77 Cheap And Fun Things To Do In Retirement: A Big List

retired old woman thinking of cheap and fun things to do in retirement

As you transition into retirement, living carefully is important to ensure your financial security in the face of inflation. Without a steady paycheck, responsible budgeting becomes even more crucial.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean sacrificing fun! This post will give you a variety of inexpensive and even free activities to keep you entertained and fulfilled in retirement. Let’s get started!

Personal Growth Endeavors

Our first stop is online learning and personal growth. Fuel your curiosity and keep your mind sharp with a variety of engaging activities.

This section explores how online learning and other stimulating exercises can enrich your retirement journey. Whether you’re looking to master a new skill, delve into a lifelong passion, or simply explore new interests, there’s something for everyone and they don’t need to cost an arm and a leg.

  1. Take A Free Online Class: Educate yourself in retirement by taking free online courses. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn more about a specific topic or build on talents you already have. When interested in taking a class, explore these websites: Coursera.org, Udemy.com, and Alison.com.
  2. Read A Book: Reading is the cheapest form of travel. You enter a different world without leaving your own home. Cool, right?! Visit your local library to borrow a book, ask a friend or neighbor if you can borrow one of their books, or explore the unread books you have at home.
  3. Listen To Podcasts: A podcast is the modern version of a radio show, but it’s recorded so you can listen to it anytime you want. Numerous podcasts out there are inspiring and interesting to listen to. Look for podcasts related to retirement, your hobbies, or other life topics. Some require subscriptions, but most are for free!
  4. Do A Puzzle: Is it raining outside? That’s the perfect time to do a puzzle. Dust off your 1000-piece puzzles from the attic or do puzzles online via websites like JigsawPlanet.com. With a little investment, you can collect a lot of puzzles and they can keep your mind stimulated and busy for a long time.
  5. Learn A Foreign Language: You can learn a foreign language without attending expensive classes and courses. There are many ways to learn a foreign language online. Listen to podcasts or watch YouTube.com videos for language skills, or use apps like DuoLingo.com and LanguageZen.com. You can also explore self-taught foreign language courses like RosettaStone.com at your local library.
  6. Research Your Family Tree: Dive into your past and create a family tree. Explore websites such as FamilySearch.org, Genealogy.com, or Ancestry.com to discover information about your ancestors. If your family has been in the area for a long time, visit your local library for assistance. They can track down centuries-old birth certificates and other records about your family. Also, ask your family members about their knowledge of the family history, especially the oldest living members. Build a family tree for free via websites like FindMyPast.com.
  7. Audit A Free College Course: Many universities offer the public the opportunity to audit a course, meaning you can attend the lectures and participate in discussions for free, but you won’t receive credit. This is a fantastic way to learn from experts in a variety of fields without the financial commitment of enrolling as a student.

Creative Pursuits

Aside from learning, you should also have an outlet for your creativity. After all, retirement is the perfect time to tap into your creative side and explore new artistic avenues. Whether you’re reviving old hobbies or igniting hidden passions, these activities will keep your mind engaged and your spirit inspired. 

The beauty of creative pursuits? They’re often inexpensive. The most expensive thing they require is time, which you now have in abundance.

  1. Start An Art Project: Open your closets and attics—a treasure trove of art supplies might be waiting! Revive your passion for painting, rediscover the joy of knitting, or delve into a new medium altogether. Even everyday household items can become artistic tools! Don’t have supplies? Amazon.com offers affordable options to get you started.
  2. Create A Scrapbook From Old Pictures: Transform old photographs into a beautiful scrapbook or photo book. It’s a sentimental journey and a fun way to stay entertained on a rainy day. Explore online resources for creative scrapbook inspiration.
  3. Play Board Games: Gather friends and family for a night filled with laughter and friendly competition. Dust off those classic board games like Monopoly and Pictionary, or introduce them to your favorites like Rummikub and Trivial Pursuit.
  4. Listen To Music: Soundtrack your retirement with your favorite tunes. Explore Spotify to discover new artists and expand your musical horizons. Create personalized playlists on YouTube or simply enjoy music ad-free with a Spotify.com premium subscription, which is relatively inexpensive. You can even jam with the songs if you know how to play musical instruments.
  5. Phone Photography: You probably have a smartphone that you can also take great photos with. Phone photography can be a fun thing to do in retirement, and it’s inexpensive too. There are plenty of free photo editing apps, which can further help you refine your best shots. On YouTube, you can find amazing tutorials on how to take the best photos with your phone.
  6. Write Fiction: Dive into the world of storytelling! Craft captivating narratives in any genre, from science fiction epics to heartwarming romances. Develop your characters, plot twists, and settings, letting your imagination soar on the page. All you need is a pen and paper—or a computer!
  7. Make A Short Film: Transform your ideas into captivating visuals. Learn basic filmmaking techniques, like storyboarding, camerawork, and editing. Bring your stories to life on screen, whether it’s a hilarious comedy sketch or a thought-provoking documentary. This is your chance to become a writer, director, and producer all rolled into one! Borrow family members and friends to play parts and shoot the film using your phone’s camera!

