Retirement is the time to enjoy your life to the fullest without running out of your savings. So that’s why I wrote this article to give you 71 ideas and inspiration for cheap things to do in retirement that are also fun too.
1) Have a potluck party
If you like to get social in retirement, you can host a potluck or, as other people call it, BYO (bring your own) party. It can be a dinner where everyone brings a delicious self-cooked dish, or everyone brings snacks and drinks to enjoy a movie or game night. It doesn’t cost you a dime, you have fun with friends and family, and you probably have some leftovers as well, which you can eat the next day.
2) Host a yard sale
When you have a lot of stuff you don’t use anymore; you can consider hosting a yard sale. It can be a fun day where you meet new people and earn some extra cash as well.
3) Visit family
Spending time with family is what most people are looking forward to retirement. And especially if your family lives close by you can visit them as often as you like. Make it a priority in retirement to spend as much time with your loved ones as you can.
4) Watch the sunset or sunrise
There are sunsets and sunrises every single day. And they’re free to watch. So make sure you don’t miss many of them. They are breathtaking, and it has been proven that watching the sunrise or sunset gives you a better sense of gratitude for the earth.
It’s because when you are caught up in the natural beauty of a sunset or sunrise, you rid yourself of any distractions. And you feel higher levels of satisfaction and gratitude for what’s happening in front of you. So, a great way to start or end your retirement day.
5) Learn a new skill online
You can learn a new skill via youtube tutorials that are free to watch. Whether you want to learn a new card trick, learn how to start a blog, or learn how to do basic home repairs. There’s a good chance you can find a youtube video or a blog online that will teach you how to do it.
6) 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. There are a lot of podcasts out there that are inspiring and interesting listening to. You can look for podcasts related to retirement, your hobby, or other topics in life.
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7) Do volunteer work
A great way to spend your day in retirement is to do volunteer work. You help others in need, which will give you a more satisfying and fulfilling feeling. And you stay active and socially connected in retirement, which is very important for your health and happiness.
If you like to do volunteer work in retirement, you can check out a local organization, soup kitchen or look for volunteer jobs at:
8) Go to the (public) library
There are many benefits your local library has to offer besides just books. You can rent movies, page through magazines, or surf the net. And there are lots of volunteer opportunities as well. Also, the vibe of a library can be inspiring and calming, as well.
9) Visit museum or zoo during free admission days
Call up museums and zoo near you to ask for their free admission days. As a senior, you often get a discount as well, but there are opportunities to go in for free.
Perhaps they have “free to the public” exhibits or “free days” planned soon. But many museums open their doors for free or charge “pay what you can” admission one day a week or month.
You can also ask whether they issue free passes upon request. Or loan out museum passes for the day via local libraries. Once you’re aware and do a bit of research, you’ll often find out that there are many opportunities to enjoy museums, zoos, and science centers without any cost at all.
10) Attend an outdoor free concert
Check out the community festival calendar and see if there are free concerts or festivals planned. And enjoy one or a couple with your spouse and friends.
11) Have a picnic
Go out for a picnic to enjoy the day. You can call up some friends to join you or bring a book to do some reading while you’re lying in the sun. Check your kitchen cabinets for food and drinks. Or go to a local farmers market to buy local products for your picnic that are often cheaper than in a supermarket.
12) Cook a new recipe with leftovers
Get creative and cook an original recipe with leftovers. Or clean out your kitchens cabinets and see what you can make with what you find. Maybe there’s a new famous family recipe in the making through this retirement discovery.
Exercising regularly is essential to maintain your physical and mental health in retirement. And it can be as cheap as you want because you don’t need an expensive gym membership to stay in shape. Many towns and cities have trim trails and exercise stations on the beach or in the parc, which you can use for free. Check out if there is one near you.
You can also look for free exercising routines online via blogs, Youtube videos, or Pinterest. Whether it’s yoga, weight lifting, or fitness exercises. There’s so much online available for free.
And another free way to exercise is to go a swim in a nearby lake or ocean. Or go for a walk in nature. Or go jogging or cycling.
Read more: How To Stay Active In Retirement
14) Go for a hike in nature
Nature is free and does wonder to our health. Because being in nature reduces anger, fear, and stress, and increases your mood. Being in nature will make you feel better emotionally. And it also contributes to your physical health: reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
So go for a walk in nature, it’s free, and it’s healthy too.
15) Play (board) games
Dust off your (old) board games, invites some friends, and start play board games. There are classic games like Monopoly and Pictionary that are great fun. Still, my favorites are 30 Seconds, Rummikub, and Trivial Pursuit.
