The past few years have been weird. There’s no better way to say it. The pandemic seemed to leave many with stronger tendencies to spend more time at home.
In addition, Summer is headed our way, and you’ll need to find ways to entertain your bored kids – and yourself. This mega-list of 59 cheap or free things to do when you’re bored at home will keep you from losing your mind and busting your budget!
Protecting Your Budget
One of my main concerns is that when people are cooped up inside for too long, and boredom kicks in, you can easily find yourself aimlessly scrolling Amazon, ordering all the things.
Before you know it, your house is overflowing with a surplus of slime-making ingredients, clothing you’ll never really wear, and even that designer bag you’ve been eyeing and finally decided “you deserved it.”
Add to that possible loss of employment or wages and possible mounting medical bills, and you have yourself a recipe for financial disaster. In this day and age, it feels as though our entire lives revolve around electronics.
Trust me, I’m addicted to my iPhone as much as anyone else, but even I don’t want to be scrolling through Instagram 24/7/who-knows-how-long.
I don’t want to see you suffering from some crazy buyer’s remorse when all is said and done, so I’ve put together this huge list of 59 things to do when you’re bored at home – whatever the reason!
What Do You Do When You Are Bored at Home?
Do you use your time to accomplish tasks that have been lingering on your to-list for too long, or do you find yourself just laying around all day complaining about how bored you are?!
We’ve all heard the phrases “bored to death,” “bored to tears,” etc., but before you go searching for things to entertain yourself, take a few minutes to really understand why you’re bored – and more importantly – what type of boredom you’re experiencing.
Yes, you read that correctly; there are actually different types of boredom, and they can mean different things.
But, understanding the root cause of your boredom may be the difference between finding healthy ways to combat your boredom or unhealthy ways, which could obviously lead to more destructive behaviors.
Things to Do When You’re Bored at Home
Here’s the thing…it’s going to get old. Sometimes it feels easier to occupy the little kids than the bigger kids and the adults!
It would be easier to find things to keep us busy if it wasn’t so dang important that we save our money right now as well so sure, we could all order huge flatscreens, all the new release movies, and a brand new Xbox for our kids but for most of us that won’t sit too well with our budgets. That’s why all of these ideas are cheap…or free!
Read the Unread Books in Your Collection
You probably have a bunch sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust. Grab one to read…heck, grab them all and go to town.
Read New eBooks or Audiobooks
I love using the Hoopla app to listen to free audiobooks. They also have free ebooks, movies, and children’s books. All you need is a library card, and you can start borrowing books for free!
Find Some Binge-Worthy New Podcasts
If you’re not yet hooked on podcasts, it’s time to get hooked. Podcasts are great to listen to while working out, driving, and even cooking. Browse one of the many podcast apps and find some that sound appealing…there’s even a bunch geared toward kids.
Try Some At-Home Workouts
YouTube is a great place for free workouts. You can literally find anything there, and it’s free!
Do All the Self-Care Things You Love
Your mental health is as important as your physical health, don’t neglect it. Fill some of your spare time with any self-care activity that makes you feel relaxed and renewed.
Create a Vision Board
Put that stash of old magazines to work and create a vision board, this is fun to involve the kids too!
Sit down to Redo Your Budget
Start from scratch and create a bare-bones budget (the least amount of money you could live on), a normal budget, and a dream budget (if you had a big increase in income). It can be easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to budgeting. Start over with a fresh perspective.
Purge or Organize Your Closet
You know you’ve been meaning to do this…so get to work.
Do a Jigsaw Puzzle
Grab one with a bazillion pieces, clear off a table, and let it sit out as long as it takes to complete it. We love doing puzzles this way because we can sit down for a few minutes at a time and just walk away when we need a break.
Try Out a New Recipe
Pull up that Pinterest board you’ve been saving recipes to for years now, and start experimenting!
Create a Photobook Online
Beat the boredom by making a photobook. Make them as family yearbooks to commemorate your favorite vacation or as a mushy gift for your significant other.
Phone a Friend
It’s a great time to reconnect with friends and family you’ve lost touch with.
Purge Photos on Your Phone and Computer
With all the data we hoard these days, our devices seem to fill up super fast. Purge and organize the photos (and other unneeded data) on your laptop, phone, and other devices.
