As a teenager, there was one phrase I learned to never say anywhere within earshot of my dad:
“I’m bored, what should I do?”
My dad grew up on the family farm out in the Midwest. Wanting to instill his children with the value of hard work, my dad would always greet our complaints of boredom by assigning some chores for us to complete around the house.
Picking up rotten peaches in the yard.
Sweeping out the garage.
Digging up tree roots.
It doesn’t take long before you decide you’d rather find your own places to go when bored.
Are you tired of being bored on weekends?
Fast forward to adulthood, and I still can’t help myself from sometimes feeling bored on the weekend…
It may be a “first-world problem,” but that doesn’t make sitting home alone on a Friday night any more bearable.
You’re always looking for fun things to do when you’re bored, and I don’t blame you.
Of course, boredom can be an expensive feeling.
After a long week at work, it’s all too easy to rationalize dropping $25 on a movie ticket and concessions, $50 for dinner and drinks, or $100 on random home decor and knick-knacks from Target.
If you’ve got big financial goals like buying your first car or moving to a new city, you’ll need to use some creativity to find fun things to do that don’t require forking over tons of cash or racking up a credit card bill.
In this post, you’ll find dozens of things to do when you’re bored, whether you’re bored and alone or bored with your friends.
What to do on a Friday night when you’re bored
After spending all week looking forward to the weekend, it can be hard to find yourself looking for things to do on a Friday night.
Thankfully, even if you’re bored now, there’s still plenty of time to find great weekend activities. The perfect Friday night is different for everybody.
For some, it’s an exciting night out with friends. For others, it’s a night inside to recharge after a busy week. Here are a few options to match your energy!
Invite guests over to your place for a meal
Eating out at restaurants is one of the biggest killers for your food budget. Why not invite guests over to your place for dinner instead?
You might just be able to feed a small group for the same price you’d spend on a meal out (or make it a potluck!). On a Friday night, it’s also a great chance to connect with friends on how their week went!
Roast some marshmallows or make some tin foil dinners over a bonfire
When was the last time you built a bonfire up the canyon or on the beach? (If you have a fire pit where you live, even easier!)
A bonfire is a great chance to disconnect from your devices and spend time in a scenic environment. Be sure to check your local regulations to make sure there are no fire restrictions in place.
Find live music, karaoke, or an open mic night
Concert tickets can be expensive these days – especially with those outrageous “handling fees.”
Fortunately, if live music is your jam, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy talented musicians without emptying your wallet. Many coffee shops and bars have a monthly calendar that includes performances by local musicians.
If you’re a brave soul and show up on karaoke night, that amazing talent might just be you!
Take some time for yourself
It’s possible to feel rich by creating an atmosphere that’s a little indulgent.
After a long week at work, the perfect Friday night you’re looking for might actually be a night inside. Dim the lights. Light a candle. Play your favorite music.
Create the perfect vibe so you can decompress and prepare for a busier day on Saturday or Sunday.
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What to do when you’re bored on a Saturday
What to do on a Saturday, you ask?
Saturdays are the perfect day to get outside and do something adventurous. At this point, you’ve already had a little bit of time to rest after your week, but it’s not time to get the Sunday scaries yet.
Instead, Saturday is the perfect time to find a fun activity to brag about to your family members, friends, or coworkers later!
Have a picnic in the park
Avoid “cabin fever” (one of the worst feelings of boredom!) by enjoying a picnic at a nearby park.
Grab a blanket or scope out an open pavilion to spend a few hours eating a meal, getting some sun, and maybe enjoying some other outdoor activities like frisbee or just plain-old people-watching.
Wake up early and catch a sunrise
If your Friday night plans aren’t looking too hot, why not go to bed and wake up early the next morning to catch the sunrise?
There’s something inherently satisfying about watching the sunrise while many people are still asleep.
If mornings really aren’t your thing, though, why not go find an epic place to watch the sunset instead?
Play sports – with friends, with strangers, or by yourself
Don’t overthink it… Just grab a basketball, football, or frisbee and go play!
Practice your skills on your own. Invite friends or family members to come to play a casual game with you, or find others at the park or rec center who might enjoy a little competition!
Check out the Farmers Market
Support small businesses by visiting a local farmers market. You’ll find a wide variety of fresh produce, arts, and crafts available for sale, but you can also just “window shop” while seeing what unique items are offered.
Many farmers markets will also include live music and entertainment from local performers.
