Low-budget or free ways of winding down

Hi all!

For those on a tight budget or looking to be more money-wise, what are some of your favorite activities to do in your spare time that help add variety to your day without spending a lot of money (or ideally, free)?

I'm trying to get creative and need some inspo!

It depends on what you want to do. I get 10K steps a day. I also took up adult coloring (which has gotten more expensive than I imagined, when you include the cost of the coloring pages, the pencils I bought, the sharpener I bought... :-D). I also love reading--yay for libraries!
YES to libraires :) what do you like reading the most?
I have a soft spot for murder mysteries, actually, and in the past couple of years, I've been reading romantic comedies. How about you, @iynna
oh fun! any favourites?I am a big non fiction gal, a lot of those personal development/self help books haha
I'm a big fan of Faye Kellerman. Michael Connelly has a great series with a female detective (Renee Ballard) that has a new book coming out in November.
aw i love this! ahah i feel you on the costs just creeping up on you.. i recently took up embroidery and it's still quite low budget but there's an initial stocking up on color threads that can quickly get out of hand I've noticed!
I have a lot of free/cheap hobbies! I like to go on walks, do youtube workouts (dance/pilates from EmkFit, GrowithJo, and Moves with Nicole are my fav), knit, do DIY projects, and read :)
I did SO much Move with Nicole during lockdown haha to the point that her voice really annoys me 😵‍💫 hahaWhat are your favourite DIY projects? totally separate but seeing you're into knitting, have you seen this: :)
😅 I can see how it could get annoying lolI like to do crafty projects, like scrapbooking, jewelry making, and painting old furniture :)
hahaha! thank you for validating me here 😅Wow that sounds so fun, you're so creative! what kind of jewels? do you then gift them or wear them for yourself?
I've made some simple bracelets with beads and string that I've hand since I was a little kid! It's fun to make things :) I keep them for myself lol
super cute! now you have kandies to wear at raves hehe
I love free/cheap hobbies! Walking (or running) is one of them :) I have had the chance to live in big cities which I love because there's always something to do! When I was in NYC, I'd just step outside and have the opportunity to do something free or cheap especially during the summer months. Are you more of an artsy, sportsy girlie? or what type of things do you like doing?
I love doing Hip Hop Step classes. Or Grow with Jo workouts. I get both from YouTube and they’re all free.There’s something about throwing my body around to music before the day that really boosts my mood :)
I love borrowing books from my local library! I also like listening to/ watching meditation videos/ audios. And one of my most favourite cheap hobbies is journaling, don't need anything fancy just a notebook and pen!
I listen to podcasts; talk show type (smartless is my fav) or leadership but mostly true crime. Walking helps me quite a bit. I recently got a FitBit so that’s helping make sure I get moving. I read and I find a funny tv show to help me laugh. A friend took up crocheting to help her calm down.
Sounds like you and @rachellevysarfin will have a lot to talk about given your common interest in true crime etc. :)
I like walking my dog every day. We have some great trails here in Colorado so we typically walk a 5K a day. Walking around also got me into bird watching. I got a bird identification book and have been checking off the birds I see (Great Horned Owl, Red Tailed Hawk, Northern Flicker, Pelican, Great Blue Heron, etc.). I also write poetry (more for mental health), write recipe cards of meals I have tried and enjoyed (can share with friends and family), and do yoga on my back porch (more sunshine, less bugs than yoga in the yard).
Aw so cute! what's your dog's breed :D
Pitbull! She's my walking buddy. Her name is Helles.
I like learning languages and there are great Youtube videos out there to learn just about any language (check out TPRS method). I made some good friends by exchanging languages, too. Building a skill is a great way to use ones spare time :)
Do you have a channel you’d recommend?
Sure, What language do you want to learn? :)
All of them.
haha! I know that feeling.I enjoy video games and I'm learning Korean, so I watch a lot of this guy's videos:
Talk to Me in Korean is also a great resource. How to Learn Korean is a website that's free to use and they have an app that is a reasonable price.
I also love to read! I mostly do e-books and audiobooks through my library, Libby and Hoopla are both great apps for this. Also, Instagram and TikTok both have great book communities (booktok and bookstagram) to find book and author recommendations, and friends!
Libby FTW!!!
I like doing yoga, but not with classes. There's a lot of free yoga videos on youtube, and some don't even require the mat. Some night time yoga routines could be done right on your bed before you sleep. It's a nice way to relax.
Oh like @kaitlingraham with Move with Nicole! :D
Yeah! Exactly :)
In order of least to most $: I sketch, make focaccia, and play board games!Sketch: objects that interest me, dynamic movies and scenes; it helps me develop my observational skillsFocaccia: you'll need to buy flour, yeast, and olive oil, but it's super simple and delicious Board games: on the more expensive side, but you can play by yourself or with friends!
Major book worm here. Reading books from the library is my go to. The possibilities are endless. I also have searched when my city has free museum days for a change of pace.
