1. Buy some ingredients and bake a cake, make some hot cocoa, and rent a movie.
2. Arcades if there’s one around you. My local one does hourly play so 20 bucks is two hours of freeplay on any machine.
3. I like the idea of trying to buy $20 worth of things you see at the grocery store, but never get. The tropical, spiky fruit, the fancy ramen in the ethnic food aisle with the packaging all in Korean, the frozen food that you’ve never even heard of. It would be a fun experiment.
4. Buy a disposable camera on a nice day with money left over to develop the film.
5. Buy a small journal and a nice pencil or brush pen or two. Sketch everywhere you go. Get your friends and ppl you meet at parties etc to draw in it too, if you aren’t too shy. It’s s good way to start conversations. And it’s fun every time you look at it once you’re finished.
6. When we were teenagers my friends and I used to organize these scavenger hunts over the summer and one around Halloween in costumes, but instead of finding things, they involved doing things. The list was something that was always growing and I think we had like 175 things on the final one and it was always fun to sit around and brainstorm things to do.
Some of the tasks were simple like take a picture with 5 strangers or form a human pyramid. Some were really silly like hold a conversation with a street sign for 5 minutes or pretend to be the official door opener for a store. We also had some eating challenges that cost money, but not a lot like eat 6 raw eggs or eat an onion like an apple.
The scavenger hunts made our summers really fun and we also made lots of great memories and it didn’t cost us that much money at all. The first hunt was just 4 of us, but by the last one we had like 35 people in teams competing for a trophy we got a thrift store that we made a few adjustments to.
7. Go to Petco. Raid the 2 for $5 bin or the clearance bin, whatever I can get more from. Go to the animal shelter and make a bunch of dogs really happy.
Or dollar store tennis balls. My puppers is OBSESSED so it’d be a great thing to share with some adoptable pups.
8. Go to a minor league ball game.
9. Buy a cheap ukulele. They’re super easy to learn, fun to play, and you can find a decent one even for $20.
10. Go to a garden store and acquire plant friends.
11. If you live near Dallas take your $20 to the Bishop Cidercade. Open from 10am to midnight $10 gets you in the door, all the games are free, and you have $10 left for cider (with 24 taps)!
12. Visit the thrift shop. $20 could get you something amazing and it’s fun to treasure hunt. You’d probably get enough books or music with $20 to give you months of entertainment. Cures the shopping itch without costing a ton like normal shopping does. Gets you out and seeing weird things.
13. Google billfold origami. Spend hours learning to make different things. Impress your friends and family. Ensure whomever you tip for whatever services they render (I’m no judge just a billfold origami enthusiast) will be talking about your tip for at least the next hour.
14. Assuming you have internet, $20 gets you 2 months of netflix, or DC, or whatever. Hard to beat 2 months of entertainment.
15. My favorite thing I used to do was take my dog to this really great park. We’d get there early enough that it was quiet and we’d hang out by the river. Then when it started getting warm we’d go through the drive thru at McDonald’s, get some ice cream and fries (she’d get maybe one or two fries dipped in ice cream, nothing excessive). If we still had energy we’d walk around PetCo and she’d get a small treat or maybe a toy if they were on clearance. That was the best summer ever.
16. You can go and buy a bunch of burgers at McDonald’s. Then, walk around giving them to hungry people. You feel like a superhero.
17. I’d go to CVS and buy a really expensive nail polish and not feel bad about it.
18. Local racetrack. Most admission is less than $20. Great fun.
19. There’s an animal reserve near where I live. For like $5 you can get in, and for $20 you can bring friends. If you go into the basement, they have an adorable green cheek conure that will bounce if you bounce with it. I love him so much. Also, there’s a bunch of spooky ceiling rats, or bats, an artic fox, Hawks, bald eagles, turtles, and a bunch more. And, the icing on the cake, they have a theater that plays documentaries a few times a day that you can just sit and watch. Great place. I love it. It’s Tackapusha Animal Reserve in Seaford, New York.
20. Personally, going to the small independent movie house is pretty fun. Tickets are cheaper than the cineplex and there’s a cafe next door that the movie house allows you to bring in food from. The few times I get off work early, I like to make an afternoon of it and go grab a late lunch or early dinner and bring it in to watch a nice movie. Since they show mostly indie movies, the afternoons are pretty empty. That combination tends to make me feel more relaxed than going to the cineplex at night where it’s always jam-packed with people who talk at the screen too much.
21. For that, I can go fishing on the pier pretty much all day. 20 will get me my bait, some drinks, and some dry ice for my bait cooler.
22. Go out and buy yourself a meal, you deserve it. Bring headphones to make it a hundred times better, or if you like the aesthetic, hook up to your car radio with a handpicked playlist of yours and take your time to enjoy the food.
Bring a friend if the both of you don’t mind a small bit of budgeting.
23. Go mini golfing.
24. Getting some take out and sitting on the couch with your significant other is the best.
25. Fallout New Vegas is 10 dollars. Spend the other 10 on snacks.
26. Go to a cat café with a friend.
27. Getting the starter set of Dungeons and Dragons! I’ve seen Amazon sell itngor under $20 and that is one investment you make for years of memories to come!
28. Two words: Box. Wine.
29. My partner and I like to go to the shops, we’ll get $10 each and the goal is to get the best gift for the other person.
It’s always a nice surprise and a good way to spend an afternoon.
30. Go into dollar tree, feel like a king.