64 Free & Cheap Activities for Aussies

18 Jan 2018 - Michael Frigger - 16 minutes

64 Free & Cheap Activities for Aussies

I asked myself:


What’s one thing most people spend too much money on?


I answered:


Activities.


So I challenged myself to make:


The greatest list of budget friendly activities the internet has ever seen.


I think (I know) I did it.

There are four categories of activities I’ll be covering:

  • By yourself
  • With your friends
  • With your family
  • With your partner

Keep in mind, some activities are interchangeable within categories, you’ll just have to determine this for yourself. For the sake of not being repetitive, I haven't been repetitive.

I’d also like to say thank you to the awesome members over the at Budgeting & Savings group for some fantastic suggestions!

Let the frugal fun begin.


Solo adventures

  • Challenge yourself in the kitchen – Make a list of all the items in your fridge, pantry, freezer, and wherever else you store your food – and turn it into something beautiful. No cheating! Leave the cookbooks in their place and turn off the internet. It's your turn to get creative.
  • Learn a bar trick – become an instant hit at the next party. Check out tutorials like this or this one. Save yourself the embarrassment and practice them a few times before you show off your newly acquired talents.
  • Master the Rubik’s cube – It’s now 97% socially acceptable to participate in the underground culture known as the elite cube masters. Sure, you may not take home the world record with a few day’s practice, but you’ll be able to impress (nearly) everyone.
  • Take an extended walk – You know your normal walk? Triple it. Add plenty of breaks, and extend your walk to places you’ve never been before. Even better, drive to a completely new area and take a walk there. Why limit yourself to walking the same route all the time? The world is yours to explore.
  • Get your finances in order – I know – boring. But by doing this, maybe one-day expensive activities will just be activities. Start here if you need some help.
  • The library (it’s better than you think) – Trust me. Besides the abundance of information available at your fingertips through books, it’l also have movies, audiobooks and picture books. You’re never too old for picture books. Best of all? It’s (likely) be 100% free to join.
  • Make a video – Don’t tell me you’ve never thought about it before, we all have. Sure, you won’t be able to recreate Michael Bay’s manic explosions, but I’m sure you could put together something neat over a couple of days. Even if it's just a family home video.
  • People watching – If you’re like me, you could spend the whole day sitting in the same spot, watching people go by. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s quite soothing.
  • Take to Gumtree for a buck – Don’t do it for the money, do it for the challenge. Find some freebies or relatively cheap items to rejuvenate and possibly turn a profit. Who knows…might be the start of your million dollar business.
  • Dance. Naked. – It’s been too long since you’ve been as free as someone is when they're dancing naked. I’ll be flabbergasted (what a lovely word) if you come back and can honestly tell me you don’t feel better after letting it all hang out and jiggle around.
  • Take up an online course – Never stop growing. And you can get back into it right now by signing up for one of the million online courses. There’s a class on just about every topic imaginable – with both free and paid versions. Check out this, this, and this site.
  • Give something back – I’m not talking about spending 5 minutes clicking a few buttons and sending $100 to a charitable organisation. I’m talking about applying your skills in a way that truly benefits those you’re trying to help. Protip: This is one of the keys to long-term happiness.
  • Join a sports club – Being a part of a team outside of your usual workplace or social circle in an environment where you’re all striving for the same goal is a wondrous feeling. It doesn’t have to be an extreme sport – could be cards, chess, table tennis – whatever.
  • Re-write a rap song – Don your rhyming hat because it’s time you joined the legends in the billboards. Ok maybe you won’t literally join them – but you can impress your friends nonetheless.
  • Create a crossword – Bugger doing them – make one instead. Make it overly difficult so when your friends give it a shot – they’ll be left standing at the crossroads (sorry). Not only is this a fun free activity, but if you get good enough you could make a book of them and sell it.
  • Garage sale – Take a stroll through your place, and make a list of all the things that don’t make you feel great. Why? Because everything you have should make you feel great – sell the rest (or donate it).
  • Free tours at the zoo – Did you know it can take less than 45s for a Viper’s venom to take effect. Don't take them - give them. You may or may not get into a little bit of strife with this one so don't hold me accountable if you do.
  • Work some wood into something useful – You surprisingly don’t need an abundance of tools to put something reasonable together. Think shoe rack, side table, jewellery box, spice rack, etc. Visit here and here to get started on something simple.
  • Learn the basics of another language – Ever meet a foreigner who could speak English? Remember how impressed you were with their basic vocabulary? Time to turn the tide.

