10 No-Spend Activities for Students on a Budget

As college students, money can be tight, making it difficult to afford doing a slew of activities with your friends every week. It can feel as if every time you step outside of your house, you’re consistently spending money that you may not have. However, at the same time, you don’t want to feel holed up at home.

If you’re anything like me, this results in a constant battle with your spending—not wanting to miss out on chances to hang out with your friends or trying to find reasons to leave the house. However, there are plenty of activities you can do that don’t require you to spend even a single cent.

  1. Visit your local library
    If you love reading or are looking to get more into it, libraries are the place to go. They have hundreds of books to choose from, and browsing the stacks will get you out of the house. Make sure to double-check if your library has the Libby app, which allows you to download eBooks and audio books from your library’s selection.

    Libraries also offer a variety of other benefits. They often have movies you can borrow as well as plenty of free events you can attend, such as art classes, book clubs, yoga sessions, career classes, movie nights, and so much more!
  2. Have a home spa day
    Instead of going out to buy an expensive mani-pedi or a matching set, try having a spa day at home every once in a while. Pick out your favorite nail polish and get creative with some fun patterns or designs if you’re able. Pop on a movie and apply a rejuvenating face mask while your nails dry to achieve maximum relaxation.

    Furthermore, invite some friends over if you’re looking for a free activity that you can all do together. Make an afternoon out of it, creating a spa-like environment with a calming ambience mix and some light snacks.
  3. Host a game night
    Another great group activity that won’t cost you a single cent is a game night. Have all your friends bring over their favorite games they’ve stashed away in their closets and go to town! I’m talking Monopoly, Life, Uno, Cards Against Humanity—the whole nine yards. Promote some friendly competition amongst the group and see who can win the most games.
  4. Go for a hike
    Whether alone or with a group, hiking is the perfect activity if you’re looking to get outside the house and get your body moving. You can make the experience as rigorous as you want it to be while taking in the beautiful sights around you. With the beautiful spring weather fast approaching, this activity is a go-to if you’re feeling stuck inside.
  5. Try out new recipes
    One of my favorite activities when I’m feeling bored or am tempted to go out and spend money on food is to try out new recipes using the ingredients in my pantry. This is definitely better for those living in a house or apartment with access to a kitchen, but there are also plenty of ways to get creative with a microwave (just try not to catch anything on fire!).

    I start by getting an inventory of all the ingredients I have and then trying to come up with some new ideas for how I can use them. This not only a fun idea if you enjoy cooking, but also a great way to use items that may have been sitting abandoned in your pantry for a while.
  6. Go to the gym
    I know, I know. You probably didn’t want to hear this one, but this really is a good activity to try if you’re looking to escape your house without spending money. You might as well invest some time into your health while you’re at it, and the gym is the perfect destination to do so. Grab a friend to help with that gym anxiety, and soon enough, you’ll be going on your own!
  7. Have a picnic
    A perfect activity that pairs well with the warmer weather we’ve been getting is to go on a picnic. Find a nice spot of grass or an especially agreeable park bench and get to work on making the perfect picnic setting.

    Moreover, you should consider bringing along foods you already have rather than buying more just to make your picnic “aesthetic.” You’re going to have a nice time either way, especially if you invite some friends, so save your money for this activity and just enjoy yourself!
  8. Make a playlist
    If you’re anything like me, you need a playlist for every mood and occasion under the sun. Therefore, making playlists can be a really fun, no-spend activity for when you’re feeling boredom creep up on you. Sit outside if the weather calls for it and vibe to your music while you select the songs to add to your carefully curated playlists.
  9. Try a new workout
    There are many people who think that working out just isn’t for them, but there is an assortment of workouts out there you can try! Between dancing, Zumba, yoga, kickboxing, sports, Pilates, and so many other forms of exercise, you’re sure to discover something that you find enjoyable that will also get you up and moving.
  10. Go to the beach
    It would be a crime not to take advantage of this remarkable location along the shore. If you’re ever looking for a free activity, look no further than one mile away from campus. Visit the beach to take in that fresh ocean air and beautiful tidal scenery. Bring some friends along if you’re feeling social for a walk on the boardwalk or a stroll through the sand. Take advantage of this school’s prime positioning!

    Although it’s perfectly okay to splurge on some fun activities every once in a while, it’s important to remember that not all outings have to be accompanied by a price tag. There are plenty of things you can do for free around your area, both by yourself and with a group of friends. Try incorporating some of these activities into your schedule over more expensive outings to save yourself a little money!