Get in touch with the local soup kitchen or home in your area and ask how you can volunteer. Sometimes, you don’t even need to go far – there should be elderly or less fortunate individuals in your area who can do with your time or help.

Discover new music

Websites like Spotify and Last.Fm feature new artists who you can listen to during your idle time. If you don’t feel like listening to new artists, simply load the songs from the classics or dance the weekend away with some hip-hop tunes.

Visit your local library or museum

Libraries have a load of resources that you can use for free. Aside from books, you can also borrow DVDs, magazines, e-books or use the Internet for free. You can spend the entire day poring through the pages of classic books, or borrow one to read at home. Just make sure to return them on time so you won’t be charged with penalties.

Organize your office or personal files

If there’s an enormous amount of clutter in your home office or bedroom, the weekend is the best time to organize your files. This way, it will be easier to find something once you need them.

As you can see, there are plenty of no-cost yet still fun activities that you can do during the weekend. If all else fails, a good nap will do you a world of good if you can’t find anything worthy to do during your no-spending weekend.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.

23 Comments

  • Funnily enough, I do some of these things already — But I highly recommend all of them. Going outside and biking around or just sitting in and marathoning HIMYM or Breaking bad (What? I can’t help that netflix has replaced regular TV for me) is amazing. But really, the volunteering seems like a great idea, because nothing beats making poor homeless people smile and have a warm belly. 🙂 I guess I’ve always been a sucker for helping others, lol.

    • Binging Netflix (or whatever equivalent service you prefer) must be one of the best ways to spend time without really spending anything additional. I think most people that use a subscription service will already be paying for it regardless as a cost-cutting measure, so it isn’t like it’s an additional expenditure solely for that particular weekend’s usage.

      You get to spend some time with an SO, friends, family or even just alone while getting to sample a wide variety of entertainment. What’s not to like?

      • I’m a netflix fan too and it’s great for the binge-watching nights. A friend of ours with HBO records/saves a show we all enjoy without watching it. When he has a few, we go over to visit him, cook, and watch a few episodes of the show. He jokes that we should be helping pay for the hbo subscription.

        Combining enjoying the great outdoors with a potluck is also a great way to have a healthy group gathering. Grill food you would have bought for a meal anyway and let them bring dishes to share. Then you can all play frisbee or go hiking or enjoy the beach together.

    • Me too! I swear, this list is pretty much a list of my favorite activities. Binging TV , playing games, having dinner with friends, being crafty– in my case, knitting, drawing and writing — and hitting the library are stuff I would be happy to do every day for the rest of my life! I have no idea why I would enjoy going shopping for clothes to go to a paying nightclub and waste a ton of money on drinks… Sounds like the opposite of fun for me.
      (HIMYM = love. Love TM 😀 )

  • Amusingly enough, I find myself doing no-spend weekends on a regular basis. Whether I have money available to spend or not, I prefer staying at home. I like catching up on work, watching TV shows, and just lounging around. I learned a long time ago that I don’t need to spend money in order to enjoy my weekends, which is something I think everyone could benefit from learning.

    • I find that often times not spending money on the weekend helps me unwind more than say going out to an event of some sort. The subtle stresses of planning a weekend excursion (and then dealing with the costs associated with it) can often eat away at me.

      The spend-free weekends allow me an opportunity to unwind without needing to worry about anything at all aside from just enjoying time for the sake of enjoying time “free” time.

      • “The subtle stresses of planning a weekend excursion (and then dealing with the costs associated with it) can often eat away at me.”

        Yes! I’m glad you captured that in words! I feel like this sometimes but it’s not something I have actually verbalised.

        I completely agree that a lot of the time it can be much more enjoyable and less stressful to kick back and do these no-cost weekends rather than plan special activities that can be stressful (including spending on them!)

  • Love this article! So many people do not realize that they do not have to spend large amounts of money in order to enjoy themselves. In a lot of instances you do not have to spend any money at all. My family can be perfectly content enjoying each other’s company spending quality time together at home or participating in low/no cost activities.

    • Lots of people tend to lose sight of this. Being bored is a decision you make. There’s hours of amusement just waiting to be discovered in the average home. Looking through old photos with family, teaching your children to cook, taking the family out on a bike ride. The possibilities are endless.

      What’s even better, is that it encourages eating in. Which can translate into healthier food choices if you let it.

