Has your mind drawn a blank?
You’re desperate to be doing SOMETHING and you want to write a list of super productive things to do, yet right now you have drawn a complete blank.
What do you do with your time when you have vowed to quit spending money you don’t have?
Are you supposed to just sit there like a couch potato watching TV? Only you’ve just got rid of cable and don’t have Amazon Prime so……
Saving money doesn’t mean you stop doing. Far from it.
You can start doing so many productive and useful things that will improve your life, your happiness and your finances. And they don’t have to cost any money at all.
Even better, with some you can save money and maybe make money too. How cool is that?
I love being frugal but I’m certainly not bored. There are so many things you can do when you are frugal, without spending money.
I’ve compiled this huge list of productive things to do, and I keep adding to it as I think of yet more things, to help you see just how much there is that you can do without spending any money at all.
To make your life easier, because it is a very long list, I’ve loosely sorted them into productive areas. If you’re keen to work on one area, why not scroll down and have a look for inspiration?
- Shine Up Your Finances
- Productive Things To Do To Earn Extra Cash
- Productive Things To Do In Your Home
- Productive Focus On Health
- Productive Focus On Your Relationships
- Productive Focus On Happiness
99 Super Productive Things To Do (Without Spending Money)
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Productive Things To Do To Shine Up Your Finances
1.Choose A Savings Goal
Talk to your partner or kids and think about something you’d like to save up for. Then set yourself a target of say 3 months or 12 months to achieve it.
Why not download the vacation savings plan tracker from my free resource library?
2. Create Your Survival Budget
This is your budget when the sh*t hits the fan. Like losing your job. Not for the fainthearted but a great thing to have ready prepared in your back pocket to whip out if the worst happens.
Read my post on why you need a 2nd tight budget for detailed advice on what to include and how to create your survival budget. Includes a free budget template.
3. Have A Bill Lowering Session
Pull all your recurring bills out, such as utilities, car insurance and home insurance and shop around to see if you can get them lower. Remember there is no existing customer loyalty these days, indeed you’ll likely pay more if you never switch.
Related post: How To Save Electricity Doing Absolutely Nothing
4. Create Your Financial Goals
Financial goals are often the difference between being successful with your money and not. Financial goals are your chance to sit down and think about what you want to achieve with and for your money.
Buying a house, retiring early, paying for your children’s college education. These are all goals that need writing down and focusing on. With focus you can achieve them. Without focus you are making it doubly hard to get there.
5. Create Your Monthly Budget
If you don’t already have one (you really should!) then now is the time to face the task head on and get it done. Your budget doesn’t limit you, it frees you. It tells you how much you can spend.
6. Track What You Spent Last Month
Recording what your spend every month is extremely eye-opening. I spent how much on chocolate?!
Pull out all your receipts, your bank and credit card statements for the last calendar month and list everything you have spent into categories such as:
- Eating Out
- Haircuts and Beauty Treatments
- Don’t knows
Is everything as it should be? As you would want it to be? Are you happy with how much you spend on food? On eating out?
If you are overspending, here is your evidence of where your money is going.
7. Have A No Spend Day
When you’ve got no money, not spending is obvious. But we often fritter a few dollars here and there. A no spend day is just that. For 24 hours don’t spend a single cent. Easily done. Or is it?
8. Plan Your Retirement Income
Check out how much your pension is going to pay you when you reach retirement age. Then check what social security payments you will be entitled to.
Finally, consider whether these two amounts combined are enough for you to live comfortably on. If not, now is the time to start thinking about saving for your retirement.
9. Join A Money Saving Challenge
Challenges are a great way to save money. They are a target you are aiming for and who wants to miss a target? You have a specific time frame and an amount to achieve each week or month.
Related post: Money Saving Challenge – Inspire Your Frugal Life Today
10. Unsubscribe Your Email
If you’re anything like me you will get a ton of emails every day that either you don’t read or don’t want. Spend 30 minutes and unsubscribe from as many as possible. And delete all your trash emails right now.
11. Take An Online Course
There are hundreds and thousands of free online courses available. Choose one that focuses on increasing your knowledge.
12. Tackle A No Spend Challenge
A no spend challenge of a week or longer really focuses you on NOT spending money. It’s hard to do but fantastic to achieve. It helps to plan ahead, think about what your week or month will involve.