Getting cheeky with friends

  • Paper aeroplane contest – You’ve always wanted to be in one and now’s your chance to host one. Fun, frugal, fantastic – and hours of entertainment. Again, turn the internet off and design your own to make it a bit more exciting.
  • Group ride – As above (so below), don’t start where you normally start. Throw (very carefully and precisely) your bikes on your car and head in the direction of a new unexplored area. Leave it explored.
  • Boggle – No – I’m not telling you to play board games with your friends. I’m telling you to play Boggle. You will have as much fun as these guys.
  • Time for a movie marathon – Get your favourite snacks and movies – because it’s time you and your friends made use of those comfy chairs around your TV. Stuck for ideas? These guys seem to have more than a few to choose from.
  • Late night bingo – This is way more fun than you’d expect. Make you’re own card here at BingoBaker then hit the streets and have some fun.
  • Picnic party – Oh yes. If you don’t trust your friend's taste – get them to chip into the picnic fund and handle the treats yourself. Make sure to double up on the wine, because it’s going to run out.
  • Disc golf – Welcome to your new favourite (and completely free) activity. Watch this video before you read any further. Then head here to find a course close to you.
  • Bocce – Say it like this – Bocheh – now you’re ready. Bocce is somewhat similar to bowls, except a bit more fast paced with more destruction. 2 minutes and you’re ready to play, after you buy the equipment of course.
  • Comical cook off – Grab yourself a common household ingredient – think bananas, carrots, pasta – and see who can turn it into the most creative dish. You’ll need a few unbiased (or biased) judges to determine the winner.
  • Pictionary – YES. I SAID IT. And yes - I’m adding another board game to the list. Pictionary is a timeless classic. One thing – make sure the teams are even – one terrible artist on each side.
  • Trivia nights – You’ll likely have to fork over an entry fee but that's it. Trivia nights are a fun-filled, action-packed (maybe not action-packed), entertaining activity. It’s also a chance for you to show off how smart you are (or how not-so-smart - be careful).
  • Get out your clubs, it’s time to hit some balls – And by balls, I mean golf balls. And by golf I don't mean the 18-hole course, instead, buy a hundred balls, hire a club, and go set a new world record on the driving range.
  • Act out your short story – Each week take turns writing a short story. And each weekend, you get together and act it out. Some rules may be required if your saucy friends have wild minds.

Family fun times

  • Milk and soap art – You read that right. Millions of people have created milk art, now it’s time for you to join the fun. All you need is some milk, food colouring, and a bit of dishwashing liquid. Watch this video for a quick rundown.
  • Credit: Mumtastic

  • Shell collage – An excuse to go to the beach and an excuse to make something wonderful. You’re welcome. Check out this one and this one for some inspiration.
  • Give away lemonade – Bugger selling the tasty goodness, do your community a favour and give it all away for free (or for a donation). Sure, your supplies might not last as long, but you’ll leave people feeling welcomed and refreshed.
  • Rock painting – You’ll be surprised at how great some of these actually turn out and how big the community is. Check how big some of these groups on Facebook are.
  • Build your dream castle – In the sand. You won’t be creating magnificent sculptures like this anytime soon, but you will have a wholly enjoyable time.
  • Race boats down your local creek – Now, now – prepare to always be asked to do this if you take your kids just once. They’ll instantly fall in love. And so will you.
  • Movie forts – If you’ve got sheets, you’ve got the equipment needed. Construct the ultimate indoor fort for next level coziness and cuddle up in front of one of your favourite movies. Take your fort to the next level - hit up your local Bunnings and grab some free cardboard boxes for added stability.
  • Geocaching – Never heard of it? Prepare to be amazed. In one sentence - it’s a worldwide community build scavenger hunt and it’s 100% free. Your phone and a good pair of shoes is all that’s required. Get started here.
  • Credit: The Kid Bucket List

  • Turn your driveway into a canvas – Ahh, good old chalk art. Let’s get a bit fancier than the stock standard hopscotch though. Draw something beautiful with the kids (and don’t worry – it comes off easily).
  • Learn the alphabet backwards – Fair warning – your little ones won’t stop reciting it after they realise how cool this will make them in the eyes of their friends.
  • Kite flying – An activity every child should have the joy of participating in at least more than five times in their life (and you too). You can DIY a kite or pick one up off the shelf off around $10-$30. With the countless hours of entertainment it’ll provide – it’s more than worth it.
  • Giant bubbles – You’ve seen the videos on YouTube before, but have you ever actually thought about giving it a shot yourself? Now that I’m telling you, you’ve got an excuse to do so! It’ll take a bit of time for the initial preparation, but once that’s sorted – it’s party time. Prepare to become an instant legend at the beach or park.
  • Slime it up – This gooey goodness will keep all the littles ones entertained for hours. There are a huge number of different recipes to choose from - I recommend this one. *If you’re looking for one without Borax in it, check this one out.
  • Credit: Sharlene