16) Complete a DIY project
Check out Pinterest and look for projects with necessities
you already have in your house and see what kind of fun and handy things you can create. There are many cool projects out there that you can make for free.
17) Read a book
Reading is the cheapest way of traveling. You enter a different world without leaving your own home. Cool, right?! Go to your local library to loan a book, ask a friend or neighbor if you can borrow one of his or her books or see what kind of books you have at home you didn’t have time yet to read.
18) Do gardening
Do you have a green thumb? Even without one, you can do gardening in retirement. It’s a great exercise, and being in nature is a mood booster. And it’s one of the cheapest hobbies in retirement. And if you don’t have a garden, you check out a local community garden. Or ask your friends and family members with a garden if you can do some gardening for them.
19) Do a scavenger hunt
Create a scavenger hunt for your grandchildren, friends, and family members. It can be for a birthday party or just for fun. The prize at the end also doesn’t have to be expensive. Often it’s all about the honor of winning.
20) Donate clothes to a thrift shop
Clean up your closet and donate to a thrift shop. Perhaps, you have a lot of clothes you don’t wear anymore. After cleaning up your closet, you’ll have more space for all your favorite clothes. You can also consider donating your clothes to charity.
Or do it the other way around. If you like to go shopping then shopping at a thrift shop is very cheap and also a fun way to shop. Also, you don’t have to buy anything, just visiting can be just as much as fun too.
21) Have a bonfire
Nothing beats a good bone fire. Make a bonfire with free wood from your backyard or nearby forest, invite some friends who bring their own drinks and snacks, and grab a guitar to sing the night away.
Watching fire makes us more relaxing, and it can be the perfect way to end a great night in retirement.
22) Be a tourist in your town
Often you don’t visit or take a tour around your hometown. Perhaps, you drive by historical sites daily but never stopped to enter the place or read the sign. So being a tourist in your town can be a fun and cheap thing to do on your retirement day. You learn new things about your area and meet new people along the way.
23) Pick fruit
If you live in a fertile environment, you can pick fruit such as strawberries, apples, or cherries in retirement. Check out farms near you where you can pick your own fruit or see if there are public parks with fruit plants.
24) Bake a pie
Nothing beats a good pie. When you’re bored in retirement, and you love to bake: bake a beautiful pie. To enjoy yourself, give to your neighbors or invite some friends to enjoy together. You can bake the old-time family recipe or experiment with new pies. Check out the pie academy blog for inspiration.
25) Go to the beach
When you live near a beach, you can go to the beach. Or if you live in a city, check out if your city has an urban beach that you can enjoy for a day in retirement. Because you can do so much for free on the beach:
- Go for a swim
- Go for a walk
- Have a picnic
- Look for dolphins, whales or other wildlife
- Read a book
- Throw a frisbee
- Build a sandcastle
- Read a magazine
- Have a bonfire
- Go surfing
- Go Stand Up Paddle Boarding
- Do Yoga
- Watch the sunset or sunrise
- Look for seashells
- Write messages in the sand
- Relax and enjoy the sun
- Metal detecting
26) Rearrange the furniture in your house
To fresh up your house you don’t need to buy expensive stuff to redecorate it. Rearranging your furniture is a fun activity and creates a new vibe in your home. And it doesn’t cost anything.
27) Go on a stargazing adventure
Going on a stargazing adventure is a fun and cheap thing to do in retirement. Check out which places in your state are the best for stargazing. At a clear night, hop in your car, bring a couple of drinks, snacks, and a warm blanket and enjoy what nature has to offer you.
28) Go for a bike ride
Grab your bike and go for a spin around your neighborhood. You can even plan a new route to cycle every week just to see something different every week. Bike through a national park or hop on your bike to visit friends and family members that live closeby. It’s healthy, and it’s free.
29) Take a free online class
You can educate yourself in retirement by taking free online courses. Perhaps, you always want to learn more about a specific topic, or you want to build out some talents you’ll already have. When you’re interested in taking a class, check out these websites:
30) Help someone in need
Another cheap thing to do in retirement is helping someone else in need. And it makes you feel good about yourself and gives you a happy and fulfilling feeling.
You can offer your elderly neighbor to visit more often for a coffee or doing the weekly groceries, do a random act of kindness to a stranger or share your wisdom and knowledge as a mentor, tutor, or coach for the next generation.
31) Create a bucket list
A great thing to do in retirement is to create a bucket list. It helps you make the most out of your retirement and discover what you want in life most. And as a result, you will prioritize your time in retirement better.
