Fund-Free Weekend Activities

One particularly interesting thing that has stood out to me over the course of tracking my personal spending is the deep pit of despair that the weekend brings. Don’t get me wrong; I live for the weekend. It’s the most magical, wonderful time of the week, where the time is yours to do as you please: solely and completely yours. With that comes the freedom to sleep in, to read, to bingewatch TV, to shop and go out and live (kind of) consequence-free.

Except for the money. Them dolla dolla billz find it a lot easier to depart from your wallet on weekends. There’s brunches to be had, stores to be browsed, alcohol to be drunk, coffees to be collected and basically credit cards to be lit on fire. I often find that once I’ve lost that structure that comes with the work week of packing lunch and being organised and being too busy with work to consider the fun parts of life, it’s not a slippery slope to spending, but more like that heinous looking ride where you’re dropped really suddenly from a really big height. One second you’re on top the world, on top of your finances, feeling like a total legend. The next second you’re slammed back down to the ground of reality, with only receipts and a few random things you can no longer name scattered around you. It kinda sucks.

So, I’ve been collecting ways to spend weekends money-free (or as much money-free as possible, as we do our grocery shopping on the weekend). I don’t imagine many of these are new, or revolutionary, but they’ve really helped me when I find myself on the couch on Saturday wondering what I should do, and stopping myself from walking down to the outlets. I’ve only listed 10 ideas here, with the view to continually updating this post and also not overwhelming you with options.

1. Netflix and chill

Oh heyyyy. The most obvious answer in the world, but take some time out for yourself. Put on your season of choice, get out a blanket, sludge in to a day of quiet and let your friends be the friends on the screen.

2. Use what you have

Sometimes you sit around at a total loss of what to do (or what to wear, or where to go, or what to do with your entire life). This is a really good opportunity to get a grip on what you do have. Have a gym membership? Great, go to the gym. Have a half-finished project (crochet blanket, knitted jumper, DIY wedding album, book you’re writing)? Awesome. Get it out, and work on it. Have a fridge full of food that needs transforming to a delicious meal? Excellent timing, get cooking. Have a soccer ball floating around the house that you’re unsure how it was acquired, but nevertheless trip over it daily? What a delightful coincidence, time to go kick it around at the park. Have a game console you rarely use? Get your competitive streak on and play it. When you take on this perspective in your home, you’ll get very overwhelmed at all the options you have at your fingertips. The money was spent at one point, the novelty wore off and it got forgotten…now is your chance to re-enliven that novelty!

3. Get your money in order

Sorting out your finances is a really important project, but one that is easily put off because, like, it’s hard. To avoid spending all your money on a Saturday, spend the day getting that budget nailed down, reviewing your progress and making a goal and a plan for the future. It’s an extremely gratifying and satisfying project, and one that will only benefit you in the future.

4. Explore

Weekends are an excellent opportunity to get out for a good long walk. No matter where you live, it’s possible to find great walking or hiking trails. You only need your shoes, a friend (or a podcast or excellent playlist) and the desire to be lost for a little while.

5. Rearrange the furniture

This is one of my favourite free ways to pass the time. We have exactly two walls on which we can put our living room furniture, and one day we were bored, and swapped the furniture on each wall around. The whole day and a few Dominos pizzas later, we had moved everything and completely refreshed our whole space. It was great for livening up our small apartment without spending any cash, and was a great bit of screen-free time too.

6. Set a three hour time limit on deep-cleaning the house

The time limit makes it a game, but the actual job makes it beneficial!

7. Read an old classic

Plenty of the classics are available for free on Kindle. It’s a good chance to learn some of the literary references made in the texts of today.

8. Learn something

Get on the free university courses and listen to a lecture on a topic you’re interested in. I love random topics like behavioural economics, productivity, human movement, english literature and philosophy. Instead of incurring debt doing a degree, I’ll just jump on to a free university course and have a listen. Other ways of learning include finding great podcasts, reading articles online, watching Ted talks… people are so keen to share their knowledge over the internet, all you need to do is be a sponge.

9. Journal

There are so many recorded benefits from journaling, but it’s often a very popular habit to fall by the wayside. Take some time to write down how you’re feeling, what you’ve been doing, your goals, hopes, irritations, frustrations, plans, favourite people and points of gratitude. It can bring you some great perspective on where you’re at and where you’re heading, and it can be really calming to connect with paper instead of your phone. Of course, there’s great journalling apps across iOS and Android devices if you prefer, and they are probably more secure. But there’s a lot to be said for writing with a favourite pen on high quality paper.

10. Deep clean yourself

Take the time for the self-care you normally can’t be bothered doing in your day to day life. Give yourself a face-mask (if you’re low on options, vegemite will do!). Take a long bath. Give yourself a foot scrub. Do a hair treatment.Remove your old nail polish. Reapply some new polish. Moisturise your elbows. Exfoliate. Shave. Whatever you gotta do, get it done and take the time to enjoy it by lighting a candle or getting out some bath salts.

If you’re feeling lost one weekend between wanting to do stuff, but feeling poor, hopefully this list provides you some inspiration. If you have any other favourite fund-free hobbies, please share in the comments 🙂

Zero Funds February

I’m confident I’m not alone in thinking where the heck did January go?? I’ll be doing a January recap at the end of the month, but – it was an amazing month. It also had the added benefit of involving very little ‘thinking about the future’, which means my real new year can begin in February.

February is just awfully convenient for setting mini goals. This particular February is greater than most, since it begins on a Monday and ends on a Sunday (excluding 29 February – am I the only one who thinks 29 February isn’t a real day?). After tossing up some different titles for this month’s goal, I settled on Zero Funds February (although ‘No Fun February’ was the lead contender, I thought it was a little on the Negative Nancy side). Zero Funds February involves the following:

Zero.

Spending.

Yep – you guys, I’m doing a one-month shopping ban. Except for pre-approved items, I will be spending zero dollars. This is functioning as a warm up for a future longer-term shopping ban. For now, it gives me a hyper-focussed period of time to examine my habits and triggers, and make some informed decisions about how I want to work my money going forward.

My mantra to get me through is extremely unoriginal:

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And behold – the pre-approved February shopping list:

  • Groceries / petrol / bills (obviously) (note that ‘bills’ includes gym membership, 4 week challenge cost and Netflix).
  • Protein powder.
  • Printing photos (9c / 4×6 picture at Harvey Norman – this is part of my year long goal to Project Life my photos and importantly use up all the craft crap I hang on to).
  • Skin cancer check (these appointments are IMPOSSIBLE to get, and the only Saturday I could get is the last Saturday of the month).
  • Two trips to the 50m pool for swim practice ($6/each).
  • 2 x gifts: Valentines Day, nan’s birthday.
  • Stamps.

More importantly – things that I will not be spending on this month:

  • Take-away coffee.
  • Lunches.
  • Sweet tooth snacks.
  • Yarn (I like to crochet in my spare time #legend).
  • All other craft-related items.
  • Stationery (including to do lists, notebooks, journals, colourful pens, stickers…).
  • Candles.
  • Clothes (including all activewear).
  • Accessories.
  • Shoes.
  • Make up / Skin care / Hair care.
  • Apps.

Do you have a monthly goal for February? Any advice on the above? Let me know in the comments!