25 free things to do on the weekend

25 free things to do on the weekend

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.

Play cards

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.

Read

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.

Solve puzzles

Do a jigsaw puzzle – the bigger, the better.

Study

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.

Get cooking

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.

Smarten up

Take a community course.

Culture up

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.

Make history

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.

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Learn more about savings accounts

Can you set up direct debits from a savings account?

It’s not usually possible to set up a direct debit from your savings account to cover ongoing expenses or bills, as savings accounts are structured around growing your wealth by earning interest on regular deposits, and discouraging withdrawals.

Some transaction accounts allow you to set up direct debits and also earn interest, though you may not enjoy as much flexibility as a dedicated transaction account, or get as high an interest rate as a dedicated savings account.

How do I open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is a relatively simple process. If you’ve found an account with a suitable interest rate, you’ll just need to get in contact with your chosen lender via a branch, phone call or hop online to begin the process. 

You may be required to provide:

  • Personal details, including identification (driver’s license, passport etc.)
  • Tax file number
  • Employment details

How much money should I have in my savings account?

A good rule of thumb when working out a minimum balance for your savings account is to make sure that you’ll earn more in annual interest on your savings than what you’ll be charged in annual fees.

If you’re saving with a specific goal in mind, prepare a budget so the interest you earn on your deposits will help you efficiently reach this goal. Online financial calculators may be helpful here.

How to open a savings account for my child?

Some banks and financial institutions allow parents to open a bank account for their child as soon as it is born, and start depositing funds to go towards the child’s future.

Children’s savings accounts generally don’t have fees, and are structured to help develop positive financial habits by limiting withdrawals, encouraging regular deposits, and earning interest on the savings, similarly to standard savings accounts.

Who has the highest interest rates for savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to know who currently has the highest interest rate is to use a savings account comparison tool.

How does interest work on savings accounts?

The type of interest savings accounts accrues is called compound interest. Compound interest is interest paid on the initial deposit amount, as well as the accumulated interest on money you have. This is different from simple interest where interest is paid at the end of a specified term. Compound interest allows you to earn interest on interest at a higher frequency. 

Example: John deposits $10,000 into a savings account with an interest rate of 5 per cent that he leaves untouched for 10 years. At the end of the first year he will have $10,512 in savings. After ten years, he will have saved $16,470.

What is the interest rate on savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to look at interest rates on savings accounts is to use a savings accounts comparison tool. When you look at the savings rate check what the maximum and minimum rates are. Often banks will offer you a promotional rate for the first few months which is competitive, but then revert back to a base rate which can sometimes be less than inflation. Ongoing bonus rates are often a safer bet as they will keep rewarding you with the maximum rate, provided you meet their criteria

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

Can I overdraft my savings account?

A lot of savings accounts won’t let you overdraw. Some will allow this feature but you’ll need to apply first. It’s best to read the fine print and check with your lender whether this is a feature they offer. It can be a helpful addition, but as your lender can charge you a fee as well as interest for going into negative numbers, it’s best to avoid overdrafting when possible.

Can you direct deposit to a savings account?

Yes. You can make one off payments or set up regular direct deposits into a savings account. This can be organised easily through online banking or by making deposits in a branch. Talk to your lender to find out the easiest way for you to set up direct deposits.

Can you have a joint savings account?

Yes. Joint savings accounts can be useful for two or more people wanting to combine their savings to meet shared financial goals, including spouses, flatmates and business partners.

Some joint savings accounts require all parties to sign before they can access the money. While less convenient, this extra security can help encourage all parties to meet their shared financial goals.

Other joint savings accounts allow any of the account holders to access the money. These accounts can be convenient for financially responsible couples that trust one another implicitly. 

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

To make sure your savings account makes money and doesn’t lose money, it’s important to maintain a large enough minimum balance that the annual interest earned exceeds any annual fees charged on the account.

Can you set up a savings account online?

Yes. Several large and small banks offer online applications for savings accounts, and there are also online-only financial institutions to consider.

Online-only savings accounts are often less expensive than other savings accounts, though they may not offer the same flexibility, features, or face-to-face service as more traditional savings accounts.