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The Best Low-Cost Ideas for Your Days Off

Looking for some fun ways to recharge on your day off that won't break the bank? We've got you covered.

Ahhh, shopping—our favourite form of cardio. We love a good shopping spree, whether it’s at the mall or online, but we don’t always love the after-effects when it comes to our bank accounts

Looking for some low-cost ways to spend your well-earned day off? We polled our Instagram audience for their fav entertaining and low-cost ideas and added some of our own. Check them out below:


Check out a hiking trail

We know, we know—you’ve heard this a million times. But the great outdoors are pretty great! Not to mention, free. A quick Google search is an easy way to find some hiking trails in your area, most of which are likely free. Grab some friends, a pet, or even just your shoes, and get out there—adventure awaits!

Go to a museum or art gallery

Check out the schedules for your local museums, art galleries, and any other exhibits you can find. Chances are, they may offer free admission on certain days of the week or for special events. Kick it up a notch by turning it into a scavenger hunt with friends. What better way to spend a low-cost day than being surrounded by beautiful art?

Host a board game night

Invite some family or friends over, ask them to bring their favourite board games and a snack, and get ready for a fun-filled evening! This little game will get everyone shouting or try this one for a more laidback strategy game.

Head to the park

From bird watching to sitting on a bench with a good book, the park offers endless opportunities for fun in nature. Or pack a gourmet picnic basket for lunch with friends. For added fun, why not check out a park you haven’t been to yet? You might discover a new favourite spot!

Catch up on your latest read

Cozying up with a good book is the perfect way to spend an afternoon, especially in the colder months. You can shop secondhand to find great deals on books, or even better, support your local library. Looking for book recommendations? Check out these 7 thrillers recs that are guaranteed page-turners, and head to our blog post on how to start a night-shift book club.

Try out a new hobby

Puzzling, painting, knitting, beading, and many other hobbies are relatively low-cost when compared to how many hours of fun you can get out of them. Even if it’s something you’ve never done before, you can probably find a free class on YouTube to teach yourself the ropes.

Play tourist for the day

Try googling “top things to do in [your city]” and make a list of places you might want to check out or activities you want to try. Head out on your bike or simply go for a walk and see what hidden gems you can find.

Get some movement in

A great way to do this is by lacing up your shoes and going for a run—you could even turn it into an opportunity to socialize by starting a running club. If running isn’t your thing, why not try out a free class on YouTube? From Pilates to dance classes, there’s something for everyone.

Treat yourself to an at-home spa day

You likely already have everything you need for the perfect spa day lying around your house. Simply hop in the bath and add Epsom salts, a bath bomb, or whatever you fancy. If baths aren’t your thing, try adding some essential oil drops to your shower to create a relaxing aromatherapy effect. You could light a candle and do a face mask, paint your nails, steam your face, or anything that will help you relax. After all, who deserves a self-care day more than a night shift warrior?

Get organized

Channel your inner Marie Kondo and spend some time organizing. Whether it’s your closet or your kitchen, you’ll probably be able to find somewhere in your house that could use a little love. Rearrange your furniture to give your room a new look, or go through your clothes and either sell the ones you don’t want or donate them. There’s nothing like a good decluttering spree.

Try a new sport

Trying out a new activity is a great way to spend some extra time outdoors. Find some low-cost rental equipment—whether it’s a paddle board or kayak, ice skates or snow shoes, or whatever piques your interest—and give it a try! You just might find your new favourite pastime.

Master a new dish

Whether you’re into baking or cooking, learning to make something new is a great way to spend an afternoon. Bonus points if you invite a friend or two to cook with you, or just share your dish with them afterward! Cooking a large portion of your dish is also a great way to sneak in some meal prep action.

Plan a treasure hunt

This one takes a bit more planning but is such a fun idea for your day off. You can go as big or small as you want with this—hide things around your house, yard, or in different places around your city. Create some clues for each item, grab some besties, and you’re guaranteed to have a memorable day of fun that won’t break the bank. You can get as creative as you want with themes and clues. Alternatively, you could also set up a mini scavenger hunt for the kiddos in your life.

Take yourself on a thrifting date

Okay, we know that technically thrifting still counts as shopping… but it’s a much lower-cost option when compared to a traditional shopping spree. Your local thrift stores can allow you to score on some amazing finds—at a fraction of what the cost would be to buy something brand new.

Send some snail mail

In the era of text messages, email, and Instagram DM’s, who doesn’t love to receive a good old-fashioned letter? Spend some time writing letters, greeting cards, or postcards and send them to your loved ones. It will definitely make their day, and they may even send one back!

Relax near blue space

Blue spaces, such as lakes, rivers, and oceans, have been shown to lower stress levels and have a relaxing effect on the mind. In fact, some experts believe that blue spaces could be even more beneficial than green ones. Even if you don’t feel like going for a swim, simply being near water can have positive effects on your mental health. Your day off is the perfect time to head outside, get near some blue space, and reap the amazing benefits that nature has to offer.

Drop into a class

See if you can find a low-cost class in your area. It could be a pottery, jewelry, salsa dancing, or even an aerial hoops class—whatever sounds the most fun to you. Look for a drop-in class at your community center or see if there are any classes that offer their first lesson free.

Spend some quality time with your pets

Whether it’s going outside for a walk, playing in the backyard, or even just snuggling up on the couch, spending time with your pets is an amazing stress reliever. Someone in our Instagram community mentioned that they love taking long walks with their dog and watching the sunset at the dog park. Another night-shifter said that her favourite thing to do on her day off is read in bed all day cuddled up with her pup.

Give back to your community

Volunteering your time to help others will not only make a difference in your community, but it will make you feel great as well. Visit a nursing home or your local pet shelter to volunteer and spread some cheer.


Treating yourself on your days off from working the night shift doesn’t always have to mean spending a lot of money. With a little creativity and planning, you can have an amazing day and create lasting memories—no shopping spree needed.

Last updated: 2024-03-11

Picture of Sierra Jensen

Sierra Jensen

I'm a freelance writer who's passionate about matcha lattes and meaningful content. You'll find my work in regional magazines, healthcare websites, and lifestyle blogs.

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