11 Ways to Complete Your Bucket List on a Budget

Making the Most of Your Time and Money

Want to create a bucket list but feel like you don’t have the funds you’ll need to tackle the items on your list? Don’t let that stop you. That’s not what bucket lists are all about anyway. They’re about possibilities and adventures. You can create a bucket list on a budget. Start with this list of free, or almost free, bucket list ideas.

1
Learn to Play a Musical Instrument

mature man playing guitar
John Howard/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Perhaps piano, the guitar, a violin, the flute, a trumpet, or even saxophone? If you have the funds you can buy a new instrument and sign up for lessons, but you don’t have ​to spend a lot to partake in the production of music. Shop second-hand stores, Craigslist or eBay for your instrument. Search online for free self-help lessons second-hand

2
Travel to a Place You've Always Wanted to Go

senior couple taking photos in London next to Big Ben
Find your adventure!. Betsie Van Der Meer/Taxi/Getty Images

Travel sounds expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Ever heard of an organization called CouchSurfing? It is a network designed to connect would-be travelers with people in communities around the world who are willing to share their homes. There's an adventure waiting for you out there, all you have to do is go find it.

3
Learn to Play Chess

Playing chess is a world of fun and can be easy to learn with some help from friends
Playing chess is relaxing and a great way to spend time with loved ones anywhere, anytime. Charlie Edwards/Getty Images

You can pick up a chess board at Goodwill, or find one at a garage sale for a few bucks. Then check out How to Play Chess videos online and check out instructions you can use to learn your moves. Be sure to grab a neighbor or friend to learn with you!

4
Read a Classic Novel, or Two or Three

senior woman reading on lounge outside
Books open up the world. Hero Images/Getty Images

Books are an indulgence I will never give up. They whisk you away to another world and open your mind up to new ways of thinking. The classics have also been a formative influence on our culture. And the best thing about books? You can take the bus to your local library and read for free. 

5
Get a College Education

mature people in classroom
The education program of your dreams awaits, one step at a time. Ableimages/Getty Images

Love to learn? Now is your time. A plethora of free college courses ​​are available online. Although you may not be issued a diploma at the end, who knows what you may do with your new found knowledge? Perhaps it will lead you to new challenges and new items to add to your bucket list.

6
Learn a Foreign Language

street sign in foreign language
Yes, you can learn a new language with the help of training courses. Make it happen. Guilherme Martins/EyeEm/Getty Images

Rosetta Stone offers great easy-to-use language-learning programs, but they charge $500 - $600 for their systems. For free foreign language, lessons try LearnALanguage for lessons in eight different languages, or ElanguagesSchool for some more free language fun.

7
Learn to Waltz, or Tango, or Salsa

senior couple dancing
Dancing requires some wonderful music and a can-do feeling. Image Source/Getty Images

Grab your partner. It’s time to dance! Free video lessons abound on the web. Check out How to Waltz. There’s also How to: Ballroom Tango or Learn to Dance Salsa.

8
Learn a New Craft, Like Photography, Woodworking, Sewing, or Knitting

senior man working with clay to make pot
Building and doing are great ways to express your appreciation of life and your abilities. Hero Images/Getty Images

If you’ve never done it before commit to making something for yourself. Perhaps a piece of furniture, an article of clothing, or art for your home? No money? Challenge yourself to create something new with items you already have in your home.  What can you take apart, mix with something else, and then put back together? Have fun with this one. You never know what you might come up with! 

9
Write a Book, and Share It With Someone

Man contemplating information to include in his book
Writing is a process, passing on your knowledge is a legacy. B2M Productions/Getty Images

This one is free, challenging and rewarding. The key is to let a few people know what you are doing and share your progress, chapter by chapter. Be open-minded and ask for their feedback and edits. Don’t judge yourself as you go along; instead be prepared to write and re-write portions over and over again, refining it to get it the way you want. For help getting started check out How to Write Your Book… Guaranteed.

10
Get a Job You've Always Wanted, Even If Just for a Day

senior man riding a florist delivery bicycle
Your "fun" job is awaiting, whatever that may be. Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images

Ever wanted to be a bartender, a vendor at a ball game, a movie ticket collector, or something else that others might think is odd? So what! Go find a place that may need help, tell them about your bucket list, and ask for a job for a day. Keep searching till you find someone that says YES. 

11
Pick One Physical Feat and Work Toward It

senior couple canoeing on lake
Even the smallest goal can lead to amazing results, get started today. Hero Images/Getty Images

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be able to do a push-up or pull-up, but you think it’s too late. It’s not! Whether it be a yoga class, learning to swim, or riding your bike across your state, there is no better time to start than now. Your body is amazingly adaptable if you’ll just give it the chance. Physical fitness is a perfect item to add to a budget conscious bucket list. Not sure where to start? Try Exercise for Beginners.