35 Productive Things To Do Instead Of Spending Money

Productive things to do

It’s all too easy to get caught up in shopping when we are bored. Nowadays, it’s even worse, thanks to the ease of access to online shopping. More so when you don't have any productive things to do.

The average consumer spends up to $5,400 per year on impulse purchases alone! This can result in heavy credit card debt and prevent you from saving money.

By living intentionally and being productive, you can stick with your goals, whether they are financial or life goals, and avoid debt.

35 Productive things to do

If you’re trying to stop shopping and save money, check out our great list of productive things to do.

1. Update your budget

How long has it been since you’ve updated your budget? Maybe you have had a change in income or an increase or decrease in bills, and you need to adjust your budget accordingly.

Staying on top of your finances by updating your budget can help prevent money mishaps and help you stop living paycheck to paycheck.

There are a variety of budgeting templates and tools to use to help you update your budget. Some people find it easier to use electronic templates while others prefer a notebook and a pen.

Whatever budgeting method you decide to use, be sure to find one that’s easiest for you to use and stick with.

2. Revisit your financial goals

Financial goals are important because they are a reminder of what you are working so hard to achieve. Just like updating your budget, you should revisit and update your financial goals. Maybe there is a new goal you would like to attain.

The key to achieving goals is by writing them down. Writing down your goals actually makes you more likely to achieve them.

Another great way to set up your financial goals is by creating a financial vision board. Revisiting your financial goals is one of the perfect productive things to do to prevent you from spending money and conquering financial success!

3. Listen to a podcast

Podcasts can be a great way to motivate yourself. Especially when it comes to financial goals, be sure to check out The Clever Girl Knows podcast to get advice on all things that have to do with money. It’s like having your own cheerleading team and financial advisor to help you with your financial goals.

4. Create a vision board

You may have created a financial vision board, but it’s a fabulous idea to also create a vision board for your life goals.

Whether your goals are to get organized, move to the beach, travel the world, or learn a new instrument, a vision board can help you visualize your life goals so you can start working towards them. This is one of the more fun, productive things to do, and it enables you to focus and stay on track towards your goals!

5. Start a side hustle

One of the most productive things you can do is to start a side hustle. A side hustle is a great way to increase your income and bulk up your savings account. There are a ton of side hustles to choose from; some examples are:

Pick a side hustle you enjoy to prevent burnout and ensure that you will stick with it.

6. Make your bucket list or add to it

Time slips by too quickly and making a bucket list can motivate you to enjoy the finer things in life. List all of the things you want to do and get started now so you can start living out those dreams. Think about your true desires; nothing is too big or too small!

Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel, skydive, or go snorkeling! You never know what you can do until you try. A bucket list will keep you from letting go of those big dreams you have.

7. Create a meal planner

Do you need some help with that infamous question of what’s for dinner? You can take the stress out of what to eat by creating a meal planner.

A meal planner helps you know what meals you are eating on what day. This results in reducing wasted time deciding what to cook every day and saves money when grocery shopping because you will shop according to your meal plan.

Creating a meal planner is one of the best productive things you can do for your budget. Check out our frugal meal plans for inspiration!

8. Prep your meals

To maximize the effect of your meal planner, you should prep your meals in advance. Prepping your meals saves you a ton of time because you’ve already cooked for the week!

You can cook in bulk and freeze your meals depending on how far in advance you want to prep. By preparing your meals, you can cut costs on eating out and save quite a bit of money.

9. Read a book

Reading a book can be relaxing and motivating. It's also a great way to spend less time on your phone. Reading can help inspire you to achieve financial success and conquer your life goals.

A great way to get motivated to curb your spending, ditch debt, and grow your wealth is to grab your copies of our personal finance books.

10. Organize your digital files

It’s frustrating when you try to find a file or picture on your computer, and you have no idea where it is. One of the most productive things you can do is organize your digital files.

This way, you know exactly where important files are and where that adorable picture of your cat is you want to post on social media.

It’s best to dedicate specific files for specific documents and pictures. For instance, you can create a finance file where you save all of your important financial records. You can also reduce clutter, by scanning documents to your computer, and save them digitally instead.

