Yesterday, I wrote a well-received article about having a “money-free” weekend, which outlines the idea that you can not only save some money and entertain yourself by not spending any money for a weekend, but you can actually begin to train your mind to be frugal.
In response, “John Wesley” left the following comment:
This is a great concept and something that I want to experiment with it. The one problem, and the reason more people don’t do this every weekend, is that it basically means retreating from the rest of society.
If you can’t spend, you can’t socialize, or so it seems at least. Most people would have hard time believing it possible and would be dying from boredom within hours. But I guess doing what’s best for you means stepping away from other people and showing them a different way to live.
Boredom? Can’t socialize? These aren’t things that I associate with a money-free weekend. Here are fifteen great things you can do during a money free weekend that don’t cost an extra penny.
Play board games. We all have a dusty game or two in the back of the closet somewhere, so take advantage of it! Invite some friends over and have them bring a favorite board game with them. Try playing them, especially ones that are new to all of you.
Have a “cupboard potluck.” Dig out a bunch of ingredients from the back of your cupboard, then invite your friends over for a fun variation on the potluck dinner: instead of bringing a dish, bring unusual ingredients from their cupboard or freezer. See what you have, then work together to make something interesting. It’s basically a “free” meal and a fun evening for everyone involved.
Organize a walking tour. Walk to the interesting historical areas in your town or city. Pack backpacks full of food for a picnic in the park or on the village green (using stuff you already have, of course).
Write some letters. A handwritten letter in the mail from a friend always makes me feel wonderful inside – I love reading them. However, it takes some real time to send a letter back in response. Spend some time sitting down with a pen and some paper writing letters – the personal nature of these messages are very wonderful.
Have a quilting bee. My wife’s sister does this in her college dorm all the time. A group of them get together with spare cloth – often literally old curtains or clothes or bedsheets – and they sit around cutting them into squares and other shapes and sewing them together. With practice, the patterns can get very complex and interesting – and t-shirt material can make for a very comfortable and warm quilt.
Play football / soccer. Call around until you can find a soccer ball, then head out to any open field near you and play a pick-up game of soccer. All you really need is the ball, and don’t worry about it if someone is really bad at it – I used to play soccer on occasion with some people who were very good and I was still able to be involved. You can also do the same thing with a football, playing two handed touch football in the park.
Practice yoga. Check a book out from the library on basic yoga stretches, then practice them yourself or with a group. I’ve found stretching genuinely makes me feel much better about my life and the people around me.
Read a book. Want to be alone? Find a book you’ve always wanted to read from your own shelves or from the library and find a nice, comfortable place to read it.
Have a yard sale. Turn it from a “money-free” weekend into a “free-money” weekend. Have a big yard sale with your friends bringing stuff, too. If you have kids, take some of the early proceeds and buy them some lemonade packets so they can sell lemonade during the peak of the day on Saturday and Sunday. Get rid of junk you don’t want anymore and make some good pocket cash.
Get things done. Make a giant list of household chores you just haven’t gotten done, like cleaning out the gutters or waxing the kitchen floor – stuff where you have everything you need to do it, but you just don’t wanna. Then do it, do all of them at once. You’ll feel totally productive and alive at the end of the weekend.
Volunteer your time. Get some friends together to be involved with a community project, or just do it yourself. Either way, it costs nothing more than your time and you can actually make a difference in your community and the world at large.
Get spiritual. Do some meditation. Go to a religious service. Think about some of the deeper mysteries and open yourself to whatever answers may come to you.
Blow bubbles. This is a great one if you have kids. Get a gallon of water, then slowly stir in some liquid dishwashing detergent (a cup or two), slow enough not to make suds. Bend an old coat hanger into loops, dip it into the stuff, and blow through the loops. Experiment with different quantities to get the kind of bubbles you want – there is no “perfect” recipe.
Pick up that musical instrument and learn it. Around here, we have about fifteen musical instruments which we can both play to various degrees. Sometimes, I’ll practice with a keyboard or the harmonica; my wife likes getting her old flute out on occasion. These are things that were given to us a very long time ago – and there’s still a lot of entertainment and learning value in them.
Check the community calendar. Stop by city hall or a visitor’s center and see if there are any free community activities going on that weekend. Maybe there’s a municipal band concert or an ethnic festival going on that you haven’t heard about. Stop by and see what’s happening in your town.