25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV


Unless you're watching the home shopping network with a rapid eye for deals, spending night after night in front of the TV ain't saving you any money in a proactive way. So maybe it's time for a little idea inspiration.

Here are 25 frugal things you can do instead of watching TV tonight.

1. Go Thrift Shopping

Who needs more reasons to love thrift shopping? Thrifting can be a real money saver and wildly entertaining. Some shops stay open till 9:00 p.m., so make thrifting part of your prime time lineup.

2. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Even if you're secure in your job, be prepared for opportunities that come your way by having an updated resume at-the-ready. LinkedIn is how you present your professional image publically, so take a few minutes to make sure it's top-notch.

3. Set Some Savings Goals

Solo or with your significant other, sit down and decide exactly what you're saving for. What specific financial goals would you like to achieve in the next year? In the next five? By setting the right goals, saving isn't just easier — it's a lot more fun.

4. Mend Some Clothing

Channel your inner Olivia Walton and tighten up loose shirt buttons, repair split seams, or darn a pair of socks. It takes only moments and saves buying new.

5. Review Your 401(k) or IRA Fund Performances

Take some time to review those prospectuses and quarterly statements from your 401(k) or IRA fund administrator. Are you satisfied with the results, or is it time to see if you can achieve better results? If you're nearing retirement, is the moment right to shift to more conservative funds?

6. Plan Your Holiday Shopping List

Avoid maddening crowds and purchase-panic by getting a head start on holiday shopping. Determine what you'll need and leisurely start looking for deals on gifts, supplies, and essentials now.

7. Make Tomorrow's Lunch

Save money, eat healthier, and keep your mornings sane by pre-making tomorrow's lunches for work and school.

8. Clean Your Coffeemaker

I treat my automatic coffeemaker with the respect it deserves, because if it goes on the fritz, I go on the fritz. Extend the life of your true blue brewer by cleaning it regularly with distilled white vinegar and water.

9. Organize Your Finances

Drowning in a sea of receipts, bank statements, and miscellaneous documents? Resolve to organize your financial paperwork by creating a simple system that you can easily follow.

10. Flip Your Mattress

Save money on a new mattress by extending the life of the one you have. Rotate and then flip your mattress every three or four months; rotate the box spring or foundation every six.

11. Perform Quick and Easy Auto Maintenance

Checking tire pressure and fluid levels regularly is a relatively painless way to keep your car running smooth. To keep it gleaming, skip the TV and give your ride a quick wash and wax.

12. Do a Digital Deep Clean

Defragment Windows, update your computer's anti-virus software, and delete old files that take up large amounts of space. While you're at it, clean the keyboard, screen, and exterior with the appropriate products to keep things working well and looking good.

13. Play a Board Game

Go retro by grabbing a game that doesn't have an LCD display. Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and Cranium all have their own lessons to teach and are refreshingly low tech. Or, skip buying a game by playing charades.

14. Make a DIY Scarf Organizer

Ladies, does your scarf collection look like a psychedelic nest of confusion? Take some time one night this week and make a DIY scarf organizer using a plastic clothes hanger, plastic shower curtain rings, and decorative ribbon. It's simple and it works!

15. Send a Handwritten Note

Resurrect the art of the hand-written note and make someone's day. Nothing says "I'm thinking of you" like putting pen to paper "just because."

16. Plant a Window Sill Herb Garden

If you don't have the yard space for a full-fledged vegetable garden, plant a mini herb garden on your window sill. Fresh and free herbs taste better.

17. Replace the AC Filter

Air conditioner maintenance helps your central air system or window unit work better and use less energy. Clean or replace filters periodically and keep condenser coils dust-free.

18. Clean One Drawer or Closet

Cutting clutter is a marathon, not a sprint. Start slowly and accomplish one modest goal per evening or per week. Clean a drawer, closet, tote, or kitchen cabinet.

19. Take a Nap

That's right, get some shut-eye. There are few less expensive and more restorative things you can do to take care of yourself.

20. Go for a Walk

Walking outside is relaxing, social, healthy… and exactly what your loyal dog is waiting for. Flip off the TV, grab the whole family, and hit the bricks.

21. Pre-Cut Some Veggies

Convenience wins. Encourage wild and unregulated veggie consumption by pre-cutting them and storing in air-tight containers. Chop lettuce for salads, slice cucumbers, and peel carrots to promote free-range grazing in your household.

22. Clean and Organize Your Wallet or Purse

Does your purse feel like a lead weight? Is your wallet more of an in-pocket filing cabinet? Clean both and save money by actually finding some among the chaos.

23. Prepare a Back-to-School List

Keep your ear to the ground. The collective groan of millions of kids will be echoing across the land in just a few shorts weeks. Set down with your little learners, figure out what they'll need, and scout for back-to-school bargains now.

24. Recondition your Shoes

A little mink oil, polish, and buffing goes a long way in extending the life your favorite kicks. It just takes a few minutes per pair and you'll feel much more dapper.

25. Clutter-Bust with the Kids

Get the kids involved in de-cluttering. Have them choose a certain number of toys or clothes they no longer use or want. Teach them the lesson of giving to the less fortunate and control toy clutter at the same time!

There are countless others things to do instead of staring at the TV (…assuming you haven't eroded your ability to count by too many hours spent staring at the TV!). Brainstorm your own list tonight by imagining the frugal and productive fun you could have if your TV suddenly bit the dust. Then, hit it with a hammer (just kidding) and start doing!

What do you like to do instead of watching TV? Share your ideas with our readers in comments!

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Guest's picture

I have tip #26 forage for your food. It's fun, free and you can save money on your grocery bill. Not to mention organic and pesticide free.

Guest's picture

Almost none of these things are fun

Guest's picture

Well, they got the frugal part down.

I'd settle on flipping my mattress and cutting veggies tonight, but I'm afraid my raucous laughter might disturb the neighbors.

Guest's picture

Fun seems to be missing!