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30 Things To Do Instead of Spending Money

Beat Boredom Without Spending a Dime

-- By Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer
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Living more frugally can be a challenge, especially when you're accustomed to spending money to entertain yourself or deal with unwanted feelings like boredom, loneliness or sadness. Next time you can't think of something to do in place of shopping, turn to this list of ideas.
  • Balance your checkbook.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Go to the library.
  • Play with your pet.
  • Ride a bike.
  • Knit, crochet, quilt or sew.
  • Organize a drawer, closet or folder.
  • Post on the Message Boards.
  • Work in the yard or garden.
  • Read a book.
  • Call a friend.
  • Bake cookies.
  • Play with your kids.
  • Exercise.
  • Volunteer at a shelter, a school, or a nursing home.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Clean your house.
  • Meditate or pray.
  • Take a walk around the block.
  • Take a long, hot bath.
  • Lie down outside and watch the clouds (or stars).
  • Take a nap.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Eat a healthy snack.
  • Check your email.
  • Cook a meal from scratch.
  • Listen to your favorite song.
  • Write a letter to a loved one.
  • Meet a friend for a cup of coffee.
  • Look at a photo album.
What do you do instead of spending money? Share your ideas in the Comments section of this article.
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About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.

Member Comments

  • VAINVT
    Such great ideas. I played endless board games with my children when they were young, and my 6 year-old like to play Go Fish with his Dad's old cards when I am visiting. And he REALLY likes to win. - 2/21/2014 7:28:49 AM
  • Love the Article. I don't go out that much so I keep my money. But if I do I go buy stuff that I don't even need. That's why I walk up and down my street to keep from paying for a gym. I shop for all the bargains. Very cheap person. - 12/9/2013 9:55:43 AM
  • I will add a 31st item to this list for myself which is work a few extra hours. I work part time, so when I get off and drive past the mall I think of all the stores I could go to. If I get out a little later, not only will traffic and the stores start to get packed and turn off my shopping blitz high, I will also make a few extra dollars on my paycheck!! - 8/13/2013 12:59:12 PM
  • BAMAJAM
    It has already been mentioned, but the library is just wonderful for spending time, and not money. Often the libray sponsors educational lectures, and classes. Too, the video selection might surprise you. So many movies, and so little time, Ha! - 3/19/2012 4:17:51 PM
  • we as a family...do scripture study, pray, play board games, cards, put a puzzle together, play Wii (get exercise too), and do crafts such as scrapbooking, whatever holiday is coming ..we make little things for that holiday for family and friends. - 2/24/2011 9:50:41 PM
  • I think spending time (not money) with your mate or family is an awesome thing. My guy and I like to drive out in the country or on the Blue Ridge Parkway - gas makes this past time NOT a freebie. But packing a picnic lunch and getting in a hike beats eating out and going to the mall as a cheaper way to spend the afternoon. - 2/11/2011 10:46:51 AM
  • I play an online MMORPG where I can go shopping there, as well as socializing with my friends and doing quests and raids :) I actually have more virtual money than real right now! :) - 1/5/2011 11:45:30 PM
  • @Darthlaurie I agree, sewing is not exactly a cheap hobby. My closet is full of fabrics I haven't used!

    I like cleaning and lately baking as things to distract myself. I just hope I remembered to clean more often. :-) - 10/7/2010 3:57:41 PM
  • KGIRLAZ
    Practice my line dancing. - 8/9/2010 7:54:16 PM
  • Getting creative by thinking of ways to work around spending money putting them in a handy list and reffering to them whenever I need! - 5/11/2010 7:38:28 PM
  • LOVETOWALK08
    Workout or play sports with your Wii System - 4/3/2010 9:34:52 AM
  • I PLAY A VIDEO GAME OR BOARD GAME WITH MY GRANDKIDS - MY KIDS WHEN THEY ARE AROUND. - 1/9/2010 3:20:30 PM
  • JAYNESOMEBODY
    i always have a good book on hand and read whenever i can, just a few minutes or an hour here and there! otherwise for a quick fix i put on music and dance with the dogs! - 10/24/2009 4:58:53 AM
  • MEOWSER2
    oops, I suppose I did go over the top buying $68 of Halloween candy online this morning! lol
    Perhaps now I will clean out a cabinet to hide the stuff in. - 10/11/2009 11:44:54 AM
  • BELIEBT
    I like to give myself a manicure or pedicure. My nails are one of those things that always get short shrift, so I feel like I'm relaxing and doing something nice for myself. Two birds with one stone. - 10/1/2009 9:15:23 PM