Cheap Weekend Thrills: 10 Ways to Live It Up
Cheap weekend activities can seem hard to find. Does money burn a hole in your pocket over the weekend? Are you having trouble racking your brain for inexpensive but interesting things to do?
Enjoying yourself can sometimes put a dent in your wallet. Whether they are solo adventures, dates, family or group activities, there are always cheaper ways to have fun and we’re going to show you. Monthly bills may be our specialty, but what kind of advisors would we be if we didn’t offer more cheap ways to have fun?! Leave your comfort zone and try filling your weekend with any of these 10 cheap, mostly free weekend activities.
Cheap Weekend Activity #1: Get Natural
Feeling stressed or anxious? Getting outdoors could be exactly what you need. Nature has extremely beneficial influences on physical, psychological, and spiritual/emotional well-being. Who wouldn’t want that?
Researchers have found that spending time in nature can promote a sense of awe and wonder by reducing our [natural] human urges to think about ourselves so frequently. Feelings of self-concern and entitlement are drastically reduced when you’re in the overwhelming presence of nature. It also helps boost positive emotions like empathy, compassion, and generosity!
The good news is that you can get these benefits even if you live in an urban concrete jungle. Many cities around the country have free community gardens and nature centers (or, arboretums) for the public. Arboretum memberships can include lots of perks for as low as $30 a year! Arboretum memberships often include discounts for local home & garden retail partners or even publications you can shop to spruce up your landscaping.
This inexpensive escapade is also very family-friendly! Take an educational tour and discover which plants are easiest for you to grow, or which animals are native to your neck of the woods!
Cheap Weekend Activity #2: Get Social
Consistent social interaction may help you live longer and keep your brain sharper as you age. Who wouldn’t want a longer life and lower risk of dementia?
It’s always a great idea to broaden your social circle, but we know that’s easier said than done between the pressures and obligations of life,
Sometimes it’s difficult to meet new people who share your interests or motivation. Whether you’re the type of person who likes to dive right into an activity or if you need an icebreaker to feel out the crowd, the latest technology can help.
A new wave of phone apps and websites for socializing have made it easier and cheaper than ever to connect with real people in real life! These handy apps and websites are free to download, join and communicate with other users. Use them not only to find new friends, but for boosting your side business, or even professional networking in a much more relaxed setting.
Check out some of resources below for cheap social activities.
- Meetup– Browse local Meetup groups of different interests and sizes via your phone or computer. Many are free but some may need cheap dues for hosting larger groups, renting out facilities, or planning group excursions. Reminders go out before the start of your joined groups, so you won’t miss a thing! Is currently, the most popular group socializing app to-date, which means more chances to find new people!
- City Socializer- Those seeking like-minded friends can find and choose an interesting event to meet at first. It’s free to join, but additional features don’t cost much. Citysocializer is an especially good choice for those who are spontaneous, new to their cities, or more adventurous empty-nesters. Bonus: The company is rapidly expanding and is based out of the U.K. This is a major plus if you’re planning a trip across the pond and want to find new people.
- Hashmeet- Find clubs tailored to those super-specific interests you can’t get any of your friends or family to do. Think: cycling for 40+ professional women, or clubs for startup investing newbies. Don’t see a club that interests you? Hashmeet will even let you start your own for $0.99 or $4.99 per month!
Cheap Weekend Activity #3: Get Alone
Having time to yourself is just as important as social activity, if not more important. Also, it’s a better cheap thrill than feeling the urge to spend money while out with friends.
For instance, think about the benefits of getting some “me time”: No compromising to make plans that you’re not really into just for the sake of socializing. No blowing your budget on a whim because you’re going places unexpectedly with friends. If you’re an introvert, alone time means getting to recharge your internal battery after heavy socializing. If you’re an extrovert, alone time could be a prime opportunity for relaxing, getting organized, or learning something new!
Spend some time getting in touch with an old passion you’ve let fall by the wayside of a demanding life. Not sure where to start? Consider things like:
Were you a great artist as a kid?
Pick up a paintbrush, sketchpad, or even clay for ceramics,
Want to learn how to play an instrument?
Go to a pawn shop and try out that guitar you’ve been thinking about for years!
Need to start boosting your savings?
Revisit your budget and investments so you can live or retire comfortably!
When it comes to personal development (or, just plain fun), the possibilities are endless! Most importantly, such alone time allows you to focus on the things that truly matter to you – the enjoyable, useful things that you may later regret not making time for later.
- Outliers: The Story of Success (by Malcolm Gladwell)
- The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (by Brené Brown)
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (Unabridged 15th Edition) Audio CD (by Stephen R. Covey)
Cheap Weekend Activity #4: Get Fresh
Who doesn’t like fresh food? If you’re trying to eat healthy, then the fresher the better – especially when it comes to fruit and veggies.
