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What do you do when you’re bored? The chances are that whatever your answer, it costs money. But relieving boredom doesn’t have to mean relieving your wallet of money. We share our frugal boredom fixes.
Remember Being a Kid
When we’re feeling bored, we often default to spending money as an activity. That might mean going out to dinner or drinks, going to a movie, and maybe the most dangerous way to relieve boredom, going shopping whether in person or online.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We didn’t have money when we were kids so what did we do then? Just sit around being bored? Of course not, we found plenty of things to do and ways to have fun that didn’t cost a dime.
But as adults, we can sometimes lose our imagination and creativity when it comes to thinking up things to do. But we can think back to our childhood and recapture some of what we have lost.
Things You Can Do at Home
Maybe the weather is terrible, or perhaps you aren’t feeling up to going anywhere, being stuck at home doesn’t have to mean getting bored.
1. Whip Something Up
This is my favorite thing to do when I’m stuck in the house due to bad weather. Get in the kitchen and whip something up. It’s especially nice if it’s something that has a long cook time like a stew. Makes the whole house smell good for hours.
Since we’re not leaving the house, you can enter what ingredients you already have into X, and it will give you a selection of recipes to make using those ingredients.
You could also use your time in the kitchen to batch cook or meal prep for the upcoming week. Doing this saves time and money when you are short on both.
2. Pin It
Create a few boards or at to your existing boards on Pinterest. While this doesn’t necessarily seem like the most productive way to relieve boredom, it can be. Pin ways to save money, new recipes, decorating ideas or vacation ideas. Pinterest is actually a great place to research things like that.
3. Plan Your Costume
Vow not to phone it in this year with your Halloween costume (or Mardi Gras costume if you live in New Orleans). Start planning now to wow everyone with the most crowd parting, creative, elaborate costume ever.
4. See the Other Side
Choose a social or political issue that you feel strongly about one way or the other and find some news sources or blogs that hold the opposite view and read them. It may not change your mind, but it’s important to understand both sides of an argument.
Please refrain from commenting on those sites. Trust me that is not a good way to alleviate boredom; it is a good way to alleviate your sanity.
5. Update Your Resume
You should always be on the lookout for a better opportunity even if you are happy with your current job and if you find one, you need an up to date, killer resume. So update your resume and while you’re at it, check out local (or not local, if you’re feeling like a significant change!) job listings. Never hurts to have options.
6. Clean Up Your Social Media
Delete those friends whose posts annoy you, and you never interact with outside of social media. Better for you mental health. And delete any embarrassing or inappropriate postings or photos. Potential employers search social media accounts, and you don’t want anything standing between you and your next job.
7. While You Have Time
What is that thing you have been meaning to do? The thing you always tell yourself you will do when you have time? Usually, it’s something not very fun like cleaning out your closets or reorganizing your kitchen cabinets.
But doing non-fun things can be rewarding too. You always feel proud after you’ve finally tackled something you’ve been putting off.
Well, put it off no more. You have the time to do whatever that thing is so get stuck in. I never promised that all of my suggestions would be fun!
If you are planning to clean out your closet, why not make some money? Plan a garage sale or sell the things you are getting rid of on a site like Poshmark for clothes or eBay for pretty much anything. You will save money and make money at the same time, the Frugal For Less Perfecta!
8. Play a Game
If you have one or more people stuck at home with you, you can play games, board games, card games, even old-fashioned games like charades which don’t require anything you have to pay for.
If you’re alone, there are plenty of games you can play online both single player and play with other people online.
9. Catch Up on Your Reading
You probably have a nightstand full of books and magazines that you have meant to read. Now is the time.
10. Learn a Language
Learning a language is a great way to pass the time and to improve yourself. There are tons of free options for language learning like Duolingo, Busuu, and Internet Polyglot. You can also watch movies and television shows in another language on Youtube as a way to learn that language.
11. Learn Something New
Youtube has thousands of video tutorials. You can learn practically anything. So choose something you would like to learn; how to cook perfect scrambled eggs, how to change the oil in a car, how to do the perfect cat eye makeup, how to make an origami bird. The possibilities are limitless.
12. Do a Course
There are tons of free courses available online. Khan Academy offers courses on a vast range of topics including history, economics, computer programming, and grammar among them. You can learn for fun or with an eye towards advancing or changing your career.
13. Plan a Trip
It doesn’t have to be a big elaborate trip, a month in Europe or backpacking through Southeast Asia. It could just be a weekend getaway a few hours from where you live. Whatever kind of trip you plan, doing so is one of the most pleasurable things in the world.
Researching restaurants, sites to see, activities to do, places to stay. Even if you can’t quite afford the trip anytime soon, planning it can help keep you motivated to save the money you need actually to do it.
14. Slash Your Bills
If you’ve been reading Frugal For Less for awhile now, you have probably read some articles on how to save money on your bills, use a balance transfer credit card, shop around for better prices on things like your cell phone, cable, and car insurance bills.
But doing those things takes a little time to do the research and make any necessary phone calls. It’s worth it though so you really can save a nice chunk of change each month when you lower your bills. Well, you have the time now so get to it.
15. Work Out
You don’t need to go to a gym to get a good work out, and you don’t need any equipment. You can get in some cardio by running up and down some stairs; you can do body weight exercises like squats, wall sits, and push-ups.
You can do some yoga poses or core exercises. If you haven’t done an at home workout before, there are plenty of videos online that you can follow.
16. Write Letters
Sit down and write, handwrite, some letters to people you usually just email or text. There is nothing like opening the mailbox to find a handwritten letter because hardly anyone does it anymore.
