It may seem like the end of the world when your bank account is empty and all your friends are at happy hour. But sometimes being broke — or saving for a big trip next month — can be one of the best things that ever happens to us. It pushes us outside our comfort zone, and allows us to think of creative new things to explore — both outdoors and within ourselves. Here are 10 ways to have fun without spending any money:
Go for a long bike ride
Pick a route never before travelled — or one you’ve been meaning to do for a while — and go as far as you can. Biking with your friends instead of going out will give you a refreshing change of pace.
Start walking and see how far you get
One of the best ways to have a spontaneous adventure is to pick a destination and start walking. Pack some sandwiches and water bottles for the road. You’ll find that travelling by foot is one of the best ways to learn about your neighborhoods, meet new people, and stumble into the best adventures.
Go on a hike
Sure, driving to a hiking trail may count as spending money, but once you’re there you won’t need or want anything from the outside world. A hike is always a good way to clear your head and remind you of what’s important in life. You’ll find yourself spending hours in the woods without a dull moment, and without spending a dime.
Free yoga classes
Check your town to see if there are any free or outdoor yoga classes. Yoga is a great way to focus on improving your breath, your posture, your flexibility and your strength. It also offers you a chance to practice meditation — which is probably the cheapest forms of self-medication and therapy. Instead of turning to Netflix or your phone, try to meditate for 20 minutes everyday and you’ll find it will improve your mental health.
Plant trees or a garden
Gardening has been shown to reduce stress and make people happier, in addition to helping the environment. Follow tentree’s footsteps in going out in the world to plant trees — it costs no money, and you’ll only be helping the earth since every tree makes a huge difference for the environment. Planting your own garden will also save money when you cook your own food.
Volunteer at an animal shelter
Do you love animals and being in nature? If you do, volunteering at an animal shelter can occupy an entire day without you spending a cent, and you’ll make a difference in the lives of several animals. Bonding with animals will not only make you happier, but it will make the world a better place.
Sit down and put all your devices away. Pick up an empty notebook, and start journaling or drawing. Whether it’s painting, drawing, journaling, or even just writing your friend a letter, creating something instead of spending money on a new outfit or a new toy will make you feel better and more confident about yourself. Exchanging homemade gifts with your friends is always a better way than spending money on something that’s not so meaningful.
Settle in your favourite spot outdoors or set up a hammock in your backyard, because reading in the summer shade while feeling the breeze may seem boring, but I assure you it’s wonderful. Catching up on reading will not only save your money, but will also enrich your mind!
Learn a new skill
Have you been meaning to try your hand at learning Spanish, but simply haven’t had the time in between jobs, school, workouts, and friends? Sometimes, having a “no money” weekend can afford you the time to put aside all your distractions and learn the skill you’ve been meaning to learn for a while.
Challenge yourself to a no-money adventure
Yes, money makes things easier for us most of the time, but sometimes it can complicate things, too. Vow to challenge yourself on a no-money day or weekend, where you and your friends go on an adventure without spending any money — or maybe spending less than $5 each. You’ll find that the cost of happiness — being with your friends, laughing, creating, exploring — is completely free.