I love starting my morning on the deck, book in one hand, coffee in the other. It helps me set the mental tone for the day. I enjoy listening to the birds. I love to walk, and I love to walk-n-talk with friends. Anything that requires being outside lights me up, whether in the forest, in a park, on the beach, or in the sun. I love to learn - so all things books, podcast and articles fill my cup. There's a lot of art in my general area, so riding around or walking downtown and taking in all the beautification projects brings me joy too. Creating connection with others makes me happy, whether with myself or between others. I love to paddleboard.. Cardio drumming is the most fun I've had in decades. There are a lot of free fitness classes, locally. I love attending them with a friend, and finding a way to move while not taking ourselves so seriously.
I’ve been doing this face yoga: is also amazing. I’m in life force academy which I highly recommend. It’s a membership $29/month, I believe. But also there’s kundalini lounge on YT.Amber lightbulbs at dusk to help the eyes naturally wind down.
Cooking! If you can make several parts of your meal, it provides mental dexterity and a delicious outcome, plus it’s far cheaper than dining out or getting delivery. For instance, last night I had salmon cakes. First, I made the cakes. Then I prepped the broccoli and asparagus for the side dish, followed by the rice. With cooking time, it took about 90 minutes. (I made enough for two meals, which stretched the cost even more.)
Cooking, yes!!! Food is medicine, and so is cooking! How did I forget this one?!? Infusing the whole process with love, then indulging and marinating in the beauty of the process AND the joy and nourishment it brings.....
Others have great ideas. Some that haven't been mentioned: us a great place to find people doing activities you're interested in. Most are free or cheap. Your local library may have book clubs or other activities. If you live in a city/town, check out their parks & rec programming--they often offer classes at subsidized prices or have free activities--e.g. our town puts on a free concert series in local parks. For entertainment options, our local high school puts on high quality productions with very reasonable ticket prices. Check your local high school or college performing arts programs. Hope that helps!
I love walking and playing with my dogs and foster dogs. Fostering a dog is normally free to the foster parent because rescue groups pay for all the expenses. I also love to garden and start most plants from seeds, which is very cost effective. See photo of my baby purple basil plants, catnip, and spinach. Brings me a lot of happiness to tend to them and watch them grow.
Gallery hopping :) Unlike museums, which might have 'pay as you wish' days or even offer free entrance occasionally, galleries are always free and usually open to the public without needing an appointment.
I love outdoor exercising, whether a walk, a hike, or a bike ride, or reading and playing boardgames, or simply spending time with people, a good conversation over a cup of tea at home.
If you want to try board games I recommend boardgamesarena.Recent new fun thing I found was “sticker by numbers”, it’s like paint by numbers but stickers are used instead of paint. There are different types of colouring books: colouring by number, colouring by “pixel”, colouring with markers, colouring with paint.Embroidery seems to be relatively cheap hobby, I am going to try embroidery needle pen next, looks very meditating.Bird watching, finding a new type of bird is always “Pokémon-like” moment to me.Indie video games on sales.App Libby helps with free audiobooks (connects to your library).
Our primary family hobby is martial arts and the studio we go to is pretty reasonable. Locally, we have a networking group that does free / low cost physical activities. The library sometimes has events for free - we even found someone briefly teaching tai chi completely free of charge! I do a lot of art art at home and can sometimes trade entertaining - I'll host a paint night and someone else will organize their hobby as an event. I won't call it cheap, but I will sometimes drive and explore that way. Biking and parks are another great option. We've done 26 mile rides as a family, which can definitely fill a day. It's a bit retro, but I'll also help friends and trade off tasks that are obnoxious to do solo but fun to do with friends: cleaning closets, painting rooms, etc.
There are so many options! Somatics, mindfulness 🧘 apps, reading a physical book, going for a short walk in my neighborhood, yoga, breath work, and my favorite … lighting a candle and saying a personal mantra for a few minutes.
There are SO many good recommendations in this thread! I do a lot of them myself so it looks like we're in good company. :) I'd add going to a park or coffee shop (a small americano can be cheap) and bring your journal/sketchbook/book. I find that being outside of my home and doing these activities can make them feel like more of an adventure.Also, if you haven't yet, join your local Buy Nothing group! There are always people getting rid of craft supplies and all sorts of things like puzzles and games. It's an easy and completely free way to try out new things without having to invest in them!
Nothing beats the walk in nature <3 or a good book (including visiting a beautiful library ;)) also, yoga (many good guided videos out there e.g. yoga with adriene or strala by tara styles). writing can be a nice idea too, if you find a style and topic that you like :)