Grocery stores don’t always have the best quality options for produce that you need to keep your household healthy. Even when produce is visually tantalizing, the markup tends to be very high (looking at you, Whole Foods). Think about how fresh and fun it would be to pick your own fruits and veggies on a beautiful day, and pay less per pound!
Picking your own fruits ensures that you’ll enjoy these treats in-season. Eating in-season means your produce is less expensive and packed with a more powerful punch of antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and vitamins.
Fresh out of season produce must be harvested early, chilled and transported over long distances so they don’t spoil. This equals not only more gas consumption and polluting fuel emissions but rapid loss of flavor and nutrients, too.
Take spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, and berries for instance: all four are mighty sources of nutrients vital to the human body (like antioxidants). The nutrients in all four are also highly influenced by their time of harvesting. Still skeptical about the benefits of picking your own produce? Here are a few benefits of getting down and dirty for nature’s delicacies:
- Even if you’re strictly organic, produce-picking is a very inexpensive way to get the fresh food you love in larger quantities.
- Helps stimulate your local economy and support smaller agricultural operations that cater to their communities.
- It’s a great activity for families and individuals looking to get in touch with nature and nutritious eating
- Have kids? Besides providing some physical activity, it helps instill a sense of work ethic in them through a rare opportunity to forage for their own food.
- Struggling to convince a more carnivorous companion to participate? There are plenty of produce-picking farms which also offer fishing and vegetarian-fed animal meats, too!
- Freshly-picked fruits and veggies just taste better than the gnat-riddled, mushy stuff on grocery shelves.
- Some farms will make fresh weekly deliveries on a subscription basis for those who can’t get enough freshness – no travel required!
This cheap weekend thrill beats an uneventful trip to the grocery store any day. Just remember to pick only what you and any family can eat. Store extras in vacuum-sealed bags in the freezer or create your own preserves.
- Find ‘pick your own’ produce farms in your state
- Check out your local farms and in-season produce here at LocalHarvest.org
Cheap Weekend Activity #5: Get Sporty
There’s a misconception that physical activity has to be one big, breathless, sweaty chore. Usually, people are forgetting the most fun opportunity to getting in shape and enjoying oneself: sports. Soccer, basketball, football, track, water polo, softball, lacrosse, roller derby – you name it, it’s out there and waiting for you!
Whether you’re participating or would rather get your kicks watching from the bleachers, getting your game will get your blood pumping. A team made up of your co-workers, people in your industry or age group can progress into off-the-field fun as well.
If want in on the action – or just refuse to watch kids’ sports – try joining an adult team for local fun on the weekend. You may have to provide your own equipment, but adult leagues are usually free to join. A team made up of your co-workers, people in your industry or age group can provide a great social outlet that can progress into off-the-field hangouts as well.
- Organize or connect with a local league through SportsVite
- Join a local YMCA
- Find or join a youth/amateur sports league
- Search for sports leagues near you
Cheap Weekend Activity #6: Get Skilled
Maybe you want to learn how to remodel your own kitchen to save major cash. Or perhaps learning how to play a new instrument has been one of your goals for awhile. If you’re interested in learning any type of new skill, it’s a good way to fill up a boring weekend with your long-term dreams – for cheap.
Whether you’re interested in learning online or need one-on-one instruction, popular websites and nationwide retailers offer skills workshops.
Online classes give you greater options and access to various skills for less money. For example, I took an online class about creating business plans for only $10! This is something that helps in my side gig as a freelancer, so it will also help me make more money.
Looking for something more enjoyable with more personal attention? Visit retail stores like The Home Depot or Guitar Center which both offer skills workshops for free!
- Enter your zip code to find free workshops at The Home Depot
- Check out free hands-on workshops at Guitar Center
- Get a new skill at Udemy (be sure to sign up for their email newsletter for course discount codes as low as $10!)
- Learn a new language on your own time for free with Duolingo (also available in your smartphone’s app store)
Cheap Weekend Activity #7: Get Cultured
There’s no better way to brush up on your local, national, or world history than a visit to the museum. Whether you’re into the arts, the sciences, geography, ancient or modern history, there are museums catering to every interest.
Some museums are more expensive than others. However, your profession, employer, or membership in other local organizations can provide very useful discounts. Teachers, students, members of the military, and seniors are almost always offered lower admission fees with a furnished ID. If you love visiting museums, try boosting these savings by getting an annual membership subscription. This is definitely much cheaper for museum-lovers than paying full admission prices on each visit.