11. Declutter your home

Believe it or not, clutter costs you money! Lost bills can cause you to pay your bills late and rack up late fees and penalties quickly. If you are buried in clutter and can’t find items, you may end up purchasing more stuff you already have just because you can’t find it.

The average American spends 2.5 days looking for items! Decluttering your home can reduce stress and save money too. Try a decluttering challenge to help you get started.

12. Clean out your car

Cars tend to get messy quickly, old mail, food wrappers, trash, and who knows what else tends to creep in our vehicles.

Take some time out and clean out your car and give it a good detailing too. Keeping your car in better condition can result in it retaining its value and reduce stress from a messy vehicle.

13. Balance your checkbook

One mistake many people make is not balancing their checkbook and keeping a register.

Even if you don’t write many checks balancing your checkbook is essential to tracking your purchases and deposits. Keeping a record of your transactions is the key to staying on top of your finances.

14. Do a brain dump

Do you feel like you can’t focus because you have too much going on in your mind? You should do a brain dump. A brain dump is when you write all your thoughts down on paper or in a journal. A brain dump can help clear your thoughts and untangle your mind.

By writing down your worries, concerns, and whatever else is swirling around in your head, you can focus on tackling one issue or task at a time. It helps to get it out, it’s like talking to a good friend.

A money journal could also be helpful, especially if finances are an area where you need to get your thoughts and plans organize.

15. Start a gratitude journal

It’s easy to focus on what we don’t have or to let negativity overtake us at times. A fantastic tool to start using is a gratitude journal.

This is a journal specifically used to write down all the things you are grateful for. Try to list three things you are thankful for every day and see how your mindset improves! Check out our journal prompts for self discovery.

16. Make a schedule with time-blocking

One of the most productive things you can do is make a schedule with the time-blocking method. Time blocking is when you block off sections of time and dedicate them to certain tasks.

For example, if you are trying to declutter your home, you would block off a specific time to focus on this task only. So, from 1 PM to 2 PM, you would do nothing but declutter the entire hour. Time-blocking is one of the most productive scheduling methods you can use.

17. Update or create your resume

Having an up-to-date resume is vital when searching for a new job or career. Be sure you have your most recent experience and skills listed to give you a competitive edge to landing that new job you want.

You can create or update your resume for free with Canva. You never know when that dream job might show up, and you need to be ready to apply for it quickly!

18. Make a quarterly goal list

An ultimate goal list is vital, but to not become overwhelmed, it’s essential to break down your big goals into smaller goals to make them more attainable.

A quarterly goal list is a perfect way to break down your year-end goals into smaller goals to help you achieve them easier.

Let’s say you want to save $10,000 this year. You would take that total goal and break it down into a quarterly savings goal of $2,500.

When you break your goals down and conquer them in steps, it helps you focus on the smaller goal and makes that big goal easier to accomplish. Making a quarterly goal list is one of the most crucial productive things to do.

19. Start a new hobby

You can start a new hobby that is low-cost or even free! Bullet journaling, gardening, painting, and crafting are just a few hobbies you can consider starting. Hobbies are wonderful for bringing joy and creativity to your life. Life is all about finding balance.

20. Learn a new language

Learning a new language is challenging, but it is much easier when it’s fun. Language learning apps such as Duolingo make it easy to learn, and it’s free.

Not only is learning a new language interesting, but it is also one of the most beneficial and productive things you can do. Being bilingual is not only fun; it can give you a competitive edge in the workforce too.

21. Get outside

Getting outside is great for your mental and physical health. Go on a picnic in the park or just sit out in your backyard to get some much-needed vitamin D. You can be productive and be outdoors by doing something like creating your to-do list while you enjoy the fresh air.

Sometimes it’s beneficial to take a break from your work and go outside. This can clear your mind and help you focus when you return to your task.

22. Learn to play an instrument

Thanks to YouTube and other apps, you can learn to play an instrument without taking expensive lessons. If you don’t already have an instrument you want to learn, you can save a bundle by purchasing one used or even get one for free from someone that no longer wants or needs theirs.

23. Get some exercise 

At-home workouts are on the rise because they are inexpensive and convenient. You can get printable workout ideas from Pinterest and also find workouts on YouTube.

Whether you enjoy dancing, yoga, pilates, or boxing, exercising is an important activity for your health.

24. Learn your family history

Learning about your family history is fun and interesting. You may have traits from relatives you were never able to meet! You can start learning about your family’s history by talking to relatives such as aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Another great way to learn about your ancestors is through ancestry.com. They offer a 14-day free trial to get you started!

25. Record your belongings and assets

Recording your belongings and assets is one of the most important productive things to do. This will help you with insurance claims if something were to happen to your home, such as a fire or if you were the victim of a robbery.

It’s best to take pictures and videos of your items along with their models and serial numbers for proof of ownership. Be sure to keep these records somewhere safe such as a safe deposit box or fireproof box.

26. Spend some time with friends and family

Some of the simplest things in life are the most important, and spending time with family and friends tops the list. You can even do a project together or start a hobby together to keep each other motivated. It’s great to have an accountability partner when it comes to reaching your goals too.

27. Organize your photos

It’s normal to have hundreds of pictures stuffed away in a box, but how great would it be if you had them neatly organized in an album to view more often! Take an afternoon and sort through those wonderful memories and display them in a way you get to visit them often.

28. Take a free course

Whether you are looking to learn new skills for your career or have always wanted to take a painting class, free courses are a fantastic way to increase productivity without spending money! Michael’s offers various classes for free on Zoom!

If you’re searching to learn new skills, check out Google Digital Garage for Digital Marketing, Career Development, and Data Tech courses. Taking a free course is one of the best productive things you can do.

29. Sell unused items

If you are decluttering your home, you might as well turn that clutter into cash! You can sell your unused items on sites such as eBay, Etsy, and Poshmark and put some money in the bank while getting rid of excess items.

Items such as clothing, electronics, jewelry, and more can bring you a decent amount of cash to stash in your rainy day fund.

30. Write a book

Are you an aspiring author? Writing a book is one of the best productive things you can do. It is personally rewarding and may also bring in some income if you publish it.

You can use a book manuscript template from Microsoft Word or simply get started in Google Docs. Write down your amazing book idea and outline, and get started!

31. Start couponing

Couponing can be one of the most beneficial and money-saving productive things to do. You can digitally clip coupons and load them to your grocery rewards card and print them off of sites such as coupons.com.

Make even more money with these 26 money-making apps while you’re at it for additional savings.

32. Start a YouTube channel 

Do you have a skill you can teach others or hilarious videos of your animals doing crazy things? Whatever it is, you can start your own YouTube channel and share it with the world.

Who knows, maybe it will go viral, and you will make money with your new channel. Be sure to check out the Clever Girl Finance YouTube channel while you are there!

33. Work on your mindset

Your mindset determines all aspects of your life. Having a positive mindset can help you achieve your goals, be happier, and enjoy life more. You can get started by working on your money-mindset to help you accomplish your financial goals and set you up for success!

34. Reassess your career

Maybe it’s time to find a career that you enjoy that also makes a decent income. Do you truly like what you do for a living? We spend an average of over thirteen years of our life at work! Shouldn’t we at least like what we do?

Maybe you've always wanted to work from home but never took the time to figure out how to do it. Sit down and assess your career goals. Write down what you enjoy doing and see what careers align with your list. Then maybe you can start working towards a rewarding career that you love.

35. Make a self-care plan

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and put yourself on the back burner, but you need to take time out for some self-care.

By creating a self-care plan, you can reduce stress and prevent burnout from not taking care of yourself. There are a ton of self-care ideas on Pinterest. Pick one that gets you excited, print it out, and start.

Be productive and save money

By being productive, you can keep yourself motivated to conquer your life and financial goals. It can prevent you from spending money frivolously and help you live a more frugal lifestyle.

Don’t forget to check out our FREE Financial Courses & Resources to help you stay on track and attain financial success!

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