Friday Five: 5 Ideas for a “Spend Free” Weekend

It’s Friday, so I’m linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the new Friday Five 2.0. The theme this week is “Summer Running Tips.” I just did a few similar ones. I’m going to go with a topic I’ve covered before that came up in a podcast I listened to this week – having a “spend free” weekend.

Oh, Internet, how I love, thee! I’m not sure how we found out about cool free things to do in the “old days,” (AKA pre-Google) because it’s honestly kept my weekends from turning into complete spendathons. If you feel like going out and having fun has turned you into a human cash machine, challenge yourself to a weekend (or a weekend day) where you don’t spend any money. Seriously, you can do it!

spend free weekend

5 Ideas for a Spend Free Weekend

1. Take a walk and people watch. My favorite free thing to do in any city is to walk around and to people watch. I walk around everywhere in Chicago in summer. I also like to sit out in Belmont Harbor and read and watch the boats and people. It does get hot around here, so I like to look for other freebies in cooler places, too.

Check out the FreeChicago Twitter Feed!

Check out the FreeChicago Twitter Feed!

2. Google free events in your city. A great place to find free things to do in your area is on your town or city’s website. Many of these sites have “community calendar” sections and they list free seminars and activities. The City of Chicago website has info on free concerts, fitness classes, festivals, movies and much, much more! [Did you see my Friday Five on Taste of Chicago? Tons of great freebies there, too!] Also, if you live in Chicago, check out the awesome site Free Things to Do in Chicago. It lists everything from free concerts and museum exhibits to coupons and free offers at specific merchants. It has a popular Facebook page and Twitter feed. Similar sites exist in Denver, Austin, Los Angeles, New York City and many more!

3. Check out the library (pun intended). Another great, free resource is your local library. Many libraries now offer much more than books, such as seminars, movie rentals, audio books and more. In Chicago, you can also check availability online and even download books for your e-reader. You can also get free passes to some great attractions like the Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute.

4. Listen to podcasts! Check out some great podcasts on iTunes. Visit the podcast section and sample a few by topics that interest you. Most podcasts on iTunes are free or you can stream them from the shows’ websites. I am partial to National Public Radio (NPR) and some of my favorites are This American Life, Freakonomics and The Moth Story Hour. I also love all of the new shows from Gimlet Media including StartUp, Sampler, Surprisingly Awesome and Reply All. I listen to these while walking or running — a free twofer!

5. Try one of these freebies or come up with some of your own! Play a game, learn a craft (you would not believe how many free how to videos are on You Tube), take a hike, host a potluck, sign up for a free online class, clean up, do yoga, have a garage sale (you could make money!), write a letter or reply to all of your emails. You can also volunteer your time and often you get food and other perks at volunteer events – a win-win!

For even more great ideas, check out 102 Things to Do on a Money Free Weekend at The Simple Dollar blog. Use these money saving tips and challenge yourself to come up with some free weekend days where you don’t spend any money. It’s easier than you think!

What are your favorite free things to do? Please leave them in the comments.

PS. Don’t miss my great giveaways – they are also free!



  1. I actually enjoy hanging out at my house during the summer! We have a great pool and patio and it doesn’t cost me anything. No, I am wrong, pool chemicals are expensive…

  2. Amy Scott says:

    I love your ideas and I like having spend free days. I usually don’t have a spend free weekend because weekends are normally when I spend money going out to eat (we go on a date for lunch).

    Charleston often has free movie nights which are a good way to save (especially if you eat at home before and can snag a free parking spot). The library is also great- ours even gives members 3 MP3 downloads each week and that saves me money downloading songs for my running playlist.

  3. Kimberly G says:

    Love these ideas! It’s amazing how many free events you can find in your city, or neighboring cities, just by doing a little research!

  4. I would love to check out the SummerDance events and the concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

  5. Clean out the fridge and have a picnic!

  6. Alyssa says:

    I love to take a walk at a new forest preserve! There is a ton in Lake County so there is always a new one to explore.

  7. ellen beck says:

    Some our favorite things to do is go on the bike trail, go fishing (free once you have the liscence I guess) go to the park, the library. It isnt as big as Chicago here, but there are always free outdoor things.

  8. Lisa Brown says:

    Great tips. NPR podcasts are also very popular at our house.

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