Community Engagement Outings

It’s high time you give back to the community, so here’s a variety of ways to get involved and have fun. Whether you’re passionate about helping others, rediscovering your hometown, or making a positive environmental impact, there’s something for everyone. Helping is free and always welcome!

  1. Volunteer Your Time And Skills: Volunteering offers a sense of purpose and keeps you socially engaged. Explore opportunities at local organizations, soup kitchens, or online platforms like VolunteerMatch.org, JustServe.org, or Volunteer.gov.
  2. Do Random Acts Of Kindness: Spread the joy by helping a neighbor, mentoring a youngster, or simply offering a kind word. You’ll be surprised by the positive impact it has on both you and the recipient.
  3. Be A Tourist In Your Town: Rediscover the magic of your hometown! Visit historical sites, museums, or landmarks you’ve driven past countless times. You might be surprised by the hidden treasures waiting to be explored. Consider volunteering your time to help people in need whom you meet along the way.
  4. Attend Community Events: Check out your local community center calendar for activities and gatherings that pique your interest. It’s a fun and affordable way to meet new people and stay active.
  5. Organize A Neighborhood Clean-Up: Bond with your neighbors and improve your environment by organizing a neighborhood clean-up. Even a casual solo clean-up with a trash bag and gloves can make a difference.
  6. Donate Clothes To Thrift Shops: Declutter your closet and donate gently used clothes to a thrift shop. Not only will you gain space, but you’ll also be supporting a good cause. Browse thrift shops for unique finds at a fraction of the price—you might even discover a hidden treasure!
  7. Teach A Class: Share your knowledge and experience by teaching a class at a local community center or senior center. This could be anything from cooking to gardening to computer basics.

Relaxation Ideas

Doing community service is a lot of work, so don’t forget to unwind and relax from time to time. Remember that retirement should also be a time to prioritize your well-being and de-stress after years of hard work.

Below are some relaxation techniques to help you de-stress, recharge, and reconnect with yourself. From indulging in a soothing bath to practicing meditation, discover ways to cultivate inner peace, embrace leisure time, and appreciate the beauty of nature.

  1. Take A Nap: Napping is a simple pleasure often overlooked. Short naps—10–30 minutes—can boost alertness, mood, and memory without disrupting nighttime sleep. Take advantage of your flexible schedule and recharge with a midday nap.
  2. Take A Bath: Indulge in a relaxing bath! Warm water increases blood circulation, eases muscle aches, lowers blood pressure, and promotes overall well-being. It’s a great way to unwind and de-stress after a long day.
  3. Binge-Watch Great TV Series: On a rainy day, why not curl up on the couch and binge-watch a captivating TV series? With streaming services like Netflix.com or DVDs from your local library, there are endless entertainment options to choose from. Let yourself unwind and enjoy a lazy day.
  4. Treat Yourself To An At-Home Spa Day: Treat yourself to a luxurious at-home spa day, especially on a day when you need some pampering. Experiment with new spa products or create your own DIY scrubs and masks with everyday ingredients.
  5. Watch The Sunset Or Sunrise: Don’t miss the awe-inspiring beauty of sunrises and sunsets. These daily occurrences are a free and natural source of wonder. Witnessing their vibrant colors can evoke feelings of gratitude and appreciation for the world around you.
  6. Practice Meditation: Meditation is a powerful tool for promoting a happy and stress-free life in retirement. Scientific research highlights its benefits in reducing stress, managing anxiety, and enhancing emotional and mental health. There are many free meditation apps available, such as Calm.com and Headspace.com. Explore them and discover the practice that works best for you.
  7. Do Gentle Yoga Or Stretching: Gentle yoga or stretching routines are a fantastic way to de-stress and improve flexibility. They can also help to ease muscle tension and promote better sleep. Many online resources and local community centers offer yoga classes specifically designed for beginners or seniors.