17. Call Someone Up
A good, long catch up session is a great way to kill time. It’s even better if you can Skype.
18. Do a Spa Day
A nice, long pampering session can kill some time. Do a hair and face mask, do a manicure and pedicure, scrub yourself down with a loofah sponge in a nice hot bubble bath. Have a glass of wine while you soak.
19. Binge Watch
Pick a television series and binge watch an entire season.
20. Say Something Nice
People are always so quick to complain when something goes wrong, but they don’t often pay compliments when things go right. You can correct this balance. If you had a good experience at a business, a restaurant, a salon, a doctor, a cleaning service, go on Yelp and leave a nice review.
21. Pros and Cons
Make some pros and cons lists. They could be about anything; moving to a new city, getting married, having kids, going back to school, shaving your head. This is more fun than it sounds, I swear.
22. Answer Surveys
You might as well earn a little money while you alleviate your boredom. Go to a site like Survey Junkie or X and answer some surveys.
23. Take Photos
Take photos of all of your belongings. If your home is ever hit by a natural disaster, you will be happy you have these because it makes getting money from your renter’s or home owner’s insurance easier.
24. Tidy Up Your Wardrobe
Clean and polish all of your shoes. Treat any stains on your clothes and mend any loose hems or buttons. Iron everything that needs to be ironed. It’s so lovely to open your closet and see that everything is ready to wear. You will especially appreciate this when you are running late for work or a date.
25. Deep Clean
Do a really thorough cleaning of your place. Like, Q-tips and toothbrushes as cleaning tools deep cleaning. Watch episodes of Hoarders for inspiration.
26. Start a Gift List
Start looking around online for the perfect presents for your friends and family. Doing this can save you money because it gives you time to shop around for the best prices and you aren’t running out at the last minute heedless of how much you’re spending in your rush to buy gifts before Zero Hour.
27. Read This Blog!
Read every article on Frugal For Less. You will learn ways to save and make money you never even thought of.
28. Do a Swap
A swap is an excellent way to get some new stuff for free. Pick a theme for your swap. Some themes include books, CD’s, DVD’s, or clothes. Everyone brings those things they don’t want anymore and everyone trades.
29. Pack Your Bug Out Bag
A bug out bag contains everything you would need if you had to leave your home in an emergency on very short notice. It should have things like some cash, copies of essential documents, any prescription medications you take, some water, and some non-perishable food like packets of tuna and energy bars.
Hopefully, you will never need it, but if you do, you will be glad you have it.
30. Beat a Record
Find a weird world record like the most clothespins clipped to a face or the most books balanced on top of a head and see if you can beat it.
Things to Do Outside at Home
Sometimes you just have to get out and get some fresh air.
31. Have a Bonfire
If you have some outdoor space, invite some friends over and build a bonfire. You can act like kids again, roast marshmallows and hot dogs and tell ghost stories!
32. Dig a Garden
What’s more frugal than growing your own food? If you have a yard, ready a little spot to plant a garden. You can kill even more time by researching what plants grow best in the area of the country you live in.
33. Go For a Bike Ride
I did the recently on a glorious spring day, and it reminded me just how much pleasure there is in sailing along on a bike. You feel the sun and the breeze, smell good smells, see beautiful sites. And it gives you an excellent workout. I run regularly, but the day after my bike ride my calves were sore. It was great!
34. Go For a Run
No one has ever regretted going for a run. Not always during but definitely after.
Places to Go
Sometimes you just want to get out and about.
35. A Museum
Some museums are free or pay what you wish. If the ones near you don’t have those options and the admission is kind of pricey, check to see if they have a free day. Some museums do this weekly or monthly.
Some offer free admission if you are a member of a particular organization like AAA or are part of a specific profession. You can also check out your local library. Some offer free passes to museums.
36. Speaking of Libraries
Libraries offer way more than free books! We did a whole article on free things some libraries offer.
37. A Botanical Garden
Spending a few hours strolling around a garden is a pretty awesome way to spend a day. Many offer free admission as we described for museums.
38. The Zoo
The zoo is fun for all ages. Again check for free admission days or library passes.
39. Community Events
I am lucky enough to live in New Orleans which has, no joke, 133 festivals a year. And most of them are free to attend! Check out your community events calendar for free events like festivals, concerts, and movies.
40. Pack a Picnic
Pack up some sandwiches, snacks, a blanket and have an old-fashioned picnic in the park. Food tastes better when you eat it outside.
41. Go to a Game
Buying tickets for a professional sporting event can be expensive, but there are plenty of free games you can attend. Watching little kids or not so little kids run around playing soccer or baseball is fun.
What cause do you care about, animals, hunger, the environment? There are bound to be local volunteering opportunities for whatever cause pulls at your heart. And charities often value time over donations. Another pair of hands is always welcome.
Look at the list of local MeetUps in your area and go to one. You can learn new things and make new friends or business contacts, always a good use of your time.
44. Hit Up Happy Hour
Go to a bar or restaurant you wouldn’t usually be able to afford and have a drink and an appetizer for cheap. The Happy Hour Finder app is excellent for this.
45. Grab a Coffee
Take a book or good magazine and hit up a local coffee shop that you haven’t tried before. This activity also makes for good people watching which is its own fun way to kill some time.
46. Fun Doesn’t Cost Money
Spending money to alleviate your boredom isn’t necessary, and for some of us, it can be destructive. We shouldn’t use money to alleviate any feeling whether it’s boredom, sadness, anger or frustration.
Soothing yourself that way can lead to financial ruin or at the very least, a house full of stuff you don’t need or even really want.