Fun Things You Can Do for 30 Dollars and Under
1.) Get a craft kit and/or other craft supplies.
Some stores, such as Five Below, offer craft kits for cheap! I have seen craft kits for macrame, finger knitting, and more. If you do not live near a store that offers craft kits and you would rather buy craft supplies in person, I recommend going to a store that sells what you need. For example, you could visit a local yarn store if you would like to learn to knit or crochet. To start knitting or crocheting, you need yarn (preferably a smooth, worsted weight yarn in a light color), needles or hooks in the right size for the yarn, a yarn needle and a sharp pair of scissors. You also need access to YouTube or another website for knitting and/or crochet tutorials. A guide book may be helpful, too, so check your local library to see if they have any.
2.) Pamper yourself.
Bath supplies like bath bombs and bath salts are awesome for those of us who enjoy taking baths. If, however, you do not have a bath tub, you can still buy other fun goodies like face masks, shower gel, and conditioning masks for your hair. Some stores like Ulta will have a discounted section with products that are still perfectly good, but may have been discontinued by the company. You can also try discount stores like TJMaxx, Marshall's, and Five Below. If all else fails, try Amazon. You deserve good things that make you happy!
3.) Bake cookies, brownies, and more.
It is always nice to be able to bake some treats for yourself and your loved ones. Some baking supplies are more expensive than others. You will, of course, need some kitchen supplies like an 8" x 8" baking pan, a whisk, and such. You can buy these at stores like TJMaxx and Marshall's for cheaper than Bed Bath and Beyond. I enjoy baking brownies using a pre-made mix from, say, Betty Crocker, because I find it tastes just as delicious as made-from-scratch brownies and is much more convenient. However, I make cookies, banana bread, muffins, and granola bars from scratch. I caution you against using more exotic ingredients, like almond extract or dried goji berries, before you first see if you enjoy baking in the first place. Do not forget that there are many free recipes online and your local library probably has some cook books with recipes.
4.) Invest in some art supplies.
As you know, I am an artist. I therefore already have a solid stash of art supplies. If you are looking to experiment with making art, I highly recommend you choose a medium (photography, watercolors, etc) that is appealing to you. Collage is a fun, interesting, and fairly cheap medium with which to start. To begin with collage art, I recommend that you go to Etsy and buy a few packs of collage papers (sometimes called ephemera packs). You will also need a glue stick and a substrate onto which you will collage. I recommend buying a pack of blank postcards and/or a small sketchbook. Buy what appeals to you! You can also ask your friends and family for their old magazines.
5.) Purchase used books, CDs, and DVDs.
Let yourself be entertained! There are many online and in-person stores where you can buy books, CDs, and DVDs. You will get the most bang for your buck if you buy these items used. Before the pandemic, I used to love to go to GoodWill (a thrift store) to buy books, CDs, and DVDs. Unfortunately, my GoodWill is not open during the pandemic. I still, however, shop for these items in the Sale Annex of my local Barnes & Noble. Besides the Sale Annex of Barnes & Noble, there are both in-person and online used bookstores. You can even buy books used via Amazon.
6.) Take an online class.
I love learning! There are many places online where you can enjoy free college-level classes on a variety of topics. My favorite place for these classes is Coursera. You can take non-academic classes on other websites, like Udemy and Skillshare. These classes are enriching and are usually no more than 20 dollars. Do not forget to Google to see if there are any coupons for the platform at which you are looking. For example, if I want to take a class on Skillshare, I would go to Google and enter "skillshare coupon".
7.) Donate money.
Self-care is vital to your health and wellness and to the well-being of society in general. However, some people may find themselves with extra money. In lieu of buying something, how about giving 30 dollars to a mutual aid fund, a friend in need, or a local organization like an animal shelter? I recently gave ten dollars to the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge (RBARI). I used to volunteer there extensively in high school and I now crochet cat bedding for them. I can vouch that RBARI will use your money carefully.
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