Home Improvement Chores

With retirement, you’ll be stuck at home most of the time, especially if you’re saving money to travel once in a while. So, make your living space a haven of comfort and functionality. Whether you’re looking to declutter, rearrange, or unleash your inner DIYer, this section offers a variety of projects to enhance your home environment.

  1. Host A Yard Sale: Transform unused items into cash and connect with your community by hosting a yard sale. It’s a fun and social activity that can clear out clutter and earn you some extra money.
  2. Rearrange The Furniture In Your House: Breathe new life into your home without spending a dime! Simply rearranging your furniture can create a fresh and inspiring atmosphere. Experiment with different layouts and discover the perfect flow for your space. 
  3. Perform Proactive Maintenance: Become your own home improvement hero! Conduct regular maintenance walkthroughs to identify minor issues before they become expensive repairs. Learn basic DIY skills to tackle small maintenance jobs yourself, saving money and gaining a sense of accomplishment.
  4. Clean Out Your Closets: Decluttering isn’t just about tidying up—it’s about creating a calmer and healthier living environment. Dedicate a day to clear out your closets, cabinets, or any space that needs some TLC. Letting go of excess and distractions can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.
  5. Upcycle Items In Your Home: Give unwanted items a new lease on life with upcycling! This eco-friendly approach involves creatively transforming old items into something new and useful. Turn everyday items into beautiful home décor or fashion accessories. Upcycling is a fun way to express your creativity while minimizing waste and you might even get to sell them during your yard sale.
  6. Complete A DIY Project: Explore the world of DIY projects! Pinterest.com offers a treasure trove of inspiration for creating useful and beautiful things using materials you might already have at home.
  7. Paint A Room: A fresh coat of paint can dramatically transform a room’s look and feel. Choose a color that reflects your personality and style, or opt for calming neutrals for a relaxing atmosphere. Painting is a relatively inexpensive project that can yield a big impact.

Socializing Goals

Talking to people is fun and free, unless you want to talk to celebrities. So take advantage of this. Socialize and prioritize mending your relationships. After all, retirees are very vulnerable to the feeling of anxiety and loneliness. Socializing can do you a lot of good in the long run.

  1. Visit Family: Retirement is a time to cherish loved ones. Make spending quality time with family a priority. Visit them often, reconnect with distant relatives, and plan reunions to reminisce about old times.
  2. Reconnect With Friends: A simple phone call can rekindle a long-dormant friendship. Reach out to friends you haven’t spoken to in a while, catch up, and plan future visits.
  3. Friends Reunions: Organize reunions with old high school or college friends! Relive old memories and have some laughs by hosting the gathering at your home for a budget-friendly option.
  4. Meet Your Neighbors: Build a strong support system by getting to know your neighbors. Introduce yourself, offer a helping hand, or organize a neighborhood barbecue to foster connections. Remember, good neighbors are a valuable asset.
  5. Start Or Join A Club: Consider starting a club focused on your interests, be it a book club, a hobby club, or a social group for retirees. Alternatively, explore existing clubs within your community through platforms like Meetup.com.
  6. Game Night Extravaganza: Liven up your social calendar with game nights! Invite friends, dust off those board games, and enjoy an evening filled with laughter and friendly competition. Consider rotating hosting duties among your group for a change of scenery.
  7. Campaigning For Change: If you’re passionate about politics, volunteer your time and energy to a campaign you believe in. Contact your preferred campaign office and inquire about volunteer opportunities.

Self-Discovery Aspirations

Now is a good time for introspection and self-discovery. After all, retirement is also a chance to reconnect with yourself, explore hidden passions, and set goals that ignite your spirit. And doing so can be a bit fun and almost cost nothing.

Here are some ideas to get you started on this exciting journey of personal growth:

