If your funds are low—and whose aren’t?—but the thought of hitting the books and catching up on laundry this weekend doesn’t sound appealing, here’s a list of 20 cheap things to do this weekend. Whether you live on campus, on your own, or with your parents, there’s bound to be something doable that sounds like fun:
1. Go to the park. Feel like hanging out alone? Grab a book or magazine, your ear buds, and a bottle of water before heading to a nearby park, where you can hang out on a bench or at a picnic table. Read or listen to music while you people watch. Feel like spending the day with friends? Go jogging, hiking, or find a park with canoe or kayak rentals.
2. Play board games. Games were invented long before the Xbox and Playstation. Get together with your roommates or a couple of friends and play old school games like Clue, Life, Monopoly and Twister. If you don’t have them, they’re usually cheap enough to buy new.
3. Go bowling. Bowling was around before the Wii, too! Get ready to sport some ugly shoes that you don’t even own (make sure you bring socks if you’re wearing flip flops!) and bowl a few games. You’ll have more fun than you think.
4. Roller skate or ice skate. When’s the last time you went to the skating rink? If bowling’s not your thing, rent a pair of skates and lace up!
5. Take a (short) road trip. Ask everyone to chip in a few bucks for gas and go to a park, beach, or restaurant that’s a couple of hours away. You’ll escape for a few hours and won’t need to spring for a hotel room.
6. Throw a BYOE party. BYOB is common during the college years, but even apps and snacks add up when you’re hosting a party. Toss a BYOE—Bring Your Own Everything—party instead. Sounds much more modern than a potluck dinner, right?
7. Visit a tourist attraction you’ve never been to. Even the smallest towns have some type of hidden gem that people love to see. Check out a semi-famous statue, amusement park, museum, or other place that’s popular with visitors and see what all the fuss is about.
8. Volunteer on campus or in your community. If you’re feeling down and out, spend a few hours helping others. Note that this may involve some pre-planning if you’re not a regular volunteer—depending on the facility, background checks or volunteer training may be required.
9. Bake something. Skip the $8 slice of chocolate molten cake and bake a box of $2 brownies. Your friends will love you.
10. Get together with friends and write your bucket list. Learn to skydive. See the Eiffel tower. Get a tattoo. Live in New York City for a year. Whatever hopes and dreams you want to accomplish before you die, no matter how big, small, or how silly, write them down.
11. Go for a bike ride. If you don’t have your own, most college campuses have bike rental programs-some of which are free. Bring a backpack with snacks and check out the town on two wheels.
12. Listen to a local band. Performances by local musicians are usually much cheaper than watching big-name bands at concert venues. Besides, if they wind up famous, you can brag about seeing them in the old days.
13. Watch game shows. Minute to Win It, Jeopardy, Family Feud…who ever knew you could have so much fun watching people answer questions and make fools of themselves?
14. Read the Sunday newspaper and clip coupons. Pretend you’re an honest-to-goodness adult rather than a college student and read the actual paper newspaper. Cut out coupons, too. You’ll actually find a lot of deals and savings.
15. Go garage sailing or thrifting. Who needs real stores when you can buy used? If you live in a residential neighborhood, check garage sale listings and make your rounds. Otherwise go to a few local thrift stores and see what bargains you can find.
16. Host an 80s or 90s party. If crazy old clothes were among your purchases, or even if they weren’t, throw an 80s or 90s party (BYOE, of course) and tell everyone to wear acid-washed jeans and neon T-shirts or their grungiest flannel.
17. Sign up for a free class or lecture. Listening to speakers outside of class doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, some large universities host talks by famous people. And who knows? You might learn a thing or two.
18. Make a scrapbook. Get some of your favorite photos printed at a drug store and make scrapbook pages with construction paper and glue. Ah, the memories! (College really will be over before you know it.)
19. Have a fashion swap party / clothing swap. Get rid of things you no longer wear and update your wardrobe with your friends’ discards. Tell everyone to bring a bag full of clothes, shoes and accessories they no longer use. Trade among yourselves and donate any leftovers to charity.
20. Go to a free museum. Your school probably has a least one museum, and there’s bound to be others in town. Find one that is free or one with a “suggestion donation” of just a few dollars.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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