100 Simple Bucket List Ideas That are Free or Cheap (+ Printables)
May 18, 2020
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The vast majority of Americans have a bucket list. One study found that more than 90% keep these informal to-do lists, and more than 20% even tweak their bucket lists at least once a month.
Travel usually tops many bucket lists, but it doesn’t have to. Life is about enjoying the little things just as much as the big ticket, expensive items. Maybe perfecting a golden, flaky crust atop your homemade apple pie, learning to play your favorite TV theme song on a new instrument or donating to your local blood bank could give you just as much joy as that cruise to the Bahamas.
Here are a number of simple bucket list ideas that are free — or at least very cheap — to inspire you to explore your passions (and for those who like the excitement of traveling, there are also some low-cost adventurous bucket list ideas). If checking items off of a to-do list makes you happy, check out these fun printable lists that allow you to celebrate your progress.
Free Bucket List Ideas Without Leaving Your Home
Sometimes the best memories are those that you make at home. Here are some bucket list ideas that take Friday family movie night or Tuesday board game night up a level. Also, check out these Target coupons should you need to pick up a few extra items to carry out your ideas.
Learn to cook a recipe that your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents made.
Master your favorite song on an instrument sitting around your house (your voice counts as an instrument!)
Plant an indoor garden and use those herbs and veggies in meals for a month.
Go vegetarian or vegan for a month.
Decorate one room of your house with a piece of art that you created (bonus points if it’s something other than a painting or a drawing).
Foster a rescued dog or cat.
Cook all meals at home for a month.
Make friends with five of your neighbors.
Make a new piece of furniture for your home.
Start your own composting bin.
Write letters to people you haven’t talked to in a year, five years and 10 years.
Live a zero-waste lifestyle for a week.
Color-code a bookshelf or board game cabinet.
Have a conversation online with someone in a newly learned language.
Learn to whistle your favorite theme song.
Read a piece of literature from each of the last five centuries.
Create a YouTube video on a topic of your choice.
Watch every major award show in a given season.
Become an expert on an historical event of your choosing.
Search for someone online who shares your name and learn something about them.
Free Adventurous Bucket List Ideas
For the times when you’d like to go a little further from home, check out these more adventurous bucket list ideas. Depending on your preferred level of adventure, you might opt for something extremely adventurous, like going skinny dipping at night, or something slightly less adventurous, like camping out in your backyard overnight. Check out these Moosejaw coupons to gear up for your next outdoor adventure.
Go skinny dipping at night.
Navigate around an unknown place with just a map and compass.
Camp in your backyard or a public park overnight.
Learn to juggle and send a video to your friends as proof.
Sing to someone in public.
Prepare an entire meal using a campfire.
Go on a scavenger hunt outside of your home.
Dance with a loved one in the rain.
Plunge into a pool when it’s cold out.
Recreate a famous photograph in your city.
Change your hair color or style.
Get up and watch the sunrise every day for a month.
Make a new friend in a public place and learn their backstory.
Conquer your biggest fear.
Meet and chat with someone famous.
Bike 25 miles (the length of the biking portion of a triathlon) around your city.
Visit the historical sites in your home state.
Visit your childhood home.
Find a world record to break.
Free Bucket List Ideas to Make Others Happy
Checking off items on your bucket list should make you happy, but it can also make others happy. Here are some free or low-cost ways that you can put on a smile on someone’s face. Also check out these Gifts.com coupons to save on care packages for your loved ones.
Organize an online fundraiser for someone going through a hard time.
Donate blood at your local bank.
Treat a stranger to a free coffee or other food item.
Give an in-person positive review to the owner of your favorite restaurant.
Ask a stranger how they’re doing and listen to what they have to say.
Leave an unexpected tip for someone.
Put together a care package for someone you haven’t seen in a long time.
Leave handwritten notes in your neighbors’ mailboxes.
Volunteer somewhere new every month for a year.
Host a bake sale with all of the proceeds given to a charity.
Devote a couple of weekends to working in a community garden.
Meet up with a friend and leave your phone at home.
Become an organ donor.
Learn how to cook something new and surprise someone with breakfast in bed.
Grow out your hair and donate it to a worthy cause.
Smile at as many people as possible in a day.
Circulate a petition online for a community cause.
Pick up trash in your local park.
Help someone check off an item from their bucket list.
Free Bucket List Ideas to Advance Your Career
Your bucket list doesn’t have to be limited to what you do in your free time. There are also a number of unique ideas to make yourself happier at work, and they don’t cost much at all. Explore these MOO coupons for savings on unforgettable business cards.
Eat lunch with someone in another area of your company.
Mentor someone, either formally or informally.
Meet with your company’s CEO or department head.
Negotiate a raise in person.
Find a work spouse.
Learn everyone’s name and a fun fact about them.
Design business cards that you’re proud of.
Help a coworker finish a project.
Master a skill that’s not in your job description.
Become friends with your manager.
Disagree (respectfully) with your manager when appropriate.
Take an extended month-long sabbatical to recharge.
Perfect your response to the question of what you do for work.
Pause work to attend company social events.
Write a short thank-you note to someone at work each week.
Go back to school on your company’s dime.
Travel out of town for a conference.
Work in another country.
Develop a passion project on the side and transform it into a business.
Walk away from a job you’re not in love with.
Free Bucket List Ideas for Kids
You’re only young once! Encourage your kids to try out these bucket list ideas and use this connect-the-dots printable for tracking their progress. (A picture will emerge when they’ve successfully completed all of the ideas). Some ideas are more ambitious than others, but every idea is free and fun! For some additional low-cost fun, enjoy these LEGO coupons.
Play hide and seek outside.
Watch a meteor shower.
Design a homemade kite.
Visit a local farm.
Make a tree swing.
Learn to ice skate.
Give up sweets for a week.
Care for a caterpillar.
Make up a new language.
Practice writing a check.
Climb to the top of a tree.
Write a song and sing it.
Invent a new product.
Enter a poetry contest.
Learn 100 new words.
Visit your parents at work.
Find a fossil and study it.
Make your own board game.
Sew a button back on.
Write to someone famous.
It can be nice to travel to exotic places every once in a while, but those costs can quickly add up. Focus on these simple bucket list ideas that are free, or at least cheap, and see how many you can check off! If you are looking for a bit of an elevated night out or day trip, check out these Groupon coupons for great savings.
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