Perks of having certain jobs or memberships are pretty nice: unlimited visits, admission to special exhibits or events held at the museums, concerts, discounts to other local events, and more!
If you don’t have a certain job, don’t worry. You can still take advantage of getting cultured on the cheap, thanks to Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. The banking powerhouse offers free admission to local museums for account holders. Just show your credit or debit card and photo ID from either of these institutions and get a free general admission ticket!
This offer is valid during the first Saturday and Sunday of the month at participating museums. Make sure to check your preferred institution at the link below and plan ahead!
Cheap Weekend Activity #8: Get Published
The weekend is a perfect time to catch up on reading your favorite books, publications, or blogs. Maybe you’d rather write instead? There’s never a better time to hone your writing skills than when you have nothing else to do.
Visit the library or your local used bookstore and get lost in a riveting work of fiction. If you’re more of the practical type, pick up a book to learn more about a new subject that you find intriguing or do genealogical research. The library is a wonderful resource to access free modern and historical and publications, so don’t pass it up! Your local college library is also a great option that’s typically open to the community as well. If you’d rather own your book of choice there are local used bookstores and reputable websites where you can buy used or hard-to-find works.
Creative juices often get flowing when reading an inspiring book, so writing may also be a relaxing way to spend your downtime. Despite being an often abused and underappreciated art form, writing is incredibly useful for a variety of reasons. Improving communication, building vocabulary, thoughtfully expressing ideas and emotions, boosting professional or entrepreneurial ventures, and strengthening analytical or critical thinking skills are just a few significant benefits of writing.
Get started reading or sharing your writing online through a free blog with the resources below. Who knows – maybe your blog post or novel will become the next big thing!
- Find an interesting book and read reviews at Goodreads.com
- Search for a used, rare, or out of print book at Bookfinder.com
- Grab a used, new, paperback, hardcover, or audio book through Amazon.com (browse under Departments and click on Books & Audible)
- Learn the ins and out of starting and managing a blog before you begin
- Try these creative Writing prompts to stretch your creativity
- Quickly launch your own blog for free at WordPress.com
- Express yourself with a public post on Medium.com for free
Cheap Weekend Activity #9: Get Funny
They say laughter is the best medicine, and who doesn’t like to laugh?</p> <p>Laughter promotes bonding, decreases stress, improves memory and immunity, and helps people (usually the funny ones) appear more likable and even more attractive. Plus, it’s just plain fun to laugh!
Get your kicks by visiting a local comedy club on Amateur Night, showcasing starting comedians. Fledgling comedians command lower rates, and while betting on a newbie is a bit of a gamble, you may just find your next favorite jokester. Signing up for email newsletters or mailing lists with local comedy venues save you money as well.
Interject a little humor into a weekend date with your significant other, or have a laugh with a group of friends. You can certainly go alone, but I don’t recommend it. Going solo to a stand-up comedy club is like throwing steak into a wolf den: you probably won’t come out unscathed if a comedian decides you’re a good target for a punchline.
Hopefully you have a good sense of humor and some thick skin for this cheap thrill!
- Check out your nearest Improv clubs for lots of laughs
- Enter your zip code on LaughStub.com for the latest gut-busting show in your area
- Get a free comedy show with videos from up-and-coming comedians at Comedy.com (also available on Amazon, as well as Apple and Android app stores for mobile phones)
- FunnyOrDie.com has tons of hilarious videos to keep you cracking up for hours
Cheap Weekend Thrill #10: Get Searching
Many cheap thrills that will help invigorate your weekend are right at your fingertips!
Don’t believe it? Just open your Internet browser and get searching for your next adventure. Simply type in “cheap things to do” or “free things to do” plus the name of your city, zip code, or state. Websites dedicated to finding fun events in your area will populate instantly. All you have to do is browse for your nearest town or city!
If you live in a smaller town, check out events in larger, neighboring cities and plan a mini road trip or “staycation”. Staycations are trips that adventurous, money-savvy folks take to local attractions for cheap weekend fun. Free festivals, camping, or visiting a new area of town are some cheap thrills that can keep you entertained this weekend.
Having trouble thinking of something to do or figuring out where to go? There are sites and smartphone apps that can help accommodate your next staycation, too. Concerts, restaurant and bar discounts, amusement parks, live-action plays, painting classes, horseback riding, film screenings, and more await you just a few clicks away!
There are plenty of free and inexpensive fun options for you to choose from when the weekend comes. Don’t stay inside and mope when there is a big, beautiful world and community out there waiting for you to experience it. You don’t have to waste money to enjoy yourself either.
How do you plan to spend your next weekend activity without spending much?