Please note that this article contains affiliate links, read disclosures here.
There are a plethora of no-spend or minimal spend options out there.
Walk your dog.
Watch a movie.
Catch a matinée.
At any point in time, you can take advantage of these tactics to cut back on your spending.
Today I’m bringing you something a tad different.
Do you need some new ideas on how to spend less while being more productive in the process?
Today, I’m breaking it down by category of activities you can do, while spending no money at all OR a reduced amount.
Mixed in are ideas from my own life (proven, yes!) to provide you a productive list (except for maybe a couple) that will get you started on your quest to spending less.
Like how that sounds?
Let’s get to it!
Save Money: 30+ Ideas To Trade Spending For Productivity
Get a book or audio through Overdrive. Visit Overdrive.com to get started. Select your local library from the list. Enter your library card. Make your selections.
14-day checkout period. No late fees. Yes!
They also have an app (Android and IOS) you can download.
Right now, here’s what I am recommending:
- “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware
- “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman
- “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss
- “The Last Mrs. Parrish” – by Liv Constantine
Try a 7-day free trial of CBS All Access to binge watch a show. After the trial, it is $5.99/month (with ads) or $9.99/month (without ads). Check out my short list of shows/genres here, where I write about cutting cable.
You can make this more productive by multi-tasking with some of the other areas on this list.
Go to the most high-end mall in your area to window shop. Leave your cash at home if you’re easily tempted. This will entertain you and provide for some leisurely walking exercise. Get that Fitbit ready!
Check if your local museum has free or discount days or nights that you can visit. This normally occurs one day a week (or month).
Work a jigsaw puzzle. If you are new to puzzles, start with 500 – 1,000 pieces. This can double as an art piece.
Sign up to volunteer for a cause that is important to you. Try searching on VolunteerMatch.org to see if there are opportunities in your city.
Teach a class. Learn about how you can teach in your local community. It may be through your church, a local college, or even online. If you have a knack for persuasive communication, consider lending your skills.
Take a hike – quite literally. Do you have a nearby trail? Hiking is a calorie torcher and has tons of benefits. If you are new to hiking then use a beginner trail!
Often, hiking trails have “lookouts” where you can stop for a rest and take in the view.
Visit the best park in your city on a sunny day and soak up the rays (better yet, have an appetizer picnic). If allowed, feed the ducks. They won’t mind.
Plant something. There are certain seeds that produce quickly – cucumbers, peppers, spinach. I have personally planted Meyer lemon trees and herbs. It’s simply amazing to be able to plant your own produce.
Even if it’s just one or two plants, you should do it at least once in your lifetime. Check out The Farmer’s Almanac for more gardening tips + tricks.
Get rid of some clutter by selling or donating. Try Decluttr, where you can sell CD’s, DVD’s, books, cell phones…and more.
I’ve been using the service since 2013 and highly recommend it for selling and buying fashion. This is available to men, too!
Related article: Intro To Poshmark – Tip + Tricks to Making Your 1st Sale
Have a garage sale for all other items and consider donating the rest. The best time to hold a garage sale is on a nice, sunny weekend. Remember to advertise by putting out signs! There may be a nominal permit cost, so factor that in.
Organize your pictures. Store them on a drive or through a cloud service to keep them safe. Check out Google Photos. It may be exactly what you need to store your photos!
Log your memories and life events in a journal or timeline. Access them when you want to take a walk down memory lane.
Related article: Life Timeline – do you have one?
Organize the files on your computer and back them up on a drive or through a cloud service. Check out Google Drive (free up to 15 GB) and Dropbox (free up to 2 GB).
Clean off your phone of apps that you no longer use. Add helpful apps. Here are a few that will help you get the most out of what you normally buy online or in-store.
Peruse job listings to see if there is an opportunity that is a step up from what you are doing now. I recommend Glassdoor. Check it out. Your company might be on there.
Get a LinkedIn account. It’s simple to get started and you have a place to refer people that want to know more about your experience. While you’re at it, add all your connections.
