Save Money: 30+ Ideas To Trade Spending For Productivity   

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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, productive ideas, no-spend

Save Money: 30+ Ideas To Trade Spending For Productivity   



Get a book or audio through Overdrive. Visit 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

save money


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’s important to you. Try searching on 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.


save money


Take a hikequite 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.


save moneyList your fashions and make some money through Poshmark. Check out my article here to get started. My tips and tricks will help you make your first sale.

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.

Get Organized


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!

#15save money

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.

 Ibotta – for mainly grocery shopping • get a $10 welcome gift – I USE THIS

 Ebates – for mainly online shopping • get $10 back when you spend $25 – I USE THIS

 Retail-Me-Not – discount codes – I USE THIS




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’re 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. Also, use the 20-page guide to get started!

Related article: 5 Steps To Better Finances In 2019


Make financial goals that you can conquer! Read Money Mindset For Achieving Your Financial Goals for tips!


Get your free credit report from You can get a report from each of the credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion, Equifax.

It’s 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’s 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.

save money

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.

save money#33

If you’re anticipating travel for the coming year, start planning. Visiting a large city within the U.S.? Try CityPass. It’s absolutely the best value! It doesn’t matter if you are single, dating, have a large family – everyone will enjoy the activities.

Related articles: 



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.

save money

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.

At-Home Exercise


Interested in meditating or at-home yoga? Try DailyYoga (Android and IOS). It’s 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.

saving money

More money-saving ideas: 

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!

Full-Time Dollars 9-5 redefined

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!


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What are the ways you work to reduce your spending on activities?

Photo cred: Pixabay
Last edit 1/6/2019


  • Mrs. Defined Sight

    haha – walking is the best way to be productive, and get the one on one time with your spouse! Never should you be on your phone! Yes, we’ve seen all the mishap/funny videos of people walking into poles!

    I still have neglected to listen to a book on tape. oh man, I mean audio. Did I just age myself???? But, a goal to. I think it would improve my active listening skills for sure. Thanks for the great list and have an awesome weekend!

    • Full-Time Dollars

      Audiobooks would be good for long drives. At home I would rather curl up and read. I reserve podcasts for listening. Thanks Ms. DS!

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