So, create a bucket list and try to check off one item you really want to do in retirement. Need some inspiration? Check out my article with 101 Ideas For Your Retirement Bucket List.
32) Visit garage sales and look for deals
To save some money, you can visit garage deals and loof for great deals. Often people sell stuff that is still very good maintained and you can use it for many years to come without having to spend too much money on it.
33) Start an art project
Open your closet or visit the attic to see what art supplies you have stored and start an art project. Perhaps, you have painting supplies that you just need to dust off, or you have a box full of knitting wool you haven’t touched in years. And even if you don’t have art supplies at home, you can do all sorts of art projects with all-day-every-day home supplies or order cheap art products on Amazon.
34) Call up a friend or family member
Grab your phone and give that friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while a call. See what they are up to and catch up. This way, you can rekindle the relationships within your family and long-time friends and maybe plan a visit later on.
35) Write a letter
Instead of calling, you can do it the old-fashioned way and write a letter to your friends or family members. But you can also start writing your Christmas cards or birthday cards way in advance. Or write letters to strangers and become a pen pale. There are a lot of organizations that look for people that want to write letters to people or kids in need. Check out different organizations here.
36) Get involved with community sports
If you love watching and playing sports, you can consider getting involved in community sports. Attending a professional sports game is expensive. But community sports games are a lot cheaper to visit and sometimes even more fun to watch too.
Or you can consider becoming a coach of a sports team within your community. Many communities are always looking for volunteers who love to coach or want to be involved in some way.
37) Attend community center event
Check out the community center events calendar and see what they have planned for the next month. Perhaps, they have a group activity planned that you would enjoy or a social gathering to meet new people. Often these activities are for free.
38) Teach yourself how to juggle
Teaching yourself how to juggle is, for sure, a cheap and fun thing to do in retirement. Challenging yourself keeps your mind sharp and boosts your self-esteem. And once you know how to juggle, you can surprise family members and friends at a party. The hours you put into it can be worth the look on their faces.
Besides learning how to juggle, you can look for other ways to challenge yourself and keep ourself busy in retirement in a cheap way. Here are some other tricks you can learn yourself:
- how to knit
- new card trick
- the cup song (to surprise your grandchildren)
- magic trick
- new dog trick
39) Meet your neighbors
If you haven’t met your new neighbors yet or haven’t paid enough attention to your existing neighbors, you can meet up with them just to get to know them better.
Ring their doorbell and introduce yourself, bring a pie or offer your services to help them out. Because having a good neighbor is better than having a faraway friend. You can also consider organizing a neighborhood BBQ to create better connections.
40) Set a new goal in life
It’s important to set goals in life. It helps you to move forward, challenge yourself, and have a sense of direction.
Like Albert Einstein said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep balancing, you must keep moving.”
So grab a pen and a piece of paper and start writing down a new life goal. Because research has shown that writing down your goals, you’ll have a better chance of achieving your goals.
Read more: How To Spend A Day In Retirement
41) Do household maintenance walkthrough
If you do a household maintenance walkthrough regularly, you might save some money in the long run. You will notice defects sooner, which makes the repair cheaper as well. And addition to that you can teach yourself how to do (small) maintenance jobs in your house which will save you a lot of money on a handyman.
42) Travel for free as a tour guide
Do you want to travel for free? Then you should consider becoming a tour guide in retirement. You’ll get to see new destinations and meet interesting people while earning a bit of extra money.
Another way to travel for free is by working at a cruise ship or working as a camp host at different campsite spread across the country. Or do volunteer work abroad via PeaceCorps.gov.
Do you want to work as a camp host? Look for jobs at Workamper.
43) Apply for a job
Another way to have fun in retirement without spending money is to apply for a fun job. It can help you enjoy your retirement better because having structure, a purpose, and daily social connections are vital for your health and happiness in retirement. And some jobs even have benefits that will save you a lot of money as well.
Read more: The 50 Best Jobs For Retirees
44) Start a new photography hobby with your phone
You probably have a smartphone where you can also take great photos with. And phone photography can be a fun thing to do in retirement, and it’s cheap too.
There are plenty of free photo editing apps (such as Snapseed, Prisma Photo Editor, and VSCO). And on YouTube, you can find amazing tutorials on how to make the best photos with your phone.
45) Make a video
You can create a video for youtube or make a video as a birthday or anniversary surprise for a loved one. All you need is a camera or a smartphone and some free video editing software. (such as Adobe Premiere Rush).
46) Create a scrapbook from old pictures
When you have a lot of old pictures stored in a box, it’s a fun activity to make a scrapbook or photo book from all your photos. It’s a perfect and cheap activity to do on a cold and rainy day in retirement. Check out cool scrapbooks here.
47) Practice meditation
Meditation is great to practice in retirement. Especially if you want to live a happy and stress-free retirement, you should practice meditation regularly.
These are the science-based benefits of meditation:
- Reduces Stress. Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation
- Controls Anxiety
- Promotes Emotional Health
- Enhances Self-Awareness
- Lengthens Attention Span
- May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss
- Can Generate Kindness
- May Help Fight Addictions
- Improves Sleep
- Helps Control Pain
- Can Decrease Blood Pressure
Here are 4 free meditation apps you can try out:
- Calm offers a 7-day free trial.
- Headspace offers a free basics meditation pack.
- Breethe offers several free meditations and sleep sessions.
- Insight Timer offers thousands of free guided meditations.
48) Try Geocaching
Geocaching is a modern way of treasure hunting. A great outdoor adventure to do in retirement, where you search for hidden treasures, known as “caches.” That you can track by their GPS coordinates on your phone.
Visit Geocaching.com and type in your address (or the address where you’re hiking), and you’ll likely find a few geocaches stashed in the area. You can pick one, add the coordinates to your GPS (or just use the app on your smartphone), and head out the door, letting your device serve as a treasure map.
49) Go magnet fishing
Another way to find treasures is to go magnet fishing. It’s just as simple as putting a magnet on a “fishing” line. And you can find all sorts of things in rivers and lakes nearby. Maybe even a treasure.
Because of the popularity of magnet fishing isn’t always allowed in every area. So check the rules about magnet fishing of your region. And get yourself a magnet fishing kit.
50) Organize neighboorhood clean up
A great thing to do in retirement is to organize a neighborhood clean up. You can have some fun with your neighbors while cleaning up the area.
And if you don’t want to organize a formal activity. You can just walk through the shared spaces in your neighborhood (parks, sidewalks, etc.) with a trash bag and a pair of gloves and pick up the litter.
51) Start a vegetable garden
You can start a vegetable garden in your backyard and save yourself a bit of money on groceries. Also, gardening is a great outdoor exercise and a natural stress reliever.
52) Learn a foreign language
You can learn a foreign language without going to expensive classes and courses.
There are so many ways to learn a foreign language online. You can listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos to learn language skills or use apps such as DuoLingo and Language Zen. But you can also check out self-taught foreign language courses like Rosetta Stone at your local library, too.
Once you know which language you want to learn, you’ll find plenty of resources and material that will help you for free.
53) Take a nap
Probably one of the best things in life is taking a good nap. In retirement, you’re in control of your schedule. So, why not treat yourself with a nice nap?
Short naps can improve your alertness, mood, and memory. But make sure that when you nap, you aim for around 10 to 30 minutes. These naps will stop you from reaching deep sleep and won’t interfere with your night-time sleep routine.
To make sure you sleep well, you need a high-quality mattress. Did you know that the lifespan of a mattress is between 7-10 years? So, chances are you might need a new mattress. Make sure to check out the best-ranked mattress in America: The Puffy Mattress. This mattress is known as the most comfortable mattress out there and gets the best reviews from thousands of people across the USA.
54) Create a family tree
Or if your family has been in the area for a long time, you can also visit your local library and ask them for help. They can track down centuries-old birth certificates and other records about your family.
And ask within your family about what they know about the family history. Especially ask your oldest living family members what they remember about their own parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
55) Do a puzzle
56) Babysit (your) grandchildren
A fun way to spend your day in retirement is to babysit your grandchildren. Perhaps, your not as much as you would like and ask if you can be more involved.
And if you don’t have grandchildren or they live far away, you can consider babysitting other children. For example, babysit kids from your neighbors or friends or become a foster grandparent for kids that don’t have grandparents.
Check out the National Service website if you want to be involved as a foster grandparent program near you.
57) Start journalling
Journalling can be considered as the cheapest way of therapy. It only costs you a journal, a pen, and a couple of minutes per day.
Did you know that journaling is an incredible stress management tool? When you keep a journal, it improves your mental clarity, it helps you to solve problems better and improves overall focus. Journalling can be best described as expressive writing and have many powerful benefits.
Five powerful health benefits of journaling:
- It reduces stress
- Improves immune functions
- Keeps your memory sharp
- It boosts your mood
- Strengthens emotional functions
While journaling, you clear your mental clutter, and you transform the problem you have from your within your head to the paper. And that can feel a lot better.
58) Go ‘coupon scavenging.’
Go on a coupon scavenger hunt and find great coupons on products you usually buy. And save yourself a lot of money with good deals. So, check out the local newspaper and magazines for coupons or ask friends and neighbors if they have any coupons they don’t use.
59) Start or join a club
When you would like to be more social in retirement, you can consider starting a club. For example, a book club, a grandma club, or favorite hobby club. Or you can join an already existing club within your local community via Meetup.
60) Work for a political campaign
You can work for a political campaign in retirement. If you’re interested in politics and like to be more involved, this can be a fun thing for you to do in retirement. You can contact the campaign you support and ask how you can help out.
61) Clean out your closets
When you’re in a cleaning or organizing mood, you can use a day in retirement to clean out your closets. Perhaps, you’re kitchen cabinets, or clothing closet really needs some organizing and decluttering.
It has been proven that clutter has negative effects on your mental and physical health. So clearing the clutter and removing the excess and the distractions from your home can have a really positive impact on your life and your well-being, health, and happiness. So it’s not only a cheap way to be busy in retirement, it eventually helps you to enjoy retirement even better.
62) Take a bath
Are you in need of some relaxation? Take a nice bath! And did you know it’s also good for your health? These are the benefits of taking a warm bath:
- It increases blood circulation.
- Muscle pain goes away faster.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Healthier heart because it has to work harder and more efficiently.
- Reduce stress.
- Improves mental health.
63) Binge-watch great TV series
On a rainy day, it’s nice to lounge on your couch and binge-watch some great TV Series. Don’t make a habit out of it to watch a lot of TV in retirement, because that doesn’t make you feel better about yourself. But a lazy day once in a while doesn’t harm anyone.
If you have Netflix, Amazon, or other streaming service subscriptions, there are thousands of TV series and movies waiting for you to be watched. But if you don’t have a subscription, you can ask a friend, family member, or neighbor if they can share their (family) account with you. Or you can go to your local library and loan a couple of DVDs.
64) Listen to music
Enjoy your retirement day by listening to your favorite music or explore Spotify and find new artists and bands to listen to. Listening to Spotify is fro free (with ads), but you can also start a playlist of your favorite band or artist on Youtube.
65) Make a snowman
Is it snowing outside? Make a snowman! Put on some warm clothes and discover the child in you again by playing with snow. You can have a snowball fight with your grandchildren or make the best snowman you’ve ever made.
And after a couple of hours playing in the snow, enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate, tea or coffee. It will taste better than other average days in retirement.
66) Host a game night
Invite some friends and host a game night. Dust off a couple of board games, ask everyone to bring their own snacks and drinks and enjoy spending time together.
You can even make it into a club where every month, another person of the group hosts a game night at their home.
67) Upcycle items in your home
Upcycling is refashioning an item. It’s different from recycling. Because recycling is the process of turning waste into a reusable material or product. And with upcycling, you creatively reuse by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new products of better quality and environmental value.
You can turn clothes, basic everyday items into products of high quality, or turn waste into a piece of art for your home.
68) Participate in a beach clean up
If you care much about the environment and live near a beach, you can get involved and participate in a beach clean up. It’s a cheap and fun activity in retirement that can be fulfilling too.
If you don’t live near a beach, you can consider participating in cleanups for a nearby forest or public park in town. You’re making a change to better the environment and meet new interesting people along the way.
69) Treat yourself to an at-home spa day
Treat yourself in retirement with an at-home spa day. Especially if it’s a cold and rainy day, it’s nice to make your self comfortable at home. So pop out the spa products at home you’ve never used before. Or make spa products like lotions, scrubs, and hair mask yourself at home with everyday products.
70 Have a friends reunion
When you haven’t seen or spoken to a group of friends in a while, you can consider having a friend’s reunion. It can be so much fun to catch up with your old high school or college friends in retirement. And to make it a cheap activity, you can host the reunion at your home. This way, you don’t have to buy expensive tickets to travel to another state or side of the country to meet them.
71) Start a fantasy sports league
When you love to watch sports, you can start a fantasy league in retirement. Whether it’s baseball, football, basketball, hockey, or soccer, there’s always a pro sport in season somewhere.
Go to Yahoo! Sports, CBS Sports, or ESPN and start a free fantasy sports league for you and your friends. It will stimulate competitive banter and endless discussion between your friends as the season unfolds.
I’ve written a couple of other articles that are might be interesting for you to read as well: