Every once in a while the family budget finds the need for a spending freeze. Maybe you want to save for something special or you need to pay off a debt. Either way, putting your spending on hold can be hard...really hard!
We've survived enough of these bad boys to find that there are plenty of free activities to help pass the time. In fact it gets easier to save money the more you practice looking for a free way to pass the time. Nowadays we most of these activities even if we're not on a spending freeze.
Related Post: 7 Tips for Socializing on a Budget
1. Board Games Gather all your favorite games and make it a competition to see who wins the most rounds. Monopoly is a downright Olympic sport in this house. My husband could play that game till the cows come home.
2. Sports Go get some fresh air and play your favorite sport. I always forget how much I love playing football and tennis until I'm on a spending freeze.
3. Cooking/Baking Is there a new recipe you want to try? Or two or three? If you don't want the extra food in the house after you've eaten your fill, wrap up a plate and bring some over to your neighbor. They'll love you for it!
4. Free TV Sometimes a spending freeze means turning off your cable or even (gasp!) Netflix. Take advantage of free online episodes that are available on network websites. Just check their official site to see what they have. My favorites are CW, CBS, and NBC.
5. Hiking/Local Park We are certainly an outdoorsy family! If there's sunshine, you can bet we're hiking or hanging out at the park. Some of our favorite hiking trails were found spontaneously when we were trying to save money.
6. Favorite Hobby Love to sew, draw, paint, play an instrument? This is the perfect time to practice the hobby you love or want to learn!
7. Go Camping Find a free campsite or just camp in your backyard. No need to make things fancy! It's all about doing something outside of your normal schedule in order to avoid boredom.
8. Library Events Our local library offers free Spanish classes, computer classes, children's storytimes, Guest Speaker events, and many others. Check with your local branch to see what they offer.
9. Free Museums Some museums are completely free of charge and some offer free admission on particular days. Our local museums offer free admission every Thursday. We've taken advantage so many times! And don't forget to check your local universities. Sometimes their campus museum is free to the public as well.
10. Playdates These are easy to set up and completely free. And they are such a lifesaver when you've been in the house all day and need a change of scenery.
11. Movie Marathons I have a friend who once rented all of the Twilight movies from her local library and had an adult slumber party where they watched one after another! That sounds a bit exhausting to me but it's free.
12. Fire/Police Station Tours Years ago I set up a tour of our city fire truck for our local children's program. The kids were so excited, it was like they had won the lottery! Check with your local fire or police station to see if they offer tours. Your kids (and your spouse too!) will be thankful you did.
13. Picnics Make lunch a little more exciting by taking it to your backyard or to the local park. The sunshine will make you happy and it won't cost you a dime.
14. Visit the Lake or Beach If I could visit the beach every day I would! Grab a good book and sunscreen on your way out of the house and enjoy a mini vacation.
15. Zoo Free Days Our local zoo is free to all visitors every first Tuesday of the month. Check to see if yours does something similar. If they do, be sure to leave early enough so you can avoid the crowds!
I remember the first time we went on a spending freeze so we could purchase a new Mac computer. The concept was just so foreign to us. I laugh when I think about how difficult it was at first!We were so young and weren't used to limiting our shopping or the number of times we went to the movies.
Each one of these activities has thankfully helped us break the habit of spending unnecessarily. Hopefully they can help you pass the time without spending a penny too!
What activities do you use to survive a spending freeze?