40 Ways to Enjoy an Evening with No Money


Things cost money. Many articles across the web – including on this site – talk about wise ways to spend money. Sometimes, we refer to getting the most “bang for your buck.”

But what if you don’t have a buck? Or, what if you just don’t want to spend any money? In our world of technology, it’s easy to just get sucked into “vegging out.” That’s okay every so often, but there are so many other things to do that are productive and fun, and they don’t have to cost anything.

40 Ways to Enjoy an Evening with No Money

So, instead of dropping a bunch of money to head out to the movies (again), here’s a list of things you can do this evening for some enjoyment that don’t have to cost a dime. You will notice that some of these assume you are married and/or have children, but not all of them do. You can use your existing resources to have a good time without spending anything more. Anyone can do most of the things on this list. Pick one and enjoy a fun and free evening!

1. Take a walk through the neighborhood.

2. Download a free Kindle reader and free Kindle book, and read a classic.

3. Play a board game you already own.

4. Cook supper together with ingredients you already have.

5. Re-read a few favorite magazine articles.

6. Go window ‘shopping’ (no, not for windows, but looking in the windows of some favorite stores). You don’t have to spend money to have fun looking around.

7. Clean out a closet and donate some of the items.

8. Make next month’s budget. Yes, this can be fun!

9. Go visit a neighbor you haven’t seen in a little while.

10. Create a Facebook page, Twitter account, or Pinterest board for a club or organization you are passionate about.

11. “Roughhouse” with the kids.

12. Dig deep into your DVD collection and watch a movie you haven’t seen in awhile.

13. Make a milkshake.

14. Spend some time visiting at a nursing home.

15. Skip rocks on a nearby creek or lake.

16. Make up a family play or story.

17. Read a favorite passage from the Bible.

18. Pray as a family.

19. Create a monthly checklist of household to-dos (change air filters, check air in car tires, etc.).

20. Spend some time in quiet thought and reflection.

21. Go watch little kids play baseball (or soccer, basketball, etc.).

22. Skype or FaceTime with a college friend.

23. Call your mother!

24. Play hide-and-seek with your kids (and let them find you!).

25. Read to your children.

26. Visit the local library.

27. Drive through a neighborhood where you’ll never be able to afford to live and get some ideas.

28. Drive through a neighborhood with less than you have to be reminded of your blessings.

29. Draw, paint, or sculpt something . . . even if you aren’t an artist.

30. Eat supper on the back patio (or on the floor, or even in your pajamas on the couch).

31. Visit a hospital (evenings are often very lonely there).

32. Turn in early (sleep is not a bad thing).

33. Plan a major house project (planting the garden, redecorating a room, buying a new couch, etc.). Remember, planning doesn’t cost anything.

34. Have a neighbor family over for coffee or lemonade on the porch.

35. Sing hymns as a family.

36. Pick up an old hobby and see if you’ve still “got it” (playing guitar, for example). Even if you don’t, it’ll be fun to find out.

37. Do a long-neglected project.

38. Exercise.

39. Take a walking tour of a historical neighborhood, family-friendly farm, or other nearby site.

40. Have a face-to-face conversation with your family.

There are some things you can do with basically no planning and no money. Now, instead of just flipping on the TV and channel surfing, why not do something that is truly fun or even productive?

What would you add? What are some fun and productive things that you have done for no money? Leave a comment!

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  1. Carol St. Onge

    Sort old photographs into piles to give to others and enjoy the memories. Or if you are digital enjoy combing thru those and perhaps organizing, discarding and sharing with others. SO Worth your time!

  2. Jim

    My beautiful wife and I were just talking about some new ideas for date nights. So thanks for sharing these.

  3. James Corbin

    Window shopping is not a good way to enjoy an evening with no money. I have found that if you don’t wish to spend money, don’t go looking in stores, even the windows, or else you will find something you really, really want. If you stay away from the stores, you don’t know what you now think you must have!

    • Shertina

      I enjoy window shopping. It helps me plan and budget. It doesn’t make me spend unnecessarily.

  4. Barbie

    Have a camp fire in your back yard and reminisce or play “in my grandmothers trunk I found….”, or guessing games or roast marshmallows or hotdogs, or make up stories. No matter what you decide to play or do, it’s always better by a fire with your family (and pets!). It’s also a great/cheap way to get rid of waste in the yard by burning it! We also make “forts” out of blankets and kitchen chairs in the living room and sit inside and do the same things that we do around a backyard fire. You can also make colorful thank you cards with your kids and send them to all the people or organizations that have made a positive difference in your life. If you live near a beach or park, that’s also always a great time for a family to explore and enjoy. Also, colleges have free lectures that are cool and enjoyable.As a matter of fact, we’re all going to do that this Thursday night! It’s about the history of the town we live in. We’re looking forward to it and it is FREE. Have fun everyone! I could put a bunch more, but it’s time to tuck in the boys.

    • Adam Faughn

      Love the campfire idea! We sometimes do this indoors, making smores on in our fireplace while watching a movie.

  5. Vicki Ventura

    Maybe mine aren’t all productive, but here goes: make some popcorn and watch old family movies or a ball game; go through old pictures; play bocce ball in the yard; go for a bike ride (the whole family can); bake cookies with the kids; go to free shows/concerts at the local college; have friends over for iced tea/lemonade/cocktails, where everyone brings an appetizer (a great way to catch up with several friends, and not go broke at a restaurant).

  6. simon waithaka

    Lovely Article, you made my morning.

  7. Marie @ 4HWD

    You can play games on your cell phone or gadgets or even read novels. But for me playing with my daughter is the best thing to do enjoy my evening!

  8. Vincent Duncombe

    This is a great list of things you can do. I also enjoyed the fact that you did not leave out the spiritual things. So many times we find enjoyment in everything else than in spending time with God. Awesome.

  9. Ann

    Play fetch with your cat or dog- yes cats will play that! Doodle- grab paper and pen/pencil from around house and play with geometric shapes. Dust (rare stuff like the top of the fridge or top of the curtains)! And rearrange a cabinet or drawer- might find paper and pen for doodling. I loved “exploring” in my grandma’s cabinet as a kid. Found all sorts of treasures! When i clean rare spots i feel like i really accomplished something important. I like to sit back and watch my kids chase each other around the coffee table- thats good for 30 minutes easy( they are young so its funny).

  10. Travis Rusko

    These are great tips! Here are a few more …

    1. Ride sleds down a snowy hill.
    2. Swim in a lake or river.
    3. Catch lightning bugs or butterflies with your kids.
    4. Have a garage sale (you’ll spend nothing and make something!)
    5. Volunteer at your church.


  11. taylor

    1.write a poem
    2.listen to old songs
    3.looking at beautiful pictures
    4.observing people in open space
    6.sing out loud
    7.play with children
    8.talk to elders
    9.plan your future
    10.identify past things that hold you back, work on that