13. Organize Your Documents
Clear out your paperwork drawer and organize your personal documents so you can find them easily. Personal documents such as your I.D. docs, tax return paperwork, insurance certificates.
14. Organize Your Online Presence
Photos that you uploaded whilst you were at college or under the influence of alcohol are permanently available for friends, family and more to see until you actively choose to delete them.
Now would be a good time to do so – especially if you are actively jobsearching (employers often check Facebook profiles).
15. Review Your Online Name
Have you ever googled your name? You might just want to do so so you know what others see if they decided to google you.
16. Backup Your Computer
If your computer was stolen or broken beyond repair you would still want access to the photos and documents it stored. Backing up, ideally to a cloud, will ensure you have access should the worse happen.
17. Organize Your Laptop
Folders, files and desktop icons all get very cluttered over time. And we have to make do with a slower computer and taking more time to find files because of this clutter.
Get rid of as many files and folders on your desktop, they belong in your drive not saved directly to your desktop. (Mr2p is a nightmare for this, thankfully I don’t have to share a laptop with him!)
Productive Things To Do To Earn Extra Cash
18. Consider Turning Your Hobby Into A Cash Machine
Many hobbies have the potential to earn you money. Many from the comfort of home and without any real investment except time. Check out my post on hobbies to make money from for lots of inspiring ideas.
19. Sell Your Stuff
Unless you are a minimalist, you’re likely to have stuff hanging around you no longer use. You could get a double win if you decluttered your home and sold these items. You can sell locally on Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, Craigslist, Gumtree and no doubt other places.
20. Sell Other Stuff
If you found selling your own stuff easy, why not go one step further and find other things to sell? Check the free sections on Craigslist and Facebook for things you can flip and resell.
Also you can pick up some real bargains from yard sales and charity shops that you can up-sell.
21. Become A Delivery Person
You don’t need a car to be a delivery person, indeed in a city it’s often easier to get about on your bike, and quicker. Sign up for services like UberEats, Uber and DoorDash to make some extra cash.
22. Rent Out Your Home
No matter where you live, someone is likely to want to stay in your location for a night or more. So why not at your house? You can rent a room or your whole house out via Airbnb.
23. Rent Out Your Driveway
Renting out your driveway is another easy to set up thing that can bring in some adhoc money for you. I use JustPark when I am driving into London. I book a driveway via their app and rock up a few hours later.
24. Rent Out Your Car
You can even rent out your car these days. Why not make a little money if you are not using it?
25. Organize A Yard Or Car Boot Sale
When you are selling your stuff, sometimes it’s easier to do it on one day. Plan when you are going to hold your sale and how to advertise it. Think about your prices, too high and you’ll be left with stuff you don’t want, too low and you’ll be giving it away.
26. Write An Ebook
Ebooks can be written and hosted directly with the likes of Amazon. Many ebooks are on a niche/small subject and can be as little as 25 pages long.
27. Investigate Flexible Work From Home Jobs
If you are interested in flexible work from home jobs and making money from home then why not spend some productive time investigating the different ways you might do so?
Productive Things To Do In Your Home
28. Do Your Laundry
You’ve got some time so do some laundry. Reducing your laundry pile will give you a sense of satisfaction, especially if you do the ironing as well!
29. Do Some Cleaning
Take a room at a time and give it a really good clean. Dust, shake out cushions, purge bookcases and wash down skirting boards.
30. Meal Prep For Next Week
Save time in the evening by having a meal prep session. You could batch cook a big dish of something or do 2 or 3 different dishes. Portion them out and you’ve got meals ready prepared for the week ahead.
31. Prep Tomorrow’s Clothes
Organize what you are going to wear tomorrow and iron it ready for the morning. You can have an extra 5 minutes in bed as treat.
32. Pack Tomorrow’s Lunch
Get ahead of yourself by organizing, making and packing tomorrows lunch today. Because you are not doing it last minute you have the opportunity to make a really yummy lunch.
33. Create An Emergency Kit
We all have the odd power outage but sometimes they can last longer. Gather together essentials for an emergency kit if you had to leave your house in a hurry for a day or two. Think water purification tablets, food, candles, radio etc.
34. Put Together A First Aid Kit
When you have a first aid emergency, however small, the last thing you want is to be scrabbling around looking for antiseptic ointment, plasters and the like. Create a basic first aid kit and keep it somewhere accessible.
35. Clean Your Fridge
Fridges attract smears and droplets from goodness knows where. Pull everything out and give all the shelves and boxes a good wipe down.
36. Organize Your Closet
Closets get jumbled real quick. Give yours a tidy up and you’ll find things you thought were lost.
37. Organize Your Junk Shame Drawer
We all have a shame drawer full of junk that somehow accumulates and never gets sorted. It’s bits of this and bits of that. Take 10 minutes, be ruthless and clear the junk.
38. Give The Dog A Bath
Giving a dog a bath after a muddy walk is not fun and tends to be rushed. Take some time when the dog isn’t muddy to give him a decent wash and dry.
39. Clean Your Garage
Garages can be a haven for anything that doesn’t fit in your house anymore. The result being a crowded garage full of STUFF. Clear it out. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, take it down the dump or sell it.
40. Clean Your Jewelry
Jewelry, whether it’s the real deal or just fashion items, can get tarnished and faded. Give them a clean and shine them back up to their former glory.
41. Mow Your Grass
In the summer grass grows at such a rate you could cut it every couple of days. The smell of freshly cut grass is evocative of summer, mow yours today and enjoy the smell.
42. Create An Evacuation Bag
This is not an emergency kit, it’s more a ‘get the heck outta here right now’ bag. One that should be handily placed to grab and run. Read this post from DollarsandDebts to find out why having an evacuation bag is really a very good thing.
43. Weed Your Garden
Weeds grow like anything. If you leave them too long they’ll seed and then you’ll be fighting weeds for the next 7 years.
44. Plant Vegetables
You can gain the benefits of growing your own with just a few pots on a balcony. If you have a garden, create a couple of beds and plant vegetables that you like to eat.
One packet of tomato seeds will see you over run with tomatoes if you planted them all (I advise not).
45. Shine Your Silver
Or brass or any other metal ornaments. Silver becomes dull with time and exposure to air as do other metals. Polish your ornaments and buff them up to a lovely shine.
46. Finish An Unfinished Project
You start a project with the best of intentions and then run out of time. Now is the time to finish that project off, sit back and admire your handiwork.
47. Sow Some Flower Seeds
There’s nothing better than a garden full of color. You can gather seeds from the seed heads of flowers and save for next season. Sow now and you’ll have new plants and flowers within 8 weeks.
48. Research A New Project
DIY projects are great for spending quality time learning a new skill and improving your home. Check out cool ideas on Pinterest and choose your next project.
49. Make Soap
Making your own soap and choosing your favorite scents is a great de-stressor. Home made soap can also be very eco friendly as your soap is not bought wrapped in plastic and you control the ingredients.
50. Declutter One Room
Many of us buy things and then can never quite bring ourselves to throw things away when they have either lost their usefulness or we admit we don’t need them anymore.
Declutter things that are either surplus to requirements or no longer bring you joy. Double up on your productivity and sell the things you no longer want.
51. Rearrange Your Furniture
You might be on a money saving mission but you can still update your home. Rearrange your furniture and you can end up with a completely different look.
Don’t limit yourself to within room arranging. Consider moving furniture between rooms for very different looks.
52. Sew On A Missing Button
We all have those small little sewing tasks that hang around for ages just waiting to be done. It’s not that they are difficult, it’s just they are so small it doesn’t seem worth getting started. Now is a good time.
53. Change Your Pictures
Most of us have a number of family photos proudly displayed around our home. How often do you update them though? Take time to go through family photos and pictures and update them for more recent ones.
54. Create A Favorite Recipes Folder
Pull together your favorite recipes into one place so you can access them easily whenever you are looking for inspiration.
55. Try Out A New Recipe
Don’t feel you need to stay with the same recipes you have always you used. Check out my Pinterest recipe board for ideas and try something different.
56. Use 5 Ingredients From Your Cupboard To Create A Meal
Think outside the box, create a meal using just 5 ingredients and be inspired by your creation. Some of the tastiest meals have only 5 ingredients (or less!) and your cupboards have food you should use instead of buying more.
57. Plan Your Next Vacation
Try researching destinations that are off the beaten track. Your next vacation does not need to cost a lot, indeed it could be as cheap as chips! Try to find the cheapest, most obscure location and research the area for interesting things to do.
Related post: How To Save For Your Dream Vacation This Year
Productive Focus On Health
58. Learn Something New
Use YouTube tutorials to learn something new. Why not check out how to cut your own or your partner’s hair? That’s a great money saving skill to have.