  • This is exactly the type of thing I need to do! I’ve tried a digital detox, which kept me off the internet and freed up some head space. But I think this would have similar benefits. Aside from the obvious money saving, it will also make me a bit more aware of what I aimlessly spend money on and a bit more focused on tracking down alternatives.

  • I think what makes for an enjoyable and relaxing weekend will vary drastically from person to person depending on a huge host of factors. Your demographics will really dictate your interests and preferences, and while many of the recommendations in the article are universal, there are still some that would be suitable to certain age groups.

    One thing that wasn’t directly mentioned (though may be related to boardgames) is playing video games. They’re a great social activity that allows you to socialize, often times with friends and family that aren’t even in the same geographical area.

  • My Friday evenings are spent on the couch curled up to my television set or the computer. Call me boring but i have come to realize that staying home is one of the cheapest method of saving these days everything out there is more expensive. I live alone and i do not cook everyday, when i do cook it is always something that i really love so eating left overs from it is not bad. If i am craving the company of others i go visit my parents a few blocks away and talk with them a little then i get back to my television set.

  • I’m quite lucky that I am within a walking distance from my local community centre. They usually have many fun activities planned, and I’m actually thinking about getting a job there. Otherwise, my free weekends usually consist of Netflix and computer games. It’s cold outside.

  • I do most of this already! But for me it comes down to my lifestyle. I pretty much am a homebody. The only time I go out is if its with my boyfriend, to the store or to visit family or friends which isn’t often. At home I easily find entertainment over the internet or playing games I already own. Or going for a walk. There is tons you can do that cost nothing. from the comfort of your own home. 🙂

  • These are excellent ideas. I personally play a lot of video games when I’m trying to save money and I also peruse my favourite websites.

    It’s also nice to call up friends and have long conversations while cleaning the house. That way, you’ve saved money, talked with a buddy and you now have a clean house! Win!

  • I love these ideas! Most of my “money-free” weekends consist of binge-watching some Netflix or reading, but it’s so nice to see some social suggestions on here, like having a potluck or going to a museum. Think I might just have to try the later this weekend! 😉

    Think one of my favorite things to do are take ideas like this and make them sort of “fancy” for myself — like why just watch movies when I can pick out a theme, invite over a few friends, drag out the blankets and pillows, tell everyone to bring their favorite candy, and call it a REAL marathon?

  • Potluck dinners are always a great idea – as long as people bring something you like, that is! With the economy in it’s current state, I think half the world stays in and watches Netflix these days. I also enjoy using the library as books are too expensive to buy these days.

  • Great article – you have some really interesting ideas for a fun week-end without spending. For my husband and I, being on a fixed income means lots of week-ends without spending. We’ve found that we are do’ers, we like being out and about. For us, hiking is a great way to spend the day and we’re lucky to have several state parks that only a few miles away. We also like to just walk around the neighborhood, it gives us quality time together to talk and enjoy each others company. Hobbies are a great way to relax but some can be very expensive. I’ve found a type of drawing, called zentangle (the zen art of doodling), that is really fun – anyone can do it (you don’t need to be an artist) and all you need is a sketch pad, pen and pencil. It’s relaxing, creative and really gets rid of stress. Also, a romantic evening at home can be great too! A few candles, a cheap bottle of wine, maybe a bubble bath – you get the idea. No matter what you choose to do, have fun.

  • I love how most of those ideas involve spending more time with people than many if the expensive activities you could be doing would. Being with your friends and family is so much more valuable than sprnt activities b

  • Board games night is a fun idea. I’ve never been one for Tabletop games before until a friend of mine introduced me to a game called Quirckle. It ended up being so fun we did it a couple of nights in a row. Soon we tried other games as well: Settlers of Catan, Alhambra, Tokaido, Takenoko, Lords of Waterdeep, you name it. The varieties of tabletop games are endless. It also has the added bonus of bringing your friends together.

  • House cleaning, getting crafty, discovering new music and organizing personal files are the things I would love to do in the weekend. People said I’m an all work lady but you know what they are wrong. I don’t feel tired after I have done it. I actually feel good. I feel light, happy and fulfilled. The uniqueness of me! 🙂

  • Some really great ideas here. I especially appreciate the cleaning and clutter clearing ideas. These have benefits beyond just not spending for the weekend. When the house is in shape, I enjoy being home more. When clutter is cleared, it is easier to find the things that I like to do. Hmmm, 1 money saving activity leads to another.

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