When your family is starting to work your nerves, pop in your air pods and play a game (or three) of Solitaire. Grab a deck of cards or even play on one of your devices.
Walk Your Dog
Good exercise for you and for Fido…it’s a win-win.
Turn Your Dining Room into a Ping Pong Table
Ping-pong is so fun, but not everyone has the room for a ping-pong table. No worries – this fun kit comes with an adjustable net, paddles, and balls to turn any table into a ping-pong table in minutes.
Create a Meal Plan for the Whole Month
I used to meal plan for an entire month at a time, and it was awesome. It can be time-consuming, but it’s a productive use of time and will end up saving you time and money in the end.
Do Wordsearches, Crossword Puzzles, or Soduku
These little puzzle books are cheap and can bring hours of fun. Play alone or grab two and play race your family members.
Make Your Favorite Dessert
What better time to eat some yummy, comforting desserts?
Spring Clean Your House
You may not want to do it but cleaning really is an awesome way to fill your time. Plus, you’ll burn some calories!
Create Some Cash Envelopes
We print our own cash envelopes and love that we can easily make another if one gets torn or lost. You can grab my cash envelope template here.
Tackle a DIY Project
Stop procrastinating and get started on that DIY project you’ve been meaning to get to.
Play Board Games
Pull out all your family’s favorite board games and go to town…this one is probably our all-time fav.
Learn a New Language
There are so many resources available to you to teach yourself a new language.
Have a Family Movie Night
Pop some popcorn, grab your favorite treat, put on your pj’s, and have a movie night. Way cheaper than the theater.
Start a Blog
You know that blog or website you’ve been thinking about starting for years now? Now is the perfect time to get to work on it.
Learn to Sew or Knit
Teach yourself by reading a book or watching YouTube videos. If you already know how then teach your kids.
Give Yourself a Makeover
Try out some new makeup techniques or practice some new hairstyles you haven’t yet found the time to perfect.
Clean Out Your Inbox
If you’re anything like me, then that little number by your email app drives you nuts. Take some time to clean out all your emails and set up some folders to help keep you better organized moving forward.
Find a New Show on Netflix
I think it’s safe to say. The majority of the population has Netflix by now, and if not, now is a great time to sign up for their free trial. They have so many amazing original programs and documentaries they’ve released lately you’re bound to find something to watch while you’re bored at home.
Writing down your thoughts or using a gratitude journal won’t only occupy some time each day, but it’s also a great habit to start.
Have a Scavenger Hunt
Make up some clues, hide ’em, and get busy having fun. Everyone can enjoy a good scavenger hunt!
List Things Online to Sell
I love selling clothing and handbags online. While Facebook Marketplace is a fan favorite, I feel as though it wastes way too much time with all the bartering and no-shows. My favorite platforms are Poshmark and Mercari.
They are both easy to use and list items, and everything ships, so there are no awkward meet-ups. It’s also been my personal experience that things sell at a higher price than on Facebook as well.
Legos aren’t just for kids! Flex your creative muscles and break out the kids’ Legos. I love this big bin of mixed Classic Legos the most because you can make virtually anything with them, and it’s super affordable (versus some of the insanely priced model sets).
Catch is a great activity both indoors and out…just don’t play indoors with an actual baseball. We love getting outside and throwing the football or putting on our baseball gloves and playing catch, and this fun ball is perfect for playing catch indoors.
Make a Scrapbook
Do you have a big bin somewhere in your house overflowing with scrapbook supplies?! Dig it out, grab the kids, and make a scrapbook with some of your favorite family memories.
Paint, Draw, or Color
Art supplies can be relatively inexpensive (unless you’re getting professional brands) and are a great way to pass the time! We like to keep some in stock here at home for when the kids (or the parents) get bored!
You can also find endless free coloring pages with just a simple Google search online.
Do Some Yard Work
Get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and clean up your yard.
Give Yourself a Manicure + Pedicure
It’s great to go to the salon and pamper yourself, but it’s also expensive! If you have the extra time, try giving yourself a gel mani/pedi at home.
Make Some Freezer Meals
Having a freezer stash is always a good idea, but it takes time to make all those extra meals. I love using Eat at Home’s done-for-you meal plans because they are incredibly affordable, come with everything you need (including instructions and a complete shopping list), and also send out freezer meal plans as well.
