A bucket list goal doesn’t always have to be expensive and time consuming. Sometimes it can be simple and cheap (or completely free!). Don’t worry, easy doesn’t mean boring, these budget goals can be just as fun as a larger one and more easily achievable.

61 Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas

61 Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!)
Bucket List Ideas

1. ✦ Take a New Route to Work

How many of you have taken the same route to work everyday; you have the seven stoplights timed perfectly, you pass that same powder-blue house with cream trim that desperately needs a paint touch-up and all the folks outside mowing their lawns will always stop for a moment to wave? Then you definitely need to break out of your monotony of your day-to-day life and this goal from the list of Cheap Bucket List Ideas could be one of the easiest & cheapest ways to do it.

Related: Take a New Route to Work

2. ✧ Kiss in the Rain

3. ✦ Make a Gratitude Journal

Make a Gratitude Journal: Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas

4. ✦ Create a Blog

Both Blogger.com and WordPress.com offer free blogs with easy setup, all you have to do is come up with something creative to talk about. Some of the most popular blog topics are Money, Travel, Food, Mommyhood, Technology and Celebrity Gossip. Put a new spin on things and start writing!

5. ✧ Name a Star

6. ✦ Attempt Meditation

7. ✦ Create Your Own Cocktail

Many foodies are also experimentalists, and becoming your own mixologist will test your skills. The best part about this bucket list goal is that you will have to do a lot of sampling before coming up with your own perfect harmony of flavors. Practice makes perfect!

In the heat of the Arizona Summer, I decided it was the perfect time to create my own refreshing cocktail. The funnest part? Testing all the different concoctions. In the end, my signature drink was a Lemon-Basil Fizz made with prosecco, coconut rum, raspberries, basil and lemon sorbet (see the video below). What will yours be?

Related: 10 Tips on How To Make a Great Cocktail
Related: Foodie Bucket List
Read: Your House Cocktail is the Most Important Recipe You’ll Ever Invent
Related: Lemon-Basil Fizz: My Summer Cocktail


8. ✦ Make an Origami Animal

Origami is a big part of the Japanese culture and it truly is fascinating how little tiny pieces of paper can be crafted into beautiful pieces of artwork. The crane is one of the most popular shapes and you can fairly easily learn how to make one today. There are countless videos and instructions online and below are two that worked for me.

Directions: Origami Crane Instructions
Video: Origami Crane Tutorial

TIP: It’s perfectly okay to use a simple piece of white paper, but you can also buy traditional Colorful Japanese Origami Washi Paper online.

Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas: Make an Origami Crane

9. ✦ Get Ordained

Have you ever wanted to officiate a wedding ceremony? Then think about becoming an ordained minister — it’s easier than you think. Simply Google “get ordained” and a slew of websites will come up that offer free ordination. On my last birthday, I got ordained with the American Marriage Ministries and it was super simple (and free), it took mere minutes.

RELATED: How to Get Ordained Online: 5 Easy Steps to Ordination

Be aware that each state has different laws on who can marry someone, check with Marriage Laws to find the rules in your state.

Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas: Annette White's Ordination Certificate

10. ✦ Learn the Alphabet in Sign Language

11. ✦ Watch the Sunrise & Sunset in One Day

There’s something peaceful about being up at the crack of dawn when light first appears in the sky. On that same day, pick the perfect spot to watch as the sun disappears below the horizon. It’s a completely free bucket list goal!

Related: 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset & Sunrise
Related: The 12 Best Places to See the Sunset Around the World

Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas: See the Sunrise & Sunset in One Day

12. ✦ Get Fitted for a Bra

13. ✦ Hike a New Trail

There’s something very therapeutic about being outdoors and getting some exercise at the same time. Search for a local park and pick a trail that you have never hiked before, then pack a nice picnic and put on your hiking shoes.

Related: US National Parks Bucket List: 61 Beauties to Visit in America

Annette White hiking a new trail: Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas

14. ✧ Cover the Bed in Rose Petals

15. ✦ Bake a Loaf of Bread

16. ✦ Ride a Mechanical Bull

There’s no doubt that the mechanical bull became popular after the 80’s film “Urban Cowboy” where Debra Winger showed the bar crowd a super sexy ride. Hit your local country bar and see how long you can hang on!

17. ✧ Sing Karaoke

18. ✦ Go to Dinner and/or the Movies Alone

Dining and seeing a movie solo is a big fear amongst many. And it can be pretty cheap to conquer it. Face this fear today by planning a date with yourself. It’d make for a perfect solo evening if you find a delicious new restaurant, where you try a new food and then head over to the theater for an evening seeing the hottest release.

Don’t worry too much about being alone, because when it comes down to it most people really aren’t paying as much attention to you as you think. They are wrapped up in their own lives!

Related: Eating Out Alone: Tips for Dining Solo at a Restaurant 
Related: Party of One: What Makes People Who Eat Alone Stronger

19. ✦ Complete a 1000+ Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Most of us haven’t done this since we were children. You don’t find too many opportunities where you can concentrate on one thing, so be present and let everything else in your mind go. That alone will be worth every minute.

Not sure what puzzle to complete? Check out the best 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles for adults (& tips to complete one)

20. ✦ Make Fresh Pasta

21. ✧ Start an Herb Garden

Buying fresh herbs at the grocery store can get expensive. Instead find a cheap (or free) container and make your own herb garden. You don’t need a lot of space and the vessel can be anything from a wooden crate to a mason jar to an old tire.

Read > Herb Gardening 101
Read > Top 30 Low-Budget Garden Pots & Containers
Read > Six Superb Herbs for Containers

22. ✦ Read a Classic

I know, this doesn’t sound like the funnest thing to do, but have you ever read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee? How about ‘Diary of a Nobody’ by George and Weedon Grossmith? The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien? Well, the movies are more entertaining but the novels are pretty sweet too and more detailed. How about “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain?

The point is, you learn more when you read these wonderful classics than you do gazing at your phone. Plus, they will give you some culture and conversation ideas when you get older.

You can easily download many classics to your Kindle for free. Find a ton of free classics on Amazon.

23. ✦ Eat a New Food

Have you ever tried raw oysters, escargot or frog’s legs? Maybe you have never had something as simple as sushi. Think of all the things you have yet to taste (for some fun ideas go to an Asian market!), then go out and try something new. You never know, you may stumble upon some delectable delicacies that you may never have heard of had you not been adventurous with your food.

Related: The Food List Challenge’s 100 Foods to Try Before You Die

Here’s me trying chicken feet for the first time in Hong Kong!

Annette White Eating Chicken Feet in Hong Kong

24. ✦ Put Change into Someone’s Expired Meter

25. ✦ Be an Extra in a Movie

Sign up with a local casting agent to be notified if any movies are in need of extras. The hours are long and the pay is poor, but it will definitely be an experience that you remember and maybe you’ll meet someone famous!

Related: Be an Extra in a Movie

26. ✦ Go to the Movies By Yourself

27. ✧ Leave a Love Note on the Bathroom Mirror

28. ✦ Finish a Crossword Puzzle

Select a challenging crossword to attempt and don’t cheat! No dictionaries or assistance allowed! If you don’t want too much of a challenge buy the New York Times Light & Easy crossword puzzle book.

Related: Finish a Crossword Puzzle

29. ✦ See a Foreign Film

30. ✦ Reconnect with an Old Friend

Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas: Annette White and friend hiking in Northern California

31. ✧ Start Fire Without Matches

Play the game of Survivor, get some flint and learn how to start fire sans the matches.

32. ✦ Write a Letter to your Future Self

Writing a letter to your future self can help to lead your life in the right direction. Share your current thoughts on love, family, career, finances, aging, etc. and also your hopes for each of these things in the future. Tuck your letter away and do not open for at least five years!

On my 40th birthday I wrote a letter to my future self. It is a beautiful piece about exactly how I felt at that point in my life. After not reading it for five years, I have now vowed to visit it on every birthday.

Make your letter even more special by picking some pretty handmade paper and handwriting it.

33. ✦ Surprise Someone

34. ✦ Play 20 Questions With Your Partner

35. ✦ Dance on a Bar

36. ✦ Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Can you confidently say that you know your city in and out? If Frommer’s was to contract you to write a guide to your city, would you do it justice? Take the time to visit more than just your usual hangout places. There is more to life than hanging out at the coffee shop and the mall.

Be a tourist in your own city, go someplace new and you may be surprised by just how wonderful that old town can be.

37. ✦ Hug a Redwood

Take a road trip to give some TLC to one of these enormous trees. If there are no redwoods in your area, substitute it with any tree with a huge trunk.

Peter & Annette White hugging a redwood in California

38. ✦ Be an Organ Donor

39. ✦ Handwrite a Letter to Someone Special

I know, right? Why would you want to handwrite a letter while you can simply Snapchat them or send them a DM? The thing about writing letters is that it is more personal plus you have more than just 140 characters to work with while crafting the message.

Use the opportunity to tell your close friend or loved one how much they mean to you. You could also use it as an opportunity to bond with your parents or grandparents. This cheap bucket list ideas is a chance for you to learn how to express yourself in full sentences, without emojis and texting abbreviations (OMG!).

40. ✦ Write a Haiku

A Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry that consists of only three lines and a total of 17 syllables. The first and third line has 5 syllables and the second has seven. The lines do not need to rhyme, actually most of the time they don’t.

On my birthday last year, I wrote this one:

A plane flies overhead,
you dream of being on it.
Ideas flourish.

Related: How to Write a Haiku
Related: Examples of All Types of Haiku Poems

41. ✧ Learn to Juggle

Buy a few oranges from the store and perfect your juggling skills. Bonus points if you join the circus after!

42. ✦ Feed a Homeless Person

43. ✦ Change Your Hair

Go as extreme or tame as you want, but do something very different from what you are used to — push your comfort zone. It can be as harmless as trying a different part (if you’ve worn the same one for years) or trying a different updo. It can also be as drastic as a full head of fluorescent pink hair or an artistically shaved side. Just make sure that you keep the style for at least full 24-hours and make an appearance out in public!

Related: Easy Updos: 10 Cute and Quick Updos
Related: 24 Super Simple Ways to Make Doing Your Hair Incredibly Easy
Buy: Temporary Hair Color Chalk
Read: 23 Most Badass Shaved Hairstyles for Women

Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas: Change Your Hair

44. ✧ Learn to Change the Oil in your Car

This will be an invaluable goal to learn that will save you tons of money in the future. No…it doesn’t sound like fun. Yes…you might get dirty. But, need I remind you that it will be a new experience and you will learn something? 

45. ✦ Do a Charity Walk

46. ✦ Read the Book Before the Movie

47. ✧ Knit a Scarf

Go to the local craft store and pick out your favorite yarn to knit yourself a cozy scarf. You can find several different How-To videos on YouTube.

48. ✦ Donate Clothing

49. ✦ Contact Someone with Your Own Name

50. ✦ Make a YouTube Video

We are all gifted with unique natural skills like dancing, singing, drawing, acting and so on. To showcase your skills or creativity and to get a chance to see just how many people find that impressive, why not create a YouTube video? Just create your own video showcasing your natural flair and upload it. It’s a brilliant way to tap into your creative side and you just might make money out of it. Plus, it can be simple and free!

Related: How to Create Your First YouTube Video

51. ✦ Entertain the Elderly at a Nursing Home

52. ✦ Make a Homemade Beauty Product

53. ✧ Perform a Magic Trick

Learn a magic trick and perform it for someone…anyone…the dog does not count! Card tricks are always a good option.

54. ✦ Give Blood

Thanks to my fear of needles, my heart beated uncontrollably when I decided to give blood. But my mother, who had given blood many times before, convinced me that the feeling of saving lives would far outweigh the fear of that needle piercing my poor, unscathed arm. And she was right. A little pinch in the arm is worth knowing your blood donation can possibly save three lives!

Read about my experience: Giving Blood: What to Expect & 5 Benefits of Donating

Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas: Annette White Giving Blood

55. ✦ Write a Thank You Letter to a Company

56. ✦ Do One Thing You Are Afraid Of

Many psychologists have claimed that in order to conquer a fear you must be exposed to that fear — and probably more than once. Start facing your fear today by doing one thing that you are afraid of. Try holding a spider, jumping out of an airplane, climbing to the top of a mountain or even going to the dentist. Do whatever it takes for you to get out of your comfort zone.

Read: Overcoming Anxiety to Live Your Dream: 8 Tips to Facing Your Fears

Kill two birds with one stone if a fear of yours is going to the movies or dinner alone!

Annette White Hang gliding in the Eastern Shore of Virginia

57. ✦ Volunteer

Like the old adage says, it’s better to give than to receive. Walking dogs at the shelter, reading to children at the library or spending an afternoon feeding families at the soup kitchen? Determine what’s close to your heart and then make a decision to make a difference today.

Don’t know where to start? Visit VolunteerMatch who has opportunities in many major cities or check the United Way website.

Volunteer: Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas: Annette White at Essa School in Tanzania Africa

58. ✦ Go 24 Hours without Internet, Radio or Television

Now, I know, this is a tall order and may not be easy for some. We use the internet for everything nowadays. But think about it. When was the last time you went for two hours without your phone? Try going 24 hours without internet, radio or TV. Go camping; sit and read a good book; talk to your friends and family or use the time to complete some of the ideas on this simple and cheap bucket list.

Soon enough you will wish you had these quiet and peaceful moments more often.

59. ✧ Run a Themed 5k

Themed 5k marathons are a wonderful way to not only bring the community together for a common course, but to also show off your extreme levels of fitness and fun loving nature. Make sure the theme is something fun, like a mud run (check Active’s 5k Race Finder for ideas). It’d be a bonus if running the 5k was to support a local organization.

Related: How to Train, Run & Finish Your First 5k Race

60. ✦ Sleep Under the Stars

If you are lucky enough to travel the world, then try to sleep under the stars in the Northern Hemisphere. The Northern Lights are a spectacle that you will never forget. I can guarantee you that. But if Sweden is too far, then maybe you can make a good go of it right in your backyard? On those warm summer evenings, get a bunch of your friends and just camp outdoors sleeping under the stars. The freedom you get from this is indescribable.

61. ✦ Learn to Use Chopsticks

Not very many adults know how to do this and even fewer teenagers can comfortably use chopsticks. Do you want to seem sophisticated and well-cultured, then learn how to use chopsticks.

It can even be a fun way to eat your favorite bowl of noodles, and you can impress your friends when you are all out for sushi.

Learn to use chopsticks: Simple and Cheap (or Completely Free!) Bucket List Ideas

Now it’s your turn—what’s on your Simple, Cheap or Free Bucket List?


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Helpful Resources

My Book: Bucket List Adventures