No Spend Weekend Ideas

Posted by idawrites on May 16, 2008 in Children, Family, Food, Frugal Tips |

Around our house, the weekends are spent doing family things. Sometimes expensive family things. Over the last several months, we’ve been learning that we can have more fun and lots of time to connect as a family without spending a bundle. Here are some of our favorite frugal things to do on the weekends.

1) Square Foot Gardening!Frugal Dad did a post a while back on How To Build a Square Foot Garden, and then Lynnae over at Being Frugal wrote about building her own. Over the last several years, I’ve made multiple attempts at growing tomatoes and peppers and herbs in my yard, with no success. This year with the square foot gardens we built, the children and I are really having a fabulous time playing in the dirt on the weekends.

2) Bookfest – We have been spending more and more time on the front porch, in our new “Library” reading books and sipping our coffee or soda and chatting away. I think this is an incredibly relaxing way to reconnect with my family.

3) Backyard BBQ – Nothing says family time like grilling some burgers and hot dogs and having friends over to sing karaoke or watch movies. You don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money to hang out with your friends. Host a pot luck!

4) Riding on the trail – A favorite pastime of my family is to load up all of the bicycles and go down to the bike trail. On a good day, they get 12 to 15 miles in. I don’t ride bicycles, so it’s a fabulous time for Mark and the children to have some quality time, and for me to catch up on things I’ve been neglecting.

5) Movies Under The Stars – I know that in Atlanta, as soon as the summer months hit, the local radio stations start hosting free movies in parks around the area. Families come and bring their blankets and coolers and watch G Rated movies in the grass with their children. It’s a really great way to get to know other people with families that you wouldn’t otherwise get to meet.

6) Art Projects – All of those art projects you keep meaning to do but don’t have the time for can replace some of the paid activities you’ve been doing. Instead of roller skating or going to the movies or heading to Six Flags, pull out the sewing machine and make those adorable little pillows (or whatever) from the patterns you’ve been gathering. We’re going to give another whirl at quilting for the homeless this year. My friend Scarlett is having a whole Summer of Art!

7) Take a walk – I know this sounds really corny, but if you’re like most people, there are tons of unexplored places in your neighborhood. Take a walk with the family. Leash the dogs and give them some fun exercise time too. Walk slowly and maybe meet your neighbors that you’ve never had a chance to say hello to because you’re too busy.

8) Institute a Family Game Night – If you don’t have any, board games are cheap, especially at the thrift store. Let the kids pick the games. Make some popcorn and drinks. Gather around the dining room table and let the fun begin. I’ll bet you that your kids will love it!

9) Go to the park – This has a ton of benefits for no cost. The children get to run off all of their excess energy. You can either relax and talk with other parents, or often times there is a walking track that you can use while the kiddos play with their friends. You can’t go wrong with fresh air and exercise.

Hmmmmm… Must go research new ones, I think. Any ideas?


  • Scarlett, the DG says:

    A fabulous money saver! Our weekends got much cheaper when we dusted off the tents and sleeping blankets and headed out to a park, but camping can also be done indoors. Go back to your childhood and build a tent in the living room. Or – dig through your closets for the things you’ve *already* purchased (video games, drawing pads, musical instruments) and really use the things you once thought enough of to buy in the first place.

  • Joshua says:

    Great fun ideas! Here in San Francisco there are weekly free movies in the park. There is always a large turnout and it is a blast. What are some of your family favorite games?

  • Momma says:

    @Scarlett – I LOVE INDOOR CAMPING! We’re actually planning a back yard camping trip and want to invite all our friends this summer. We’ll grill out, and play outdoor games and all the stuff you do with camping… with a full kitchen, showers, and a real bathroom.

    @Joshua – We really love Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Scrabble, Fluxx, and Loot. Fluxx and Loot are our real favorites!

  • Maggie says:

    Our weekends are usually spent at garage sales and watching movies from the library. Summer will also include swimming at the local pool which is very inexpensive compared to the area we used to live in. I really agree those weekends can get expensive if your not careful.

  • Notes From The Frugal Trenches says:

    I do so many of these and save so much! There are so many cheap, reasonable and fun ways to enjoy life without spending!

  • remodelingthislife says:

    Great ideas! We do a lot of what you do also – spend time in the yard and working on the garden, go to the beach (super fun and exciting and totally free!), take walks, camp indoors, have picnics, fly kites.

  • Anonymous says:

    Design a walking tour of your city ( keeping in mind each family members limitations) and give everyone an opportunity to practice taking pictures of buildings of interest and city sculptures…then use the photos to make your own postcards (add historical facts about buildings or notes about artist who have contributed to the art in the city) and send cards to relatives and friends who live in other places.

  • Frugal Babe says:

    Most public libraries have summer reading programs for kids and adults, and sponsor all sorts of activities throughout the summer to go along with the reading program. Love you ideas – have a great summer!

  • Backyard BBQ is the best. We have those every Sunday at my house. Wouldn’t really call it the cheapest thing, as spending $120 on meat is not a small amount, but less expensive than some other family activities our family does (ie. trip to Disney World..several thousand 🙂

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