Clean Your Makeup Brushes
An esthetician friend of mine often reminds me that we ladies should be doing this (at least) monthly! I won’t even get into how much bacteria and germs live on these things that we rub all over our faces each day. You don’t need any fancy cleaner.
Create a Budget Binder
Using a budget binder literally changed our lives. Yeah, it’s that dramatic. It helped me really get familiar with our budget and made managing our money a more efficient process. You can watch this video where I walk through our exact budget binder setup and grab a copy of my printable budgeting bundle and set up your own budget binder.
Meditation is such a wonderful habit to begin, but it can take some getting used to! There are lots of videos to help you get started on YouTube and a bunch of options in the app store as well.
Try on Clothes
Try on all your clothing and get rid (donate or sell) of anything that doesn’t fit, is out of style, or you haven’t touched in a year.
Start a YouTube Channel
If you’ve wanted to start creating your own YouTube videos, don’t put it off any longer. You don’t need any special gear to get started. Grab your phone and film your first video right now.
Switch Up Some of the Decor in Your House
This is one of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling discontented with our home. I love moving plants or decorative items around and switching up the photos in the frames to give a room a fresh feel.
Determine Your Debt-Free Date
Have you ever calculated your debt-free date? (You can skip this one if you’re debt-free). It’s so fun – and I’m not just saying that because I’m a super-nerd.
This debt snowball calculator is a clever spreadsheet that will help you determine exactly when you will become debt-free; the really cool part is you can play around with extra payments, lump sums, etc., and it will recalculate and show you how each payment can get you closer to your goal! It’s super-motivating and a necessity if you’re working to pay off your debt.
Have a Dance Party
“Alexa, play dance radio”! Blast some music and dance around like no one’s watching! Dancing is a fun way to boost your endorphins and a killer form of exercise.
Go for a Hike
Become one with nature. Hiking is good for the soul, especially if the weather is good in your area.
Bake Your Own Bread
Did you know how simple it is to bake your own bread? Healthier, better-tasting, and will make your whole house smell incredible. If you want to get really fancy, grab one of these.
Wash Your Windows
Ugh, windows…the most annoying pain-in-the-you-know-where thing to clean in the whole house. But, alas, it has to be done, right? This is hands-down the best window cleaner I’ve ever tried – streaks be gone.
Take a Bubble Bath
Being bored at home can be stressful…yes, I’m being serious, especially if you’re an extreme extrovert. Light some candles, fill the tub, grab your favorite book, and take some YOU time.
Make Tie-Dye Shirts
Yep, they’re totally back in style, big time. Grab some inexpensive plain shirts or crewnecks, a tie-dye kit, and relive your youth. P.S. Kids love doing this too.
Wash All Your Linens
Another booorrrringg household task. Pull down your drapes, curtains, tablecloths, comforters, etc., and toss ’em in the wash! You’ll be glad you did when everything looks and smells so fresh and so clean, clean. These are the best laundry detergents on a budget.
Dye Your Hair a Fun Color
Want to switch up your look but don’t want to commit? I found this temporary, vegan hair dye when searching for a way to dye my daughter’s hair without ruining it. They have a million super-bright colors and are very reasonably priced, but they can stain, so take careful precautions prepping your work area.
Play Some Video Games
Proceed with caution. I know video games can be super addicting, but they’re okay in moderation. I love playing the old-school Nintendo my son has (it was re-released a few years ago). It’s cheaper than most other consoles and comes pre-loaded with a bunch of games.
Or, make some money by playing games on your mobile device.
Make Your Own Bath Bombs
We did this a few years back to give out as gifts, and they turned out great. We purchased this all-in-one kit, and it gave us almost everything we needed. It was a really fun activity, plus then you have lots of bath bombs to use at a fraction of the price…those babies are crazy-expensive these days.
Vacuum Out Your Car
No one likes to do it, but it has to be done. Especially if you have dogs that like to join you on your Sunday joyrides (like mine). Grab your Shopvac (we love this smaller size for the cars) and get ‘er done.
Make a Bucket List
Making a bucket list is a great way to spend your spare time! Make specific ones, such as a Summer Bucket List or a classic bucket list that includes all the things you’d like to experience and accomplish in your life.
This article was produced and syndicated by Cents + Purpose.
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Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.