Life is expensive. Housing, food, phone, internet, transport and clothing all cost money. It can be hard to get ahead when the bills never stop.
Entertainment, though, can be free.
By the way, ‘no cost’ doesn’t mean the same as ‘no fun’. If you do them right, free experiences can be every bit as good – and even superior – to outings and events and attractions you have to pay for.
To help you get on top of your finances, we’ve put together a list of 25 free weekend activities you can do both at home and in your community.
Free fun at home
Exercise your eyeballs
Binge on classic movies or devour an entire season of the latest must-watch series. Share the fun with your partner or several friends.
Do a board game marathon
Pull out all your board games and go through them one by one with your partner or best friend.
This is a chance to not only play some old favourites but learn some new ones. A website like Pagat.com can teach you the rules of card games from around the world.
Declutter your home
Many of us have way more clothes, books, gadgets, toys and ‘stuff’ than we need. Rummage into the deepest corners of your closets and pull out everything you haven’t used at least once in the past year. All these items can then be sold through a garage sale, offloaded on eBay or donated to charity.
Go to your library, borrow one of those classics you told yourself you’d read one day, and then take it to bed with you.
Take care of life admin
Knock off of all those annoying tasks that have been piling up, such as doing your taxes, paying bills, responding to emails, making medical appointments and filing paperwork.
Channel your inner Picasso
Draw. Paint. Colour.
Do a jigsaw puzzle – the bigger, the better.
Spend the weekend getting smarter with some free online courses – Open2Study and EDX are good places to start. Another option is to listen to TED talks.
Update your CV
It’s a good idea to update your CV once a quarter, for two reasons. First, it allows you to list achievements when they’re fresh in your memory. Second, it means you’ll be able to move fast if you see an ad for your dream job or you suddenly get made redundant.
Bring some efficiency to your life by cooking lots of meals at once and then storing them in your freezer. So the next time you’re too tired to cook, you can pull out one of your ready-to-eat meals instead of ordering in or eating out.
Create your bucket list
Make a list of all those big sexy things you want to do in your life, whether it’s running a marathon, visiting Machu Picchu, watching an eclipse or learning another language. While you’re at it, write down how and when you plan to achieve the goals.
Make your will
If you have assets and you have dependants, you should probably have a formal will. That way, you can decide what happens to your assets when you die, rather than a court.
Free fun in the community
Have a picnic
Grab some friends, pack some supplies and find a scenic spot to eat, drink and make merry.
Take a community course.
Visit a museum. Tour a gallery.
Sniff out your suburb
Become intimate with your suburb. Explore parks and streets you’ve never visited. Discover businesses you never knew existed. Take a million photos.
Hit the beach
Enjoy a dose of vitamin sea.
Walk your troubles away
Is there a national park, coastal path or a bush track near your home? If so, you’ve got a free way to have fun, burn calories and eliminate stress.
Be young again
Find a ball, frisbee or kite and head to your local park or oval.
Create your very own time capsule. You’ll need an airtight and waterproof container, as well as sealable bags for each individual item. Fill the time capsule with newspaper clippings, photos, coins and everyday contemporary items. Also include a letter to the future, which describes what the current world is like and predicts how the future will look. For more information, watch this two-minute video.
Play the tourist
Go all the places a visitor would go – famous buildings, parks, festivals and landscapes.
Make the world a better place
Spend your weekend volunteering for a charity or local community group.
Live the local life
Visit a local fair, sample the local markets or watch some local sport.
Give geocaching a go
Never heard of geocaching? This is where you use a mobile phone or GPS to track down geocaches, or boxes, that are hidden in your community. Once you’ve found the geocache, you fill in the log book, put the box back where you found it and move on to the next one. Geocaching.com claims to have more than two million boxes scattered throughout more than 200 countries.