Pull up your resume and make updates. Have you gotten a promotion recently? New job duties? Maybe it’s time for a new template!
Related article: Looking for a job? What to do right away!
If you are in a profession that requires continuing education, research those opportunities and sign up.
Set up a budget. Use a product/service that motivates you to do it. If you need an option, check out the FTD Budget + Tracking Spreadsheet that I use to manage my money. Also, use the 20-page guide to get started!
Make financial goals that you can conquer! Read Money Mindset For Achieving Your Financial Goals for tips!
Get your free credit report from annualcreditreport.com. You can get a report from each of the credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion, Equifax.
It is available for FREE every 12 months. Look it over closely to see if everything is accurate.
This method does not include getting a free credit score. It is available for a small fee.
If you want to monitor your credit score for fluctuations in the interim, try Credit Sesame. You get a free credit score and are able to quickly determine if there are one or more factors affecting it.
Related article: Boost Your Credit Score: Save Money In The Long-Run
Call a service provider to get a discount on a monthly service. Cable? Internet? Cell phone? You may be surprised, but a quick call may get you a small discount or a service upgrade.
Sign up for highly rated services that make it easy to monitor your money. Personal Capital is a really good option to get all your money in one central location. It’s available on desktop, IOS, and Android. Also, it’s free to use. Check out your net worth using Personal Capital!
Call someone you have been thinking about and have an in-depth conversation. If a video call works better, try Skype, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime.
Related article: 10 Life-Changing Money, Health, And Relationship Habits
Write a card to someone you care about just to tell them that you are thinking of them.
Play Word with Friends (with a real friend).
Have a potluck where everyone brings a simple dish (and you make one too) and have social interaction without all the fuss.
Start an easy dinner meal plan by listing out your favorite proteins, veggies, and sides. Then mix and match to your heart’s content. Tip – compare to the local sales so you can make a dish that matches up with the offers for that week.
Spend some time prepping/cooking meals for the week. These 1-2 hours of meal prep not only saves you money – it also builds the cooking skill that will only help your quality of life.
If you are anticipating travel for the coming year, start planning. Visiting a large city within the U.S.? Try CityPass. It is absolutely the best value! It doesn’t matter if you are single, dating, have a large family – everyone will enjoy the activities.
Do you ever wish you were better at a skill that could benefit you in your life? Excel, cooking, typing, writing, blogging? With the availability of YouTube, you can spend endless hours figuring out how to do something.
If you use Excel – do you know what concatenate is? It’s simply linking 2 or more cells together. See above. If you use Excel, you’ll be able to follow this. There is actually a formula for this – CONCAT function.
Interested in meditating or at-home yoga? Try DailyYoga (Android and IOS). It is FREE to try. You can go through some of the beginner sessions to see if it’s something you want to continue. If you can get it on sale, it is about ~$20/year. Not bad at all!
Try Songbot if you are looking for on-demand music. You can have your own dance workout. Go through a few songs and you have effectively done some cardio. The service gives you access to songs on radio stations worldwide.
If the song is currently playing on any live radio station, then you can choose which station to listen to. Also, if the song is not playing, it links right up to YouTube for you to play it within the app. The downside is that the music will not play in the background if you use YouTube.
More money-saving ideas:
- Save Money And Celebrate The Holidays On A Budget
- 14 Practical Tips To Save Money Everyday
- A Woman’s Guide To Frugal Fashion: Money-Saving Tips
There ya have it.
My list of 30+ activities you can do on a limited budget. Some of these areas can have a profound impact on your life – money, relationships, exercise – ya know!
Sign up below to get access to the FTD Library for all the resources to help you on your money saving quest!
Read more about my mission HERE.
Ways to stretch your money further + earn extra cash:
Ebates – receive $10 when you spend $25 (online/in-store shopping)
Ibotta – receive $10 as a welcome gift (grocery in-store shopping)
Visit my resources page for more information on each service and to view other offers!
Join The FTD Community
+ Access to the "FTD Library"
+ BLOG UPDATES 1-2X A MONTH
What are the ways you work to reduce your spending on activities?