  1. Craft Your Bucket List: Create a personalized bucket list to guide your retirement journey. Identify your aspirations and prioritize experiences that will enrich your life. This list can be a springboard for creating lasting memories.
  2. Set A New Goal In Life: Setting goals provides direction and a sense of purpose. Research suggests that writing down your goals increases the likelihood of achieving them. Grab a pen and paper, brainstorm your aspirations, and chart your course for a fulfilling retirement.
  3. Start Journaling: Journaling is a powerful and inexpensive tool for managing stress, improving mental clarity, and boosting cognitive function. The act of writing allows you to process emotions, solve problems, and gain self-awareness. Embrace the therapeutic benefits of journaling and experience a significant improvement in your overall health and well-being.
  4. Write Your Memoir: Instead of a personal journal, you can go for a memoir instead. Retirement is a perfect time to reflect on your life’s journey. Capture your experiences, thoughts, and emotions by writing your memoir. This process can be a cathartic and enriching experience, allowing you to leave a legacy for future generations.
  5. Start a Blog Or Online Journal: Instead of memoir, you can opt to start a daily log on the web instead. Share your knowledge and experiences with the world and let everyone know you exist. There are many free platforms available to create a blog or online journal. This can be a great way to stay mentally stimulated, connect with others who share your interests, and even potentially earn a little income.
  6. Take Personality Tests: Explore who you are and what makes you tick by taking a personality test like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the Enneagram. Understanding your personality type can shed light on your strengths, weaknesses, and natural preferences, which can be helpful in making future decisions and exploring new pursuits.
  7. Practice Mindfulness: Improve your mental well-being and reduce stress by incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine. There are many mindfulness apps and guided meditations available to help you get started. Mindfulness can help you appreciate the present moment, cultivate inner peace, and find joy in the simple things.

Kinetic Activities

Well, you definitely need to move around to keep yourself in shape. As we age, our bodies atrophy and require more effort to maintain their fitness. So, here are some kinetic activities that are fun and inexpensive.

  1. Exercise: Regular exercise is essential for physical and mental health, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Many communities offer free exercise options like outdoor gym equipment in parks or along beaches. Explore your surroundings and discover these hidden gems!
  2. Embrace Online Workouts: The internet is a treasure trove of free workout routines. Explore websites, YouTube channels, or Pinterest boards to find yoga, weightlifting, or fitness routines tailored to your interests and fitness level.
  3. Dive Into Nature’s Pool: Enjoy a refreshing and free workout with a swim in a nearby lake or ocean. Immerse yourself in nature while getting your heart rate up and invigorating your body.
  4. Join A Dance Class: Unleash your inner dancer and join a group fitness class! Many community centers offer affordable dance classes for all ages and abilities. Explore options like Zumba, salsa, or ballroom dancing—a fun and social way to move your body.
  5. Learn A Ball Sport: Consider learning a new ball sport that is easy on the joints. Options like pickleball (a fun mix of badminton, tennis, and ping pong) or low-impact volleyball can provide a social and active way to stay healthy.
  6. Join A Bowling League: Bowling is a great low-impact activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Look for senior leagues at your local bowling alley—a chance to socialize, have some fun, and get some gentle exercise.
  7. Master The Art Of Tai Chi: Delve into the world of Tai Chi, a gentle form of exercise that combines physical movement, mindfulness, and deep breathing. Tai Chi is a low-impact activity that promotes balance, coordination, and overall well-being.

Culinary Exploration Strategies

Exercise is essential, but it can leave you hungry! While food is a consistent expense, you can still have fun and save some money on groceries. Here are some activities to help you do just that:

  1. Explore Cooking: Experiment with new recipes or get creative with leftovers! Turn leftover ingredients into a masterpiece by combining flavors and textures. Who knows, you might discover a signature dish to be enjoyed for years to come.
  2. Do Some Baking: Indulge your love of baking by whipping up a batch of comforting pies. Whether you recreate a cherished family recipe or embark on a new baking adventure, the end result is sure to be delicious. Share your creations with loved ones or host a potluck to spread the joy. Explore ThePieAcademy.com for inspiration!
  3. Try Foraging: Forage for fresh ingredients by exploring your local environment. Search for seasonal fruits like strawberries, apples, or cherries, transforming a simple walk into a delightful treasure hunt. Check with nearby farms for opportunities to pick your own produce or visit public parks for hidden foraging opportunities.
  4. Start Gardening: Cultivate your own vegetables by starting a backyard garden. Enjoy the satisfaction of nurturing your plants and reaping the rewards of fresh, homegrown produce. Gardening is a healthy outdoor activity that provides exercise and stress relief, making it a win-win for your well-being.
  5. Have A Potluck Party: Gather your friends and family for a potluck party! This social gathering allows everyone to contribute a dish, creating a diverse and delicious spread. It’s a budget-friendly way to enjoy good company and delectable food, often resulting in delicious leftovers for the next day.
  6. Have A Picnic: Pack a basket and head outdoors for a delightful picnic. Invite friends or simply enjoy a solo retreat with a good book. Stock your picnic basket with pantry staples or visit a local farmers market to discover fresh, seasonal produce at affordable prices.
  7. Scavenge Coupons: Want to fuel your culinary adventures without breaking the bank? Look no further than strategic couponing! By leveraging coupons, you can significantly stretch your grocery budget. This frees up extra cash to explore exciting new ingredients and recipes, taking your food experiences to the next level.