  • Wilderness scavenger hunt – Turn a walk into something your kids will love - a scavenger hunt. DIY a list of treasures to find or use one of these pre-prepared lists: find the shape, something _______, a bit of everything
  • Water balloon battles – I know - we shouldn’t be wasting water on silly water balloon battles. But how can you win the war if you don’t win the battles? Some of the fondest memories I have of my childhood are of this lovely summertime activity.
  • Bobbing for apples – This isn’t just a carnival activity dating back to the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD, this is an activity destined for your backyard. Cheap, fun, and healthy!
  • Level 2 origami – Skip the cranes and fold something your kids will adore. Check out this killer kangaroo or this pretty in yellow Pikachu.
  • DIY mini golf – You may need more than a couple of weekends to put this one together, but just imagine having this beauty ready to go at 10 steps notice. One can only dream.
  • Credit: This Old House

  • Master the dribble – Whether you follow the AFL or not, I know you’ve seen one of the legendary dribble goals before. Let me tell you – the warm fuzzy feeling of perfectly curving the ball is a warm and fuzzy one. Spend a day or two mastering the instant highlight creator.
  • Hit up the adventure park – Each of Australia’s wonderful capital cities (including the best – Melbourne), has at least one uniquely adventurous playground. These playgrounds are guaranteed to keep your kids running around for hours - perfect to tire them out for bed. Most of them are free as well!
  • Fishing – Have you noticed? We’re surrounded by water. And it’s perfect for the low cost activity - fishing. You don’t need much to get started and the learning curve is minimal. Outdoria have an great intro to fishing here
  • Learn the language of the web – Not the frontend (what the website looks like) which you and I largely interact with, but the language behind the scenes which puts everything together (the code). Code Combat is an engaging and easy to follow educational game teaching the basics of coding – play it here.
  • Fill your garden with birds – DIY bird feeders are surprisingly easy to make. All you need is a couple of wooden spoons, a large plastic bottle, and some rope to tie it to the tree. You should end up with something like this.
  • Water gun painting – Fun-filled activity which the kids would go crazy over it! Check out this adorable little video of the guns in action.

With your partner

  • $10 market buy – It may not be completely free, but it’s certainly on the cheaper side - hear me out. It’s simple - you’ve each got $10 in cold hard cash, and you’ve each got 1 hour. Scour your local markets and whoever comes back with the best buy gets the ice cream. If you don’t agree on the winner – ask a stranger to judge.
  • Open house hunting – Leave the signing pens at home – because you never know how tempting some of these places can be. Check some out in your neighbourhood, and then zoom over to the next suburb to see how the other half live.
  • Plant a memory – Before you plant your little tree, do something wholly out of the ordinary that you’ll cherish for the years to come. Dance the night away. Sing a love song as loud as you can. Whatever it is, make sure it’s brilliant. Then every time you see the tree deepening its roots, you’ll be reminded of that wonderful moment.
  • Treasure hunt – This will take some time to set up and a strong sense of who your SO is, but if you can tailor a treasure hunt to their life experiences and values – you’ve just created something magical they’ll remember forever.
  • Cake a bake – No, you’re not going to buy a sponge cake from Coles, fill it with cream, and put strawberries on top. You and your partner are going to create something magnificent. A cake to be wondered. A cake to be awed. Then you’re going to devour it! Something like this or this one. Don’t wuss out before you even give it a try - it's easier than you think (I think). You may or may not have a higher chance of success if you bake the cake instead of cake the bake.
  • Head to the waters with a kayak or two – I recommend getting a double kayak instead of one each (much better bonding experience). Go on a tour or hire one for yourselves and explore on your own time. The choice is yours. You may need a permit for the second one depending on where you’re planning to go.
  • Stargazing with a twist – Use the universe as your canvas. Head out of the city if you aren’t already there, bring a couple of notebooks, and plot out the same sections of the stars. Now, draw a piece of art around them. Get creative because the best artist gets the last glass of wine.
  • Back to back drawing – Improve your listening skills and get jiggy with it. What you’ll be doing – sitting back to back in an overly serene environment (must) with a pen and paper in your hands. One after the other, you’ll describe a painting (either real or imaginary), and your other half will draw it. 

Now get out there and enjoy the world with these awesomely unique frugal activities.

If you’re looking for an externally organised, free event – don’t walk out the door without paying Eventbrite a visit.

They have, quite literally, hundreds of new free events around Australia – every week. You can sort by category (business, community, sport), and by the type of event (class, tour, festival).

Feel free to take a look at their website.

Have your own low-cost activity not on the list? Be kind - share it with the rest of us in the comments below.


Michael Frigger

Michael Frigger

Engagement

Michael enjoys long walks along the beach accompanied by a glass of fine wine with a side of vegemite and crackers. Whilst he's not doing that, he's doing his part to help Australians better their personal finances through CashMaster.