Here are 35 ideas for free or inexpensive activities that won’t break the bank. I divided them up into four categories: At Home, Outside, Shopping, and Relatively Inexpensive.
1. Play a Board Game Together – Inexpensive/Free – Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, and Chess are classics. If you are into more niche games, grow your game selection by trying Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Castles of Burgendy, Puerto Rico, or Acquire. If you want a fun game that takes less time and can be played with up to 7 or 8 players try one of our personal favorites Bohnanza.
2. Dinner and Dancing at Home – Inexpensive/Free – Cook together and then spend the evening dancing. Check out these 20 stay-at home date night ideas from Happy Wives Club.
3. Have a Movie Marathon – Lord of the Rings, Bourne, Star Wars, or chick flicks. Here’s an IMDB list of top 100 greatest movies of all time. Or here’s a Rotten Tomatoes list of top 100 kid and family movies.
4. Home Picnic – Inexpensive/Free – If the weather doesn’t cooperate have your spread on the living room floor! Check out these indoor picnic ideas on Pinterest.
5. Work on a Puzzle Together – Inexpensive/Free – 100, 500, or 1000+ pieces. Good fun that can take hours (literally).
6. Go on a Picnic – Inexpensive/Free – Sandwich makings, some fruit, juice, and a little dessert make a great outing! Check out these portable picnic ideas from Southern Living.
7. Go for A Moonlight Walk – Free – Romantic, fun, and costs nothing.
8. Go Hiking – Free – active way to enjoy the great outdoors. I’ve found EveryTrail to be very helpful.
9. Go Rock Climbing – Inexpensive/Free – For those with adventurous spirits and the gear, rock climbing can be great fun. This website is one of the best resources I’ve found on rock climbing. If you want some further ideas check out these 12 places to climb before you die.
10. Go for A Bike Ride – Free – For those more physically inclined who love the outdoors but would rather ride something. Miles of fun! Another resource I like is Trail Link for bike riding ideas.
11. Fly a Kite – Inexpensive/Free – Buy it the first time. Then enjoy those windy days! Check out this video on how to make your own homemade kite.
12. Play a Sport Together – Free – Basketball, Racquetball, Tennis, or Golf are always fun. Check your local community center or local parks through Kaboom.
13. Live Music – Inexpensive/Free – Some talented little known bands perform live at restaurants and/or bars.
14. Botanical Gardens – Free – Enjoy nature in your local city.
15. Go to a Park and Throw a Frisbee – Inexpensive/Free – Frisbee golf is also an option if you have more than one Frisbee. Again try Kaboom to find a local park near you.
16. Walk the Dog – Free – Take your pup to a park and have a blast!
17. People Watching – Free – At a local park or even the mall (I know that’s not outside but…)
18. Test Drive Vehicles – Free – It’s great to dream and even drive various vehicles. Just don’t get suckered into a deal.
19. Go House Shopping – Free – Once again it’s great to dream. Just don’t get suckered into a deal. Zillow is one of my favorite resources for this.
21. Thrift Stores – Inexpensive – Used yet nice. Good way to save money with thrift stores near you.
22. $10 Challenge – Inexpensive – See who can get the best deals/values for under $10. Or better yet. Go to a store like half price books and see what you can get for $10 then leave after purchasing nothing. Great way to get to know someone else’s tastes.
23. Go Get Ice Cream – Inexpensive – Instead of going out to eat and paying $10-$30 a plate eat at home. Then go out for yummy ice cream!
24. Antique Shops – Inexpensive/Free – Never know what treasures might be waiting. Don’t have the cash? Don’t buy anything. Just enjoy browsing your local antique stores or shops.
IV. Relatively Inexpensive:
25. Go Bowling – Inexpensive – A fun night at the bowling alley! Find a bowling alley near you!
26. Go Roller Skating – Inexpensive – Music, skating, fun. What else is needed? Find a roller skating rink near you!
27. Go Ice Skating – Inexpensive – Dress warm. Just don’t break a leg! Find an ice skating rink near you!
28. Volunteer Together – Free – Help a local charity, tutor some kids, visit a nursing home, volunteer at a local church or community center. Try your local community center, church, the website Volunteer Match out.
29. Breakfast/Brunch at Home and a Matinee – Inexpensive – Enjoy each other’s company and save by going to a show during the day. Typically, you can save anywhere from a quarter to a third of the cost of the ticket by watching a movie during the day. Check out these breakfast and brunch recipes on Pinterest to get the creative juices flowing. Check out Fandango to find local matinees near you.
30. Art Exhibit – Inexpensive/Free – What is going on downtown? Find local art galleries near you!
31. Museum – Inexpensive/Free – What is going on downtown? Find local museums near you!
32. Sports Teams – Inexpensive – Basketball, Football, Hockey, Soccer, Baseball are all great fun. And you don’t have to do the whole “professional” thing. Try the local high schools or college. Or if that doesn’t appeal, watch your favorite team on the screen at home or local sports-bar.
33. Go to the Local Library – Free – Bring your checked out books with you to coffee shops or the park and enjoy escaping in the story. Great for movie rentals too. If the library doesn’t have what you want, order it and pick it up in a few days. Find a local public library near you!
34. Make a Time Capsule – Inexpensive/Free – Write down what you’re doing today and open it all up in 10 years. Howcast has great instructions and a video on how to make your very own time capsule!
35. Color or Draw – Inexpensive/Free – Make or color pictures together. Abstract, cartoonish or more realistic. What’s your style? Check out these drawing and coloring ideas on Pinterest.
What are your favorite free or inexpensive activities? Which of the list is your favorite idea? Leave a comment!