Fun Things to Do in Your Spare Time that Cost Virtually Nothing

Add these budget-friendly activities to your calendar to save money while staying occupied.

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Whether you’re in for a long weekend or trying to figure out how to spend your time off work, add some budget-friendly activities to your calendar so you don’t have to fret about your finances. A little planning and creativity is all it takes to keep costs low and still make the most of your experience. You can explore new interests, indulge in a hobby, and enjoy time with friends and family at a little to no cost.

Here are seven ideas to get you started:

1. Check out community events. Discover what’s happening in your town or a nearby city by checking the Chamber of Commerce or city events website. Many community activities are free for local residents and can be a fun way to meet new people and try new things.

2. Go hiking at a state park. Besides the low admission fees, a hiking trip through a state park or national park can be a great outdoor activity for adventure enthusiasts. Head off on a hiking or trekking adventure with friends, and don’t forget to bring a camera to capture some of the scenic views. It’s also a good workout.

3. Play board games. Playing board games may seem old-fashioned, but this can be a great ice breaker at a get-together and a fun group activity. You could have a group of friends bring their favorite board games to a low-key party, and put together a menu of homemade appetizers and treats. Host this event potluck style so everyone can pitch in and to keep costs low.

4. Take a self-guided walking tour of a town or city. Put together your own walking tour of your own town or a nearby locale to explore some of the area sites and attractions from a fresh perspective. You’ll be amazed at how many things you miss just by driving through a town or city. Exploring a neighborhood on foot will give you a chance to visit local shops and restaurants, snap pictures of interesting sites, and meet local residents.

5. Visit free attractions. Almost every major city has at least one or two museums, art galleries, and other attractions that offer free admission. From art exhibits to theater performances, you’ll be surprised at how many things you can enjoy for free or for a very modest ticket price. Don’t forget to bring a camera and pack some snacks.

6. Learn a new craft. You’ll find hundreds of video tutorials and step-by-step guides for virtually every type of craft or hobby online. Pick up basic supplies from your local craft store, and don’t forget to check for any coupons or deals while you’re there. From origami and crocheting, to scrapbooking and painting, you can learn a new craft at your own pace and spend time indulging in your newfound hobby.

7. Join a Meetup group. Check the Meetup.com to find out what types of events and get-togethers are happening in your area and join a few groups that interest you. Meetup groups can help you branch out and expand your social network. Many are centered around hobbies and passions, but you can also find more general groups based on age, marital status, and location.

Fun doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Follow Sabah Karimi and her personal finance blog Wise Bread for more frugal ways to have fun.