How to Maximize Your Free Time

exerciseThe closing on my home got pushed back one day due to the huge snowstorm that hit the Midwest this weekend, so please enjoy this guest post from Connie Mei. Connie is a 20-something trying to live big on a budget…in New York City. Follow her on her road to financial independence over at Savvy With Saving.

Time is money.  And unfortunately, a lot of us waste it. Many people spend their free time lounging around, watching TV, and catching up on sleep. Not to say that you should stop doing those things entirely.  However, it’s worth noting what really productive people do.  People who spend their free time effectively see it as a time to refocus, not necessarily recharge. Here are 5 things you can be doing to maximize your free time:


It’s easy to just let go on the weekends and spend all your time sitting on the couch watching TV. But the weekends are actually a great time to catch up on exercise. If you’re like most people, you probably aren’t getting enough exercise during the week. Set aside an hour or two every weekend to get a workout in. It can even be something fun like a hike or a new dance class. Contrary to popular belief, exercising will actually make you feel better and more energized.

Spend Time with Family and Friends

Fitting in time to spend with friends and family can be difficult.  And unfortunately, they can be the first things we cut out of our lives when we need to find more time. Creating and maintaining strong, meaningful relationships is a vital part of living a happy life. Be sure to spend quality time with the people you care about. When people look back on their lives, they wish they spent more time with friends and family – not more time working.

Explore New Passions

While your work can actually be your passion, spending time pursuing new passions is a great way to learn and grow as a person. Use the extra time you have to discover something new that you enjoy. What have you always wanted to do that you never had the time for? It can be something big – like starting your own business- or small – like learning how to cook. Pursuing something you’re interested in will make you feel more fulfilled.

Get a Side Hustle

Most people could use some extra cash and it’s usually not that hard to earn a little more. In your free time, there are tons of side hustles you can do to make a little extra. Some popular ones are freelance writing, acting as a virtual assistant, or reselling things. There are also plenty of ways to make extra income in your own neighborhood such as dog walking or babysitting. A couple hundred bucks might not sound like much but it adds up.

Plan ahead

A great way to be proactive is to spend your free time planning for your week ahead. Spending a little time prioritizing on Sunday can save you a lot of time during the week. It’ll also make you feel better prepared for what’s to come. Take a little bit of time on Sunday night to write out your to-list.

When you have some free time, reflect. What could you do to better yourself? A few hours here and there may not seem like a lot of time to do it but if you consistently do it every week, you’ll gradually chip away at your goals.

How do you maximize your free time?



  1. Love this topic! I am always trying to plan ahead and my side hustle takes up most of my “free” time. I think spending time with friends and family building meaningful relationships isn’t stressed enough, especially among people in the personal finance community. It’s arguably the MOST important thing you can do in your free time.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..15 Ways to Improve your Finances in the New Year – Part 2My Profile

  2. I am totally guilty of wasting time on the weekends. I think maybe building more exercise into my routine would help keep my energy up so that I am productive. Of course, I do think it is important to spend some time relaxing and resting up too!
    Liz recently posted..5 Facts About the BloggerMy Profile

  3. We need to be better about optimizing our free time. This year, we’ll be cutting down on TV time for more reading instead.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..What to Do When You Wake up to Find Yourself Deep in DebtMy Profile

  4. I don’t waste too much time on the weekends, since I try to hang out with my kids as much as possible then. During the busy work weeks I only see them for a few minutes before bed time, so devoting weekend time to exercise, side jobs, or hobbies can be difficult. They all have their place though!
    FI Pilgrim recently posted..How To Waste Time And Ruin Your Kitchen CabinetsMy Profile

  5. We’re always looking for ways to maximize our free time. With us both working from home it can be easy to let things slide by and simply lose out on any free time we have. We’ve learned to structure our day to work when we’re most efficient and plan ahead so we can enjoy time with the kids during our free time.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..3 Guaranteed Ways to Save Money in 2014My Profile

  6. I try to exercise for at least 45 minutes a day. Blogging takes a ton of time, but I almost consider that more