I used to not have any hobbies that didn't involve spending mild-moderate amounts of money. I liked yoga classes and brunch dates with friends and dinner parties that require a lot of prep and decor and shopping trips and travel. Expensive. At some point in your twenties you will have a "Yikes!" moment when you pop into your bank account and realize that you spent way more than you meant to. It happens to all of us, regardless of how responsible or careful you are with your money, but that doesn't mean you can't turn it around.
The truth is, you don't have to be broke to decide to start loving the things that don't cost much. Many people will argue you'll find even more fulfillment in the simple but meaningful things in life: an afternoon of Netflix, helping a neighbor, calling a friend, playing old fashioned games with friends. Your life is not proportionately good to how much money you're spending on it... but it is in proportion to how much you're choosing to enjoy what you already have. Here are 25 ideas to get you started:
Read The Books That Have Been Sitting On Your Shelf For Months, Untouched
Or the favorite blogs you never have time to catch up on, or whatever free ebooks are available. Your options are limitless.
Organize Your Space, And Streamline Your Routine In The Process
Decide what you want to change about your day-to-day life (your overall stress level, how well you eat, how much you have to clean, your hectic morning, etc.) and then adjust your life accordingly: clear out some clutter, cook for the week in advance, make cleaning more routine, put a hook by the door so you don't lose your keys, a bin by your closet where the next day's outfit will go. Don't just take time to organize — do it in a way that makes your life better, even just a little.
Make Dinner For Someone Using The Stuff You Have Laying Around In Your Kitchen
You'd be shocked how far some pasta and frozen veggies and a homemade sauce can take you. You just have to get creative.
Of your city, of your space, of things you love, of people you love, of yourself. It's never not a good time to document the experiences you have, one day you'll thank yourself for the ability to remember them.
Go To A Free Museum In Your City
Some are probably in walking distance from you! Look up cool exhibits that are happening, or just general things that interest you — art, science, nature, dinosaurs, music, you name it. If you go during a special debut night, a lot of art galleries will have open wine and cheese venues ... a double win.
Go Hiking Or Camping — Or Better Yet, Both
Get your feet and knees dirty like you did when you were little. Skinny dip or hike to the top of a mountain and just sit and gaze out. If that's too much, go to a local walking path or nature preserve. You'll come out feeling almost impossibly reconnected with yourself and your life ... interestingly enough, from stepping away from it a bit.
Pack Lunch And Have A Date (Even With Yourself) In The Park
Put together a little basket/paper bag of goodies and take a book or music and a blanket and just sit and talk or read and nap or whatever else you want.
Call The Friends And Family You Never Have Time To Catch Up With
Take an afternoon just to make phone calls: to your mom, your grandma, the creditor that won't leave you alone. If it feels like you rarely have time in your everyday life, choose to carve some out on the weekend.
Help Someone In A Way That Has No Benefit For You
Garden for your older neighbor, help someone with a yard sale, cook dinner for your grandpa... whatever it is, do something that is solely for the sake of someone else. You'll feel fulfilled, and will have spent a day doing something worthwhile.
Make Your Apartment A Mini Spa For The Night
Light candles, put soaps and salts and whatever other essential oils you have laying around in the tub. Drink wine, or put your laptop on a (closed) toilet seat and watch Netflix while you relax. Look up DIY hair masks, give yourself a mani-pedi, or whatever else.
Lay Outside (Ideally On A Roof, If You Can)
Take a blanket and a drink at night and look up at the stars – its romantic and calming.
Make A Formal Date With You, Your Bed, And Netflix
If you miraculously have a weekend to kill (and not much money on hand to kill it with) decide to be intentional about your go-to procrastination activity. You like doing it so much when you should be doing other things (it = vegging out and watching OITNB), so try it when your whole day is free. As the kids say, YOLO.
Donate All The Old Clothes You Don't Wear
Go through all your clothes and get rid of what's just clogging up your closet. Put them in a box and first see if you can't sell them to consignment... otherwise, drive to a donation center and let them go. It will make you feel better overall: less clutter to stare at, less crap you don't use laying around, and the knowledge that it's going to someone who could really need the third winter coat you never wore two seasons ago.
If you don't have the seeds this may actually cost a bit of money, but regardless — plant flowers for inside your apartment, and perch them on a windowsill that gets a lot of sun. If you're able, create a little garden on your porch or in your backyard if you're lucky.
Open A Word Doc On Your Computer And Start Journaling
The issue most people have with journaling is that it's hard to remember to open a notebook when its not something you use otherwise. So create a journal that's on your computer but not online (or online if you want, do you.)
Have Friends Come Over And Pop Open A Bottle Of Wine You Have Laying Around
Play stupid charade games or relive your glory days with a few rounds of Never Have I Ever. Get moderately-but-not-too-sick-drunk and pass out early. Bliss.
Rearrange Your Things
You'd be surprised how radically different an entire home can feel when you rearrange even the simplest things about it. If you're ready to let something go or move on with your life, commemorate and solidify it with a change of scenery.
Deep Clean The Room In The House You Spend The Most Time In
There's probably more dirt and dust and bacteria and like, dead skin accumulating in the areas you most frequent than your plebeian human mind wants to comprehend. Just clean your shit.
Take Time To Mindfully, Slowly Do Some Necessities
Clean your sheets, cook for the week, lay out your clothes for each day. Make your chores a luxurious, calming exercise. After all, the simple act of cleaning and cleansing is very therapeutic in itself. Let the momentum of having gotten so many little things done build and keep you rolling through the day. You'll thank yourself for it tomorrow.
Put On Headphones And Take A Long Walk
And if you have to walk down the street pretending like you're Kendall Jenner in a Calvin Klein ad, do you girlfriend.
Make Brunch In Bed For Yourself
... And feel free to spend an exorbitant amount of time afterwards reading a glossy magazine or watching TV on your mimosa high.
Exchange Massages With Your Best Friend Or Significant Other
All of your tight ass shoulders will thank you.
Call Some Friends And Do A Clothes ExchangeHave everybody bring the clothes they don't want to keep anymore, and swap with one another. It's a really cost effective way to clean out what you don't want in exchange for some pieces that you do.
Host A Yard/Street Sale For All Your Old Junk
Make a few bucks off the junk you'd throw out or donate regardless. It's easy and will probably acquaint you with your weird neighbors.