Sense & Centsibility Blog

25 Productive Things to Do Instead of Spending Money

I enjoy shopping and spending money sometimes; the act of it (as long as it's quick), getting new things, and wearing or enjoying those new things. But sometimes I just don't have the money to spend because of whatever happens to be going on in my life. Maybe I went to a concert, a birthday party, and traveled to spend time with family within a couple of weeks. While I live comfortably, I don't have the luxury of unlimited fun money. So I have to be smart with my money and sometimes avoid spending so that I can afford all of my living expenses and contribute to savings. Whether you need to temporarily cut back on spending or are trying to achieve a savings goal or pay off debt, here's a list of productive things to do instead of spending money.

Here are 25 ideas to start with:
  1. Meal prep for the next week
  2. Go for a walk/jog, do yoga, or other exercise
  3. Take a bath
  4. Read a book
  5. Color
  6. Invite friends over
  7. Create and/or review your budget
  8. Write down financial or other goals
  9. Call a relative or friend you haven't talked to in a while
  10. Do a puzzle or brainteaser
  11. Organize your closets
  12. Declutter and sell items you don't need
  13. Volunteer at a local food shelf, animal shelter, etc.
  14. Clean out your refrigerator
  15. Bake something you can share with your co-workers or neighbors
  16. Pull your credit report from (for free) and review for errors
  17. Shop around for better auto insurance
  18. Update your resume
  19. Pack your lunch for the next day
  20. Make a to-do list for the next week or month
  21. Help your child with homework or do an art project together
  22. Write someone a letter and mail it (Who doesn't love getting mail that isn't a bill or junk mail?!)
  23. Set up automatic deposits into a savings account from your paycheck
  24. Declutter your inbox and unsubscribe from emails you don't need
  25. Switch to paperless billing and set up automatic payments for any you haven't set up yet

Even though items listed above aren't necessarily the most fun things to do, you will either feel productive and even maybe more relaxed afterward. Plus, if you have the itch to spend money, staying busy always helps.

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.