Travel And Outdoor Suggestions

Don’t feel cooped up! Exploring the outdoors and even traveling can be incredibly rewarding for your physical and mental well-being. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, create lasting memories, and embark on exciting adventures. Here are some ideas that are both fun and budget-friendly:

  1. Work And Travel: Combine your love of travel with earning potential by becoming a tour guide! There are various opportunities—lead tours in exciting destinations, work on a cruise ship, or volunteer abroad with organizations like PeaceCorps.gov
  2. Find Free Admission Days: Stretch your entertainment dollar by taking advantage of free admission days offered by museums, zoos, and science centers. Many institutions offer free entry on specific days or have pay what you can options. Call ahead or check their websites to discover their free admission schedule. Libraries can also be a treasure trove—borrow museum passes or attend free lectures and events.
  3. Visit The Park: Head to your local park and enjoy the beauty of nature. Go for a walk, have a picnic, play frisbee, or simply relax and people-watch. Parks are a great way to connect with nature and your community, all at no cost.
  4. Become A Citizen Scientist: Contribute to science and explore the outdoors by participating in citizen science projects. Many organizations need volunteers to collect data on everything from birds to trees. It’s a fun way to learn and give back.
  5. Start A Neighborhood Walking Group: Organize walks with neighbors to explore your local area. It’s a great way to get exercise, socialize, and discover hidden gems in your own community.
  6. Nature Observation: Nature observation is a free and enriching activity. With some practice, you can identify a variety of plants and birds in your area. There are many phone apps and field guides available to help you get started.
  7. Go For A Road Trip: Hit the open road and go for a memorable road trip adventure. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or an extended journey, road trips offer the freedom to discover new destinations, roadside attractions, and charming small towns. Pack some snacks, create a killer playlist, and embrace the spontaneity of the open highway.

Adventurous Hobbies

Love travel and outdoor activities? Ready to take things up a notch? If you’re looking to satisfy your adventurous spirit without spending your hard-earned moolah a much, then these activities are perfect for you:

  1. Look For Deals: Refine your treasure-hunting skills by visiting garage sales. You might unearth hidden gems—gently used items at a fraction of the original price. Expand your collection, decorate your home, or find the perfect gift—all while saving money!
  2. Do A Scavenger Hunt: Plan a scavenger hunt for friends, family, or grandchildren. It’s a fun activity for all ages and requires minimal expense. The thrill of the chase and the camaraderie are the true treasures.
  3. Try Geocaching: Embrace the modern-day treasure hunt with geocaching! Utilize GPS coordinates on your phone to locate hidden caches, transforming your local park or hiking trail into a thrilling adventure. Visit Geocaching.com to discover geocaches near you.
  4. Go Magnet Fishing: Experience the thrill of magnet fishing! Get a magnet fishing kit and cast your line equipped with a powerful magnet. See what hidden treasures you can unearth from nearby lakes or rivers. Remember to check local regulations regarding magnet fishing before you cast your line.. 
  5. Hike In Nature: Immerse yourself in the restorative power of nature. Hiking is a free and accessible activity that offers a plethora of benefits. The tranquility of nature reduces stress and uplifts your mood, while physical activity improves your overall health.
  6. Stargaze: Embark on a stargazing adventure! Research locations in your area renowned for clear night skies. Pack some refreshments, a cozy blanket, and prepare to be awestruck by the celestial wonders above.
  7. Cycle: Dust off your bike and rediscover the joy of cycling. Explore new routes in your neighborhood or navigate scenic paths within a national park. Cycling is a healthy and economical way to travel and explore the world around you.


Retirement offers exciting possibilities for exploration and self-discovery, but it’s also important to be mindful of your financial well-being. With careful planning and budgeting, you can stretch your resources further and ensure a fulfilling retirement filled with affordable adventures.

And since you’re already here, I hope you don’t mind reading some of my other articles. Here are some of them:

Happy reading!


My wife and I quit the rat race and retired in 2021. We RV'ed around the US for a couple of years and now we're slow traveling outside the US!

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