50 Things You Can Do Today Instead of Going Shopping
Whether it's clothes, jewelry, electronics, or books, who doesn't like the thrill of buying something new? It feels like the perfect way to reward yourself. But if shopping is your favorite leisure activity, the financial repercussions can be disastrous. (See also: Guide to Cash Back Shopping)
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do today instead of shopping. So if you're itching to hit the mall for a little retail therapy, here are 50 ways to take your mind off an unproductive spending spree.
1. Experiment With New Hairstyles
If you want to spruce up your look, check out hair tutorials online, and then practice a few styles on your hair.
2. Host a Home Spa Day
Why spend money when you can do your own manicure, pedicure, and facial? Invite a few friends over and make it a day in.
3. Clean Out Your Closet
Can't find anything in your closet? Take this opportunity to declutter and organize your clothes by season. And for clothes you no longer wear, start a donation pile. (See also: 14 Ways to Organize Your Closet)
4. Declutter a Drawer
Just about everyone has a junk drawer in the house. You know, the drawer full of ink pens that don't work and expired coupons. Clean it out!
5. Tackle Yardwork
Those leaves aren't going to rake themselves. Besides, after spending a few hours in the yard, you'll probably be too tired to shop.
6. Tidy Your Car
A good interior and exterior cleaning might bring back your car's original shine.
7. Start That Novel
You've been dreaming of writing a great novel for years. Stop dreaming and start writing.
If you shop when you're feeling low, exercise is a good substitute. Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that help improve mood and balance emotions.
9. Go to the Bookstore
A magazine, a cozy chair, and a cup of coffee — and you've got the perfect relaxing afternoon. (See also: Unique Gifts for Booklovers)
10. Call a Friend
If you've lost touch with a friend, there is no better time like the present to reconnect.
11. Organize Your Photos
Whether photos are on your phone, computer, or in a shoebox, spend the afternoon creating albums and organizing your vacation pics.
12. Bake Cookies or a Cake
There's a chance that you already have the ingredients in your kitchen and the Internet overflows with simple cookie recipes. (See also: Breakfast Cookies With Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans)
13. Plan Your Meals for the Week
Eliminate some of the weekday chaos with meal preparation on the weekends.
14. Watch a Movie
Pick a random movie that you haven't seen, or one that you weren't able to see in the theaters. Watch it!
15. Visit a Museum
Admission is relatively cheap, and it's the perfect way to broaden your horizons.
16. Play With Your Kids
Grab the Frisbee, a kite, or bikes and head to the park with your kids. You can't put a price on cheap family fun.
17. Revamp Your Budget
Balance your checkbook, evaluate your savings goals, or develop a plan for long-term financial success. (See also: How to Set Up a Financial 5-Year Plan)
18. Take a Nap
Catch up on your sleep and get ready for the work week.
19. Start Journaling
Grab a notebook and put your feelings on paper, and you might get to the root of your shopping obsession.
20. Listen to Music
Use this time to create a playlist or edit your existing playlists on your iPod or tablet.
21. Take a Drive
Drive through nice neighborhoods and pick out your dream house, or explore a country road.
22. Play a Board Game
Pull out the Monopoly and enjoy four to five hours of pure entertainment. (See also: Economy Based Games That Make You Think)
23. Plan Your Next Vacation
Narrow down your list of top destinations, and then go online and research those places.
24. Try a New Recipe
Take inventory of ingredients in your kitchen and then search online for recipes. Or visit Supercook.
25. Do Your Laundry
It can take hours to wash and fold all your clothes. This is an easy way to occupy your time until the stores close.
26. Hit the Social Networks
Check out your friend's photo albums, read news stories, and add your two cents.
Don't think of this as a waste of time. The brain can only focus on one thing at a time, so it's a fun way to get your mind off shopping.
28. Make a Video of Yourself
Dance, sing, or just do something else interesting. You might become the next viral hit. It's easy to get started shooting video!
29. Take a Bath
Relax your muscles, clear your mind and do absolutely nothing.
30. Put Together a Scrapbook
A scrapbook can be fun way to preserve memories and tell the story of your life.
31. Watch a Documentary
Turn to PBS, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, or another cable network, and you're sure to find at least one documentary of interest. Don't have cable? Watch them online for free!
32. Rearrange Your House
Simple adjustments can free up space and give the illusion of a bigger home. (See also: How to Live Large in a Small Space)
33. Make a Bucket List
What are the top 20 things you want to do before you die?
34. Watch Reruns of Your Favorite Sitcoms and Dramas
"Law and Order: SVU," "Friends," "Seinfeld," "The Cosby Show," or whatever you can find on the tube.
35. Do a Jigsaw Puzzle
This should keep you busy for at least the next eight hours.
36. Play Around With Your Outfits
Come up with new combinations and increase your wardrobe minus the shopping. (See also: Cheap Ways to Update a Wardrobe You Hate)
37. Improve Your Vocabulary
Pick up a dictionary or thesaurus (or visit vocabulary.com), and impress us with your word choice.
38. Dust Your Entire House
Reduce allergens and enjoy a house that not only looks clean, but feels clean.
39. Clip Coupons
So what if you're only able to knock $10 off your grocery bill, then put it in savings. A small discount is better than none.
40. Do Homework or Study for an Exam
Get a head start and you won't have to pull an all-night study session.
41. Update Your Calendar
Record due dates to make sure you pay bills on time and make a note of social functions. Or build a comprehensive productivity system, for free.
42. Surf the Internet
It's your online encyclopedia. Think of a topic you're interested in and expand your knowledge.
Whether you're cleaning your house or killing time, turn on the radio and show off your moves.
44. Knit or Do Needlepoint
Make scarves, blankets, and other wearables with your own hands. (See also: Gifts You Can Make Today)
45. Sing Karaoke
Invite friends over to your house for a karaoke afternoon or evening, or go to karaoke night at a local restaurant.
46. Clean Your Inbox
Go through your email and delete or unsubscribe to junk messages.
47. Catch Up on Your DVR
With limited memory, you have to watch shows before they're deleted.
48. Clean Your Jewelry
Rings, earrings, and necklaces will sparkle and look brand new after a good cleaning. You don't need a lot of equipment, either.
49. Shred Your Paperwork
Clean out your file cabinet and shred credit card statements, tax documents that are older than three years (conditions apply), receipts, and any other personal documents taking up space.
50. Look for a New Job
The job search can take hours — the perfect distraction when you're trying to avoid stores.
Do you have other ways to spend your time outside of the mall? Let me know in the comments below.