What? You want more already? If 20 Things To Do Without Spending A Dime just wasn’t enough, and you’ve worn our Economy-Conscious Dating Guide thin (nice work!), check out these tips. I’ve racked my brain for even more things you can do without money, because even in penny-pinching times, you deserve to have fun. So grab this handy guide, alone or on a date, and do something free!
Photograph your meals. Find out just how appetizing (or not) your food really is. You can do two things with this: lose weight or make art.
Whistle at the birds. Nothing chauvinistic about this. I mean whistle at real birds, when you’re at the park or taking a walk in the woods. Learn to imitate the birdcalls and see if you can get them to talk back to you. Extra points if you do this on a date. Totally cool.
Strip poker. Need I say more?
Make a time capsule. Gather a few small trinkets and mementos related to your current life and write a some lines about what you’re doing now and where you aspire to be in the near future. Put everything in a glass jar and bury it in the yard (or in the back of your closet). Now mark your calendar to dig out this treasure in a year.
Be a photographer. Even if you don’t think you have the skills, act as if! Every trip to the laundromat or the market can become a chance to scour the seemingly mundane landscape for little bits of beauty. With the ease and instant viewing of digital photography, what have you got to lose?
Visit a friend. Pretty simple. Chatting over tea in the living room costs nothing and nourishes your soul.
Write a letter. Remember snail mail? I hope you haven’t lost the art. Track down someone’s mailing address, and use colored pens on funky stationary to write the most wonderful letter you can imagine. Delight in their surprise at receiving your artistic love on paper.
Start a blog. About anything! The more specific to your life, the better. Whatever you do the most is what you can share the best with the world. Blogs are not irrelevant, as some people might have you think. Recent world events have shown that social media matters. From now on, we are the media.
Go for a full moon walk.
Write secret love notes and plant them in your honey’s medicine cabinet, underwear drawer, pillowcase, tote. If you’re single, write “secret admirer” notes and hide them around the office so everybody thinks they’re the recipient of a sweet crush. Just make sure you don’t get caught!
Pick an assignment from Learning to Love You More.
Sit on a park bench and feed the birds. This is what I call kickin’ it old school. Extra points for cloud gazing. Extra extra points if you do this on a date.
Learn exotic phrases in your favorite foreign language (the library, my favorite free place, is the best resource for language books and CDs). Tape the phrases up around your house and learn them well enough to pepper them into daily conversation. Impress your friends, and better yet, impress yourself!
Re-imagine reality with a friend. Simply pick a place you’re not too thrilled with and verbalize what you’d prefer. “If I were Queen of the World, I’d take that noisy intersection, tear up the pavement, use the chunks to build raised garden beds and plant my favorite vegetables. Let the drivers get out and walk.” Kids are great at this kind of thing; let’s take a hint. Besides, we can’t recreate our world if we can’t dream it up first.
Perform random acts of kindness around your neighborhood. Weed your neighbor’s garden on the sly, or pick up some trash. Leave an anonymous bouquet of flowers for the new mom across the street, or a small bag of groceries for the elderly lady whose husband recently died. This is a great idea for a date as it’s a good indicator of the merit and integrity of your love interest.
If you live anywhere with sand, build a sand castle.
Volunteer to walk dogs at the Humane Society. A happy dog provides instant gratification and it’s a fun thing to do with your sweetie on a beautiful day.
Swing in a hammock. Do nothing else. No reading, no texting, no tweets on the iPhone. Just swing and look up at the branches, the birds, the clouds. Continue for at least one hour. Bliss, at no cost!
Write poetry. Good poetry. You are not too cool for poetry, I promise, plus it’s not as easy as you think. Use the wild freedom of ee cummings for inspiration and do the English language (or any favorite language) proud.
And of course, finally – and it bears repeating – give someone a hug!
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