59. YouTube Fitness
Using YouTube again, find a free fitness workout that suits you and do it. Incorporate it into your weekly routine and you’ll feel the benefits after just a couple of weeks.
60. Research Local Sports Clubs
Find out what sports club operate in your local area and join one. It could be running, tennis, squash or bowls. Most clubs offer their first taster session for free to see how you like it.
61. Create Your Own HIIT Routine
Recently Mr2p and I decided we needed to focus more on our fitness. We already do a fair amount of walking (16-20 miles each week) but little else. So this month we are following this 5 minute HIIT routine three times a week.
62. Train Your Brain
Spend 10 minutes a day and do some brain training. Memory games are great for training your brain and help you keep your wits sharp.
63. Have Yourself A Power Nap
A 20 minute power nap can be great for taking the edge off your tiredness and giving you back your energy. Any longer and you can end up feeling more tired. Set yourself an alarm so you don’t go past the 20 minutes.
64. Run Up And Down The Stairs
Running up and down the stairs for 5 minutes is surprising effective at giving you a mini workout. You’ll be surprised at how many times you can go up and down and how out of breath you get. No need for expensive gym equipment.
65. Turn Up The Music And Dance
Enthusiastic dancing is a great all over workout and calorie burner. Turn on and up your favorite music and have yourself a dance session. If your neighbor works nights, maybe leave this until the afternoon.
66. Take A Cold Shower
I loves me a cold shower. They wake you up in record time, make your skin feel alive and tingly and you will feel the benefits long after you have finished showering.
67. Explore Your Neighborhood On Foot
Walking is the best way to get to know your neighborhood. You notice more when you are on foot. Walking is also great low impact exercise and it’s free.
68. Go For A Bike Ride
A bike ride is a great way to explore a bit further afield without paying for any gas. Being that bit higher than when you are walking you also get a different perspective of the area around you.
69. Practice Mindfulness
I am a recent convert to mindfulness. Training yourself to be in the moment and focus on just one thing helps to still an overactive brain.
Create a quiet space with no TV, radio or phone to interrupt you and take 10 minutes to practice. I use an app to do guided mindfulness which helps with my focus.
Take mindfulness a step further and focus on meditating for 20 minutes. You can find help on YouTube or download an app.
71. Learn Another Language
Learning a different language is great brain training. You can download apps to do this, watch video’s or sign up for an evening class.
72. Find A Healthy Eating Regime
You may have the perfect diet, but most of us don’t. Research what makes up the best eating regime today and plan how you can alter your eating habits to accommodate best practices.
Productive Focus On Your Relationships
73. Contact A Distant Relative
These days of social media mean we can sometimes forget those further afield, especially those who don’t use Facebook or WhatsApp. Call a distant relative or friend and have a good chat.
74. Spend Quality Talking Time With Your Spouse
Living a busy life often leaves us with limited quality time. Add in our use of phones, TV and internet and there is often little quality time to spend with your nearest and dearest.
Switch off the distractions and have a deep conversation with your spouse.
75. Help Out An Elderly Neighbor
We are all living longer but as we get older we become less able and more frail. The older generations hate to ask for help but will be so grateful for a little of your time.
It can be as simple as fixing a shelf, taking afternoon tea with them or helping them with their shopping.
76. Write A Letter To Yourself
Write a letter to your future self about what you hope to have achieved by the time you open this letter. Talk about your dreams, your emotions and your plans.
Seal the letter and set a date for it to be opened in the future – I suggest at least 5 years time. Don’t be tempted to open it before that!
77. Take A Break From Social Media
We all spend too much time on our phones, on different social apps. Take a break from ALL social media, try 24 hours and see how it feels. It might take a bit of getting used to. You might need to phone your friend instead of texting!
78. Have A Chat With Your Child
When was the last time you sat down and chatted with your child without doing something else like cooking, driving or checking your phone? Focus on the two of you and have a conversation, they will love it.
79. Ask Someone For A Date
If you’re single then take the plunge, pluck up the courage and ask that person you fancy at work for a date. What have you got to lose? Choose something low key (it’s a first date) like a walk in your local woodland, park or beach.
80. Teach Your Dog A Trick
You could try teaching your cat but from personal experience you are probably going to fail that one! Whereas a dog is more pliable when it comes to training. What’s more dogs are good at picking up new tricks, especially with practice.
