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49 Fun Things To Do Instead Of Watching TV

Woman turning off tv to do other things

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When you're done with work and other things, it's easy to come home and turn on the television for entertainment. The thing is, sitting in front of the TV all evening and on the weekends just passes the time mindlessly.

There are so many more things you could do with your time, whether alone, with family, your significant other, or friends. Plus, cable TV is expensive, and you may save over $100 per month by canceling and finding more interesting things to do with your time.

In this article, we'll go over 49 things to do instead of watching TV so that you can feel more accomplished and fulfilled with what you do in your spare time.

Contents

How Much Can You Save Canceling Cable TV?

Cable TV can cost anywhere between $45 to $130 a month or more. That means you're paying $540 to over $1,560 per year for one source of entertainment. Canceling cable TV can be an excellent way to lower your living expenses, pay down debt, and have more money for things like taking your family on vacation.

Streaming Alternatives to Cable TV

If your goal is simply to save money, but you still want to watch something besides cable TV, canceling cable and subscribing to one or more streaming services might be a good option.

Here are several streaming options that might satisfy your interests.

1. Disney+

You can get Disney+ for $6.99 per month or $69.99/year. So for about the price of one month of cable, you can get an entire year of Disney+. Check out this site for a list of the 100+ shows and movies you can find on Disney+ right now.

2. Netflix

Netflix is home to many movies and shows, including Netflix original series and films.

If you're thinking of picking up Netflix, you can start with a Basic package for $8.99 per month. There's also the Standard package for $12.99 per month and Premium for $15.99 per month.

Whichever package you choose, you'll still save tons of money versus having cable TV, and if you're a movie buff, Netflix might be perfect for you.

3. Hulu

Similar to Netflix and Disney+, Hulu has thousands of shows and movies available for you to watch. In addition, Hulu has less expensive plans if you don't mind watching ads, which is an interesting way for them to make money without charging more to their customers.

You can pay $5.99/mo for Hulu with ads or $11.99/mo for Hulu without ads. There's also a special going on right now where you can get 30 days of Hulu for free so that you can try it out to see if you like it.

4. Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime isn't just great for getting free shipping at Amazon.com. It also comes with several added benefits. One such benefit of Amazon Prime Video is access to tens of thousands of movies and shows, including Amazon original series.

You'll also get access to music and eBooks, all for $13 per month or $119 per year.

5. YouTube TV

YouTube is the ultimate spot to watch just about anything from how-to videos, vloggers, product reviews, to old shows. You can also rent and buy movies on YouTube, which makes it a great alternative to buying premium cable channels that you rarely watch.

That said, you can pay $11.99 per month for YouTube Premium, and you won't have to listen to ads, plus you'll get access to a number of additional shows.

Healthy Activities To Do Instead of Watching TV

If you're looking to kick your TV habit completely, you may look for more healthy things to do instead.

6. Do Aerobic Exercise

Doing aerobic exercise is a healthy alternative to watching TV. For example, you can go for a run outside, take an exercise class at the gym or do things like cycling and swimming. Experts recommend doing aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes a week, which is about 20-30 minutes per day.

7. Practice Yoga

Yoga is another activity that can help you stay in shape while improving your mental health. Yoga focuses on stretching and strength training, which is a great way to lower stress levels and strengthen muscles.

Many local gyms offer yoga classes, and you can also find Yoga instruction on YouTube if you prefer to do it at home.

8. Go Walking

Walking is one of the easiest things you can do that will help your overall health. It's a great way to get outside and stay in shape.

Benefits of walking include:

  • It's free, which saves you money on things like gym memberships or fitness classes.
  • You can do it outdoors or indoors anywhere with space to walk around, such as grocery stores and malls.
  • It's good for your mental health as exercise can help reduce things like depression and anxiety.

Walking can be done alone or with others. Making walking a group activity is a great way to socialize while also improving the health of everyone involved.

9. Go Swimming or Do Water Activities

Swimming is another thing to do instead of watching TV, and it's a great way to stay in shape. You can do things like swim laps, take a water aerobics class or go for a leisurely dip with friends and family.

Water is also good exercise as it strengthens your core muscles while improving balance. Swimming helps build muscle mass and improve cardiovascular health at the same time.

You could also try things like kayaking, tubing, canoeing, and paddleboarding, which are all great ways to stay active while having fun outdoors.

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Activities With Friends and Family

In this section, we'll talk about things to do instead of watching TV that you can do with your friends, spouse, and/or family.

10. Play Board Games

Instead of mindless things like watching TV, you can start a game night with friends. Board games are great for socializing and giving your brain some exercise as well.

There's plenty to choose from when it comes to board games, but one popular choice is Scrabble which is always fun if you're looking for something competitive or more light-hearted. You can also visit places like Barnes and Noble to find board games.

For those on a budget or aren't all living under the same roof, you can sign up for Board Game Arena for free and play hundreds of board games with friends and family.

11. Play Computer Games

Another option is to play computer games with friends and family. Computer games are becoming more popular among adults as they're a fun way to socialize while still getting things done online.

Computer games range from things like word games and trivia to massive online space games like EVE Online, which involves tens of thousands of players.

If you're looking for something more on the light-hearted side, there are also things like Solitaire that can be played alone. These types of computer activities will help keep your brain sharp versus watching TV and numbing your mind.

12. Go Camping

One of the things you can do instead of watching TV is going camping with friends and family. Camping takes some preparation, but it's a great way to get outside.

Camping is also a great idea for people looking to rough it in the wilderness while still having access to things like running water and electricity if the campsite has it, or if you go in an RV or similar vehicle customized for camping.

13. Go on a Scenic Drive

Taking a scenic drive with friends and family can be a fun alternative to watching TV. Scenic drives are great because they're not only fun, they can be quite relaxing.

Scenic routes can take up more time than anticipated, so it's good to make sure someone knows where you're heading before leaving, have enough gas in the car, and ensure that you go somewhere where you have cell reception.

14. Chat and Catch Up

Instead of spending time watching TV, you can use that time to catch up with friends. Chatting and catching up is a great way to socialize while making plans for things like the next holiday or get-togethers in general.

Chat programs are also useful as they allow you to swap photos, videos, and voice and video messages.

Chat programs like Skype and FaceTime also allow you to see who you're talking to instead of just chatting on the phone, which is a great way to have a group of people spend time together when they're all in separate locations.

15. Visit a Museum

Another option is to visit a museum with friends and family. You can see and learn tons of things at museums, including things like the history of specific subjects, cultures, or even just general knowledge such as how old something is versus when it was made, which can teach us about cultural diffusion, for example.

Museums range from history museums, art galleries, interactive science centers, and things like an aquarium.

16. Go Iceskating

If you live in a place where it snows and the temperature is below freezing, things like ice skating can be a great activity to do instead of watching TV. Ice skating on frozen lakes or rivers is perfect if there's enough space, but things like public parks with a pond have the same potential to offer a fun time.

Ice skating is fun to do with a group of people or by yourself and is a great way to stay active in the winter.

17. Start a Garden

Gardening is a great hobby to have, and you'll be able to keep a fresh stock of certain vegetables and possibly fruit. You may also choose to grow a flower garden and make a side hustle out of it.

It doesn't require much to do gardening, and if you have the space and time, it may be a great activity for you and your family.

18. Play Cards

Instead of watching TV, try playing cards with friends or family. Many card games exist, such as traditional ones like spades and bridge, or card games with more strategy like poker.

Card games are great because they can be played alone or with groups of people. In addition, some card games bring creativity and a lot of laughs to a group of people, such as the card game Cards Against Humanity.

19. Have a Romantic Dinner

Have a romantic dinner with your significant other. A date night can be anything from going out for food and drinks to staying in on the couch making tacos while playing watching Netflix together. What matters is that you're spending time with each other – not what you're doing specifically.

20. Do Homework With Your Kids

If you're looking for something to do other than watching TV, then why not help your kids with their homework? Not only is it a great way to spend time with your kids, but you'll help them learn and do better in school.

Even if you're not a teacher, there are many things like providing feedback on their assignments or helping your child with reading comprehension exercises that they can benefit from tremendously.

21. Go Out For Coffee With Friends

Another great activity to do instead of watching TV is to go out for coffee with friends. Coffee shops are a great place to hang out and shoot the breeze with friends you haven't seen in a while.

If you and your friends are into reading, a coffee shop is a great place to have a book club meeting.

22. Have a Bonfire

If you have a firepit at home or at a friend's house, a bonfire can be a great way to spend time with friends and family.

A bonfire is great for roasting marshmallows and cooking hot dogs. It's also great for sitting around and telling stories. Warming up on a cool night with a bonfire and checking out the night sky can also be quite fun.

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Activities To Do Alone at Home

You might be most tempted to watch TV when you're home alone. Here are some ideas for other things to do instead.

23. Take a Nap

Taking a nap is a great way to relax and refresh yourself and is perfect for doing when you're home alone, and it's quiet. Turn off the lights and lay down on the couch or in your bed, and pass out for a bit.

Napping has benefits in that it can make you feel better, increase your alertness, and give you a boost of energy.

24. Listen to Music

Listening to music is a great way to spend time by yourself and can be done when you're doing just about anything else. Whether you're cooking, cleaning, getting work done, or playing games, music enhances your experience.

There are studies that show that listening to music before sleep helps you sleep more soundly. If you're feeling stressed or anxious, the right kind of music can help calm you down.

25. Meditate

Meditation can be an excellent way to relax and get things off your mind. There are many different ways to meditate, and the key is finding a way that works best for you.

Meditation has many benefits, including lowering anxiety and stress levels and increasing focus.

26. Clean Up Your House

If you're looking for things to do instead of watching TV, cleaning up your house is a great option. Not only will it get things in order and make things look nicer, but you'll feel better knowing your house isn't a mess.

Cleaning can also be a great way to spend time with your kids and teach them responsibility. You can make a game out of cleaning to make it more interesting for everyone who's helping out.

27. Organize and Declutter

Going through your things and getting things decluttered has many benefits, including helping to reduce stress and anxiety, boost productivity, and make things easier to clean in the future. You also have the chance to find things in your house that you thought were lost.

28. Learn to Play an Instrument

Have you always wanted to learn how to play an instrument? It takes time, dedication, and a lot of practice to be good at playing an instrument, but it has its perks.

Learning to play an instrument can help you stay focused and get things off your mind. It's also fun to do in a group, which can lead to exciting opportunities like getting a gig at a local bar or club and performing for others.

29. Take an Online Class

Increasing your knowledge of a particular topic that interests you can be a good way to pass the time and lead to money-making opportunities.

You can take less formal online classes for free on YouTube, or you can sign up on a platform like Udemy or Skillshare to learn all sorts of new things. Whether you take classes that help you with hobbies or things you can do for money is up to you. Either way, you'll be able to expand your horizons and can become better at something that you enjoy doing or want to do to earn extra cash.

30. Learn to Crochet

Crochet, as well as knitting, quilting, and other fun craft hobbies, are creative things you can do instead of watching TV.

You can learn to crochet online by watching YouTube videos. It's also a relatively inexpensive hobby that requires hooks and yarn. You'll be able to create all sorts of things such as blankets, scarves, hats, and other things that can be used for yourself or to give as gifts to friends and family.

31. Learn a Language

Learning another language is beneficial as it will allow you to communicate with more people, which is great if you currently or plan to travel internationally. It's also a job skill that can open more doors for you, especially if you work in any type of customer service, sales, or general business management.

32. Do Puzzles

Do you like puzzles? Puzzles like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, and so on work your brain and get you thinking. They can also be challenging and a lot of fun.

While watching TV can be pretty mind-numbing, doing puzzles are, on the other hand, great for your mind. If you're looking for puzzles on your mobile phone, check out the Google Play or Apple store, and you'll find dozens of puzzle apps that will keep you busy for hours.

33. Take a Long Bath

Kids asleep? Significant other doing something else? Hop in a hot bath and relax for a bit. Why have the stimuli of cable television when you can turn on some soft music and soak?

Not only is a hot bath good comfort, but it's also a great way to unwind after a stressful day.

34. Write in Your Journal

Journaling is an excellent way to practice self-care, plus it can be a great way to keep track of things you want to do in the future.

It's good for your mental health, and when done right, it can feel therapeutic. Writing is also a great activity that will allow you to get things off your mind as well as potentially generate new ideas or approaches on things, whether an issue you face in life or something more innovative like brainstorming for a new business.

35. Plan Out Your Next Vacation

Are you interested in taking a vacation soon? Planning out your next trip is a perfect thing to do instead of watching TV. Decide where you want to go, who you want to take with you, what you plan to do, and how much you anticipate spending.

If a vacation is something that's on the horizon, check out this article on how to save on your next trip. If you plan on staying at a hotel, these tips will help you save money on your next hotel booking.

36. Review Your Finances

Studies show that wealthy people spend several hours a month reviewing their finances to look for opportunities to improve. While reviewing your finances regularly will probably not directly make you wealthy, you'll have the benefit of finding where you spend too much money, see your progress in paying off debt, and notice opportunities as to where you grow your income.

One of the best ways to review your finances regularly is with an app that you can connect all of your accounts to. Personal Capital is great for this and will allow you to track your net worth, as well as every transaction you make so that you can see exactly how much you're making and how much you're spending, and what you're spending money on.

Personal Capital can also help you manage your investments or provide advice on investing for your future. This advice can set you up to building some real wealth.

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37. Go to the Library

The library is a great place to find books and resources on just about anything. In addition, many libraries have an online book rental service now where you can sign up to rent eBooks and similar digital content.

Libraries are also a quiet place to access the internet if you need a change of scenery and want to get something done online while not at home.

38. Play with Your Pet

Pets bring happiness to our lives, and spending time with them is good for both you and them. If you have a dog, why not take them for a walk? If you have a cat, why not snuggle up with them?

39. Practice Your Cooking Skills

Have you ever wanted to get better at cooking? Cooking your own meals has the benefit of saving you and your family a lot of money, plus when you get good at it, your food can be customized to taste just how you and your family want it.

What's more, cooking can help you eat healthier because you'll be more aware of what goes into what you eat.

Money Making Activities To Do Instead of Watching Cable TV

Watching TV passes a lot of time when you could be earning some extra cash. With extra cash earned, you'll have more money to do other fun things in life, like taking your kids to the movies, your spouse on a date, or simply buy yourself something nice.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

40. Start a Dog Walking Business

One way to make some extra cash is by starting a dog walking business. This can be lucrative and in-demand, especially in big cities with people who work long hours downtown or have busy lives.

If you're good with dogs and know how to handle them, starting a dog walking business that you spend a couple of hours a day on can be an amazing way to increase your earnings, which certainly beats watching TV.

41. Do Transcription

You can make money while sitting at home by doing transcription. Check out Rev, a site where you can do freelance transcription services and be paid by the audio minute. It's easy to apply, and after you pass a basic transcription test, you'll be able to start earning money.

42. Ghostwrite for Bloggers

Professional bloggers don't always have time to write their own articles. This means they may want to hire ghostwriters to do the work for them.

If you're good with words and know what it takes to write high-quality articles, then this is an opportunity that may be worth exploring.

Check out this guide about making money as a ghostwriter.

43. Start Your Own Blog

Of course, you can create your own blog, too, in your spare time. Blogging takes a lot of work, but the payoff can be life-changing. Some bloggers end up replacing their full-time income.

You can get started blogging with Bluehost for just $3.95 per month. This is an excellent, affordable way to see if blogging is right for you.

Check out our walkthrough on how to be a profitable blogger.

44. Deliver Food with DoorDash

Delivering food with DoorDash is a great way to earn extra money with your car. It's easy to get started, and you'll earn 100% of your tips on top of base pay.

Deliver with DoorDash in your free time in the evening or on the weekend to make some extra cash.

45. Drive People Around with Lyft

Another way to make money with your car is to drive people around via Lyft. If you live somewhere where many people don't have access to reliable transportation, then this could be a good opportunity.

You can make decent money simply by taking people from where they are to where they need to go.

46. Fill Out Online Surveys

Why not earn a little extra cash instead of watching TV? Online survey sites such as Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, and Inbox Dollars will pay you for your opinion.

It doesn't take much time to earn some extra cash, and you can do it in your spare time or on the go.

Use our Swagbucks link and earn a bonus of $5 after signing up and getting started.

47. Make Money Doing Yardwork for Neighbors

Many people don't want to do physical labor outside of whatever they do at work. This leaves you the opportunity to make money doing things like mowing lawns, raking leaves, and shoveling snow.

Of course, after a long day of work, you might not want to do physical labor either, but this extra work can often pay quite well.

48. Tutor Subjects You're Good At

If you're good at teaching people academic subjects like math, science, or English grammar, then consider becoming a private tutor.

You'll be able to earn money by doing something that is both rewarding and helpful to a struggling student. If you aren't sure where to start, Chegg.com is a great place to tutor online.

49. Hone Your Photography Skills and Sell Stock Photos

If you're a skilled photographer, then selling stock photos might be another way to earn some extra money in your free time.

First, you'll want to research what types of stock photos are in demand. Next, you'll want to take very high-quality pictures and edit them accordingly. From there, you can upload them to a site like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto to earn money whenever someone downloads them to use.

Taking pictures and selling them as stock photos is both a fun and possibly lucrative thing to do instead of watching TV.

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Wrapping It Up

In this article, we discussed things you can do instead of watching TV. We also went over how much money you can save by canceling cable.

You should now have a list of things to do instead of watching TV that you can choose from. Next, it's time to pick the one or two things on your list and get started.

What will you do first?

4 thoughts on “49 Fun Things To Do Instead Of Watching TV”

  1. I would love to cancel cable but I live with my parents and they are addicted to MSNBC. I pay about $150/month for AT&T Uverse! I love Netflix and also have Amazon Prime which I don’t watch as much. There are some great ideas here. One of my favorite hobbies is making SoulCollage cards.

    1. I can’t get my parents to cancel Cable TV. My father loves his routine which includes watching specific shows at specific times, commercials included.

  2. Melissa

    We cut cable when we were getting out of debt and haven’t looked back! Sure, there are days I miss HGTV, but there are fun HGTV alternatives on Netflix that I can watch. I like that you gave some alternatives even outside of watching TV!

    1. We love Netflix over here! And yes, sometimes it makes sense to do something besides watching TV 🙂

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