While we all want to make the most of our free time, keeping up with our social lives or doing things we enjoy can sometimes be an expensive affair. But having fun doesn’t have to be too costly. We’ve put together a list of ideas for fun days out – and days in – that we think you would enjoy for £30 or less. Prices are accurate as of 22 June 2022. We know that prices may vary depending on where you live, so bear this in mind when planning for activities near you.
1. Have a bake-off
Fancy yourself as a star baker? Why not attempt to make a showstopping cake and challenge friends and family to do the same. Then all come together for judging (and more importantly, eating) your creations. We priced up the cost of buying every ingredient of this impressive unicorn cake from a popular supermarket, which totalled £28.76.1 This includes the optional ingredients, so you could save money if you choose to exclude them. You may also have some of the basic ingredients such as eggs or flour in your cupboards already, to further reduce the cost. Not every cake will require so many ingredients, so search around for a recipe that appeals to your tastebuds and also your budget.
Baking can be a great activity for adults and children alike. And even if your ambitious cake doesn’t go to plan, a slightly botched attempt is arguably more fun. You might even uncover a hidden talent you never knew you had.
2. Make a guilt-free purchase
Is there anything more fun or satisfying than buying the non-essential item that’s been on your wish list for a while? Maybe it’s a new top, a vinyl album, fancy teapot or some nice food and drink. We tend to spend to satisfy a need, whether it’s an essential such as commuting to work, or our need for mental stimulation through fun and entertainment. While we know the cost of living can be difficult, it’s important for our money-mindset that we do things that bring us those feelings of joy and purpose.
Making a few purchases on things that make you happy doesn’t have to derail your long-term financial plans. So, if you can spare that £30 to buy something you’ll love once in a while, don’t feel guilty about doing so. You can find out more about balancing your wants and needs in our Financial wellbeing flipbook.
3. Try a small upcycling project
Upcycling is a popular way of bringing life back to old furniture as people look to reduce their waste and impact on the planet. Maybe your kitchen cupboards could do with a refresh, or your bedside tables are looking a bit faded. With some sandpaper, furniture paint and a few additional extras, you could try your hand at sprucing up your furniture without breaking the bank.
As an example, for a set of bedside drawers – our online search found 500ml of furniture paint from £11, and 400ml of spray sealant from £5.75. Paintbrushes were £2.99, and a pack of sandpaper was £2.41. With this totalling £22.15, that’s still money left from your £30 to buy some new drawer handles or some polish to shine up the ones you have.
This could be a fun project to take on during a weekend, and you might even learn new skills while you’re doing it.
4. Try out a new activity
Regardless of your age, there’s probably always something you’ve wanted to try and never have. Maybe you want to have a go at golf, go paddle boarding or try your hand at chocolate making. Prices may vary a lot depending on what the activity is and where you live. While we can’t promise every activity on your wish list will be less than £30, we can point you in the right direction to find a great deal on some fun days out.
Make the most of online deals from sites like Groupon and Wowcher where you might find an exciting activity at a discounted price. The deals change regularly so there’s always something new to explore. Using these sites, we found discounts on photography tours, high-rise ropes courses, rock climbing lessons, segway experiences, ski lessons and more for under £30.
5. Treat yourself in the cinema
The cinema is no longer just a place for film buffs to see the latest blockbuster. Many now offer showings of live or pre-recorded theatre, dance, opera, music, comedy, old classic films and more. If you’re not interested in the latest release, there might still be something on that you’ll enjoy. Ticket prices will vary depending on location and cinema. We found seats from £4.99 when booking online, and from £9.99 in the higher tiered areas. If you want to treat yourself, you could upgrade to VIP seats for a few pounds more. Some cinemas have agreements with other companies – such as money-saving comparison websites – that give 2 for 1 tickets if you’ve used their services. Check online to see if you might be eligible for a discount.
If you’re an avid cinema fan, you may want to consider a monthly cinema pass to see as many films as you want. Prices start from £9.99 a month in one cinema chain and rise to £20.90 a month in the highest tiered areas. Don’t forget to bring your own snacks if you want to save on some costs. But if buying a large popcorn and raspberry slush as a special treat brings you joy, that’s okay too.
Do what brings you joy
Of course, fun is subjective – what one person likes might not be as fun for you. The most important thing is to enjoy when you spend money and savour the good feeling or memory that comes with it. Whether it’s buying the extra fancy slice of cake, trying out a new hobby or paying for that premium seat in the cinema.