Experiment with a new recipe
Cooking at home is one of your best ways to have fun on the weekend. It’s almost always cheaper (and healthier!) than going out to eat.
Cooking a new recipe is a great weekend activity because it can fill as much time as you’d like.
Watch some great cooking videos or research some delicious recipes online, go to the grocery store or farmers market to find your ingredients, and finally prepare your meal! (We won’t tell you when to wash the dishes.)
What to do on a Sunday when you’re bored
Some of the best things to do on a Sunday will look a little different from the rest of your weekend.
While there’s still plenty of fun to be had if you want it, there’s also a lot you can do to prepare for the week ahead. If you’ve already had a busy weekend, a low-key Sunday can be perfect to find a quiet moment before Monday shows up.
Take a book and some snacks to a local cafe
Enjoy the aromas of fresh coffee while spending your morning or afternoon at a coffee shop.
If you want to keep your costs low, pack some snacks to take with you, but be sure to support the business by making a purchase while you’re there!
Don’t forget your laptop so you can take advantage of the free internet.
Prepare your meals for the week
If you’re not careful, it’s easy for your diet to sabotage your financial freedom.
One of the best ways to keep your food budget in check is to cook your meals in preparation for the upcoming week.
Spend your Sunday afternoon testing out a few new recipes, sampling everything you make, and packing up meals to eat for the next few days.
Go to the gym
If you’re already paying for a gym membership, why not put it to use by spending an hour lifting weights or doing some cardio?
Exercise has been shown to fight fatigue and boost energy, so after you finish working out, you’ll either be invigorated enough to go find something fun to – or exhausted enough that spending the rest of the day inside doesn’t sound too bad after all.
Work on a puzzle
Puzzles can be a fun way to spend your extra time. It can take several hours to complete a 500- or 1000-piece puzzle.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can buy a puzzle from a thrift shop or secondhand store and cross your fingers that it has all of the pieces. Turn on some tunes and get to work!
Places to go when you’re bored
One of the easiest ways to cure boredom is to just get yourself out of the house.
Unless you’re a trust fund kid using the private jet owned by generational wealth to make a weekend trip to the Hamptons, you’re probably looking for where to go when you’re bored that doesn’t cost you much.
Here’s a look at a few easy places to go when you’re bored on a budget.
Go on a walk
Walks are one of my favorite boredom-busting activities. Take a step out of your front door and start picking random directions or streets to wander down.
Even if you’ve already driven by everything in your neighborhood, it’s a completely different experience when you’re out there on your own two feet.
Go on a drive
Joyriding around town has been a cure for boredom for years! Aren’t sure where to drive when you’re bored? How about you:
- Embrace some nostalgia by driving to a neighborhood lived in or visited frequently before
- Set off an adventure to take a photo at the nearest state/country border
- Admire the homes in an affluent neighborhood
- Pull up a small town or neighborhood you’ve never been to on a map and then go check it out
Be sure to follow the speed limit on your joyride – speeding tickets aren’t cheap!
Hunt for geocaches from your phone
Go on a real-life scavenger hunt by geocaching with a mobile app.
Participants leave containers at hidden locations that can only be found using specific coordinates or clues.
Each container (or “cache”) contains a collection of leave-behinds – often a mix of toys and trinkets – as well as a log of dates and signatures by those who’ve found that geocache.
Find a restaurant where kids eat for free
Do you have a child? If so, you know that eating out at restaurants is more expensive than just paying to feed yourself.
Thankfully, there are some restaurants where kids eat for free – whether it’s a full entree or just dessert.
Find a new outdoor attraction you haven’t visited yet
Grab a breath of fresh air while you explore a new (or favorite) outdoor attraction. Read a book at a park. Hike a new trail. Drive up the canyon. Walk along the beach.
Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly “outdoorsy,” there’s something for everyone!
Enjoy all of the benefits of the local library
Your public library offers you a wide variety of perks that you probably aren’t taking advantage of.
You can save money by visiting the library to listen to a guest lecture, pick up some free museum or state park passes, or simply check out some new books!
What to do when you’re bored alone
If you’re on your own this weekend and feeling bored, don’t despair! Here are a few ideas that will keep you busy and boost your mood at the same time.
Treat yourself to dessert
Whether you decide to buy a dollar ice cream cone from McDonald’s or splurge on a gourmet item from a pastry shop or bakery, it’s always cheaper to treat yourself to dessert rather than buying a full meal.
Enjoy something sweet and perhaps a little indulgent in the name of “saving money,” can you beat that?
Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
Of course, these are just two of the opportunities you have to share your time back to contribute to your community. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways you can better yourself.
No matter your passions – animal rights, the environment, military veterans, elderly care – you can find a way to make a difference by volunteering, whether it’s once or on a recurring basis.
Connect with friends to make plans during the week
Reach out to friends or acquaintances to catch up over coffee or dinner during the upcoming week.
If you’ve been feeling down about not having any plans for the weekend, you’ll not only get a chance to build or renew a connection but also have something to look forward to in the coming days.
Write a letter, send an email, or make a phone call to a family member
No matter who you are, there’s someone that would love to hear from you.
Whether it’s a parent, child, sibling, or distant cousin… take a few minutes to check in with them, share what’s happening in your life, and send a thoughtful message (perhaps with an inspirational quote) their way.
Start learning a new song, instrument, or piece of art
Developing a talent like playing an instrument or mastering a medium of art can require thousands of hours of practice.
Pick up a new skill. Refine your talents. Find yourself in a state of “flow” by immersing yourself in art and music.
What to do when you’re bored with friends
So your friend group wants to hang out, but you’re not quite sure what the plan is. Here are some ideas, a mix of both normal and a little out of the ordinary, that will help you create some fun memories with your favorite people.
Invite friends over for a game night
Don’t have any games to play? You can find a variety of popular and uncommon board games at your local thrift shop or secondhand store.
It’s great to have a few classics that everyone knows, but it’s also a lot of fun to learn the rules of a vintage or unusual game!
Do a photoshoot
Stage a photoshoot around town or at some of your favorite hangout spots. You can help each other take solo photos for each others’ dating profiles, or capture some candid moments that you’ll love sharing on social media or looking back at down the road.
Create your own “group fitness” routine
If your friends love to stay active, why not enjoy a yoga night, go on a run, or complete an interval workout together?
Find an activity that’s suitable for every memory of your friend group, and use those burned calories as an excuse to make smoothies or share a meal afterward.
Host your own art night
While art supplies can require a bit of an initial investment, they can be a great fallback option for a fun night inside with your friends. Watercolor or acrylic paints can easily last several uses and be shared by a group.
You can paint portraits of yourselves or of each other. You can also decide on a shared prompt (“draw a mythical creature” or “paint your dream house”), work on your artwork without showing others, and enjoy a good laugh when you compare your final product with others.
Grab some blankets and get out of town to see shooting stars and constellations outside the city limits. You can stay entertained for hours chatting with your friends, munching on some snacks, and keeping an eye out for cosmic wonders.
Where to find things to do when you’re bored
Although it can be challenging to come up with fun ideas on your own, there are lots of resources available to help you find something entertaining to do when you’re bored. Here are a few places to find fun activities.
Attend a local Meetup event
Want to find a group to hike with? Play board games with? Discuss books with?
These are just a few of the common activities you’ll find hosted through the Meetup website.
The website allows you to connect with local people who share your same passions and hobbies. You may even be able to find a Meetup that helps you learn a new skill so you can ask for a raise at work!
Find a community events calendar
If you’re looking for free or cheap things to do in your area, you’ll want to bookmark any community event calendars you can find.
Check out the event calendar for the local library, or see what’s on the upcoming schedule at any nearby university.
Many community events have limited advertising or varying levels of engagement, so they’ll be happy to see you there!
Attend a Facebook event together
Your Facebook friends might send you private invitations to their own events, but did you know you can easily search through events open to the general public?
Use the Discover Events page to find events in your city that are happening this weekend. Find something that looks interesting, and then go check it out together!
See what’s offered on Eventbrite
Another website to check out for free or cheap events near you is Eventbrite. Just like Facebook and Meetup, you can browse different categories of events in your city.
While some of the events charge for tickets, there are lots of free events for music, food and drink, exercise classes, and more.
Don’t let boredom become an excuse to break your budget.
Having fun doesn’t have to come with a price tag or at the expense of your long-term goals. You can respect your financial values while still having a good time!
Next time you find yourself bored over the weekend, choose two or three activities from the list above. Bonus points if you decide to mix and match a few of these ideas together!
Want to save these ideas for later? Pin this post to a relevant Pinterest board so you can skip the boring weekends – and maybe help someone else do the same!