81. Host A Pot Luck
Gather your friends together for an evening meal by virtue of a pot luck supper. No-one ends up spending too much and you get to enjoy your friends company.
82. Have Friends Over For Drinks
You often go out for a drink with friends, why not have them over to yours instead? It’s always fun to have friends round even if just for a cuppa and a biscuit.
83. Bake For Your Co-Workers
Baking muffins or cookies cost pennies but your co-workers will absolutely love your home baking on a tedious day at work. Make it a Friday and they’ll be ready to enjoy their weekend after having your home made cookie.
84. Visit A Family Friend
If you’re local why not drop in and see a family friend you haven’t seen in a while? A surprise visit will leave you both feeling loved and a deeper sense of friendship.
Productive Focus On Happiness
85. Practice Gratitude
Practice the art of being grateful out loud. Look in the mirror and say out loud what you are grateful for. Perhaps you are grateful for your health, your spouse, your pets, today’s’ weather? The spoken word is more powerful than your thoughts.
86. Create A Mood Board Of Future Dreams
Mood boards are a beautiful way to create a picture of your future dreams. Paste your favorite destinations, colors, house styles, anything and everything can go on your own mood board. It shows exactly what you want it to show.
87. Write Down Your Future Goals
Where do you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years time? What do you want to have achieved by the time you are 70? Thinking and writing about what you want to achieve is the first step towards making them happen.
88. Create A Bucket List
Bucket lists are the perfect tool to focus achieving very specific goals within a time-frame. Many people create bucket lists of things to achieve before they hit a significant birthday e.g. 30, 40 or 50.
Once created, your mission is to tick those things off one by one before your self imposed deadline.
89. Watch a TEDTalk
TEDTalks are extremely useful for giving you bite sized information to consider and think about. This is a great talk on how to learn something new in just 20 hours:
90. Write A Poem
If you’re like me you might not have written a poem for many years. But poems are a lovely way to spend some time, they don’t even need to rhyme. See what I did there?!
91. Start A Journal
A journal is a lovely way to record parts of your awesome life. Something you can look back on in later years and share with younger relatives. They are also great for recording your thoughts and feelings and helping you resolve internal conflicts.
92. Draw A Picture
Everyone can draw. You might be out of practice but drawing is something you can do and it doesn’t involve spending any money. Focusing on your subject will help still your mind and leave you feeling calm.
93. Write A Song
Songs don’t need to rhyme and can be about a million different subjects. You could even write new song lyrics to an existing tune.
94. Read A Book
Books broaden your mind, provide you with escapism fiction or new knowledge and are free from your local library. A book can be digested in one sitting or spread over many days.
95. Pull Out A Puzzle
I never do puzzles except at Christmas when visiting older relatives. Yet I really enjoy this puzzle time. Why don’t we do puzzles more often?
I bet you have a puzzle in your attic – get it down, start it and enjoy the quiet concentration you will have.
96. Give Yourself A Manicure
No need to spend $40 on a beauty treatment. DIY at home for nothing. Male or female – pamper your hands, clean them, moisturize and shape your nails. Add nail color if you want – male or female!
97. Read An Ebook
No need to pay for ebooks – there are thousands you can download for free. Many are nice and short so you can try reading something completely different.
98. Go To A Free Museum Or Show
Many museums and local creative shows have free entry. Take advantage of this and sample a different art culture and digest free, interesting information.
99. Find Out About Local Community Events
Local communities can be a hive of interesting, weird and amateur events. Designed by and for local residents, they are fun, free and a great way to spend time in your local community making friends with old and new neighbors.
100. Join A Book Club
These have been growing in popularity for some time. Book clubs usually meet monthly to discuss the book everyone has been reading. You can get the book from the local library.
They often involve food provided by the host with the hosting circulating around all group members.
101. Sign Up And Grab Birthday Freebies
Who doesn’t love a birthday gift? And even better when it’s free. Many companies offer freebies on your birthday as long as they know when it is. Check out Mrs Pinch’s birthday freebies post with over 40 companies offering your goodies.
99 Super Productive Things To Do (Without Spending Money)
Well, that should keep you feeling super productive for a good while and all without spending money.
It just goes to show you, you don’t need to be spending money to have a good time or achieve some great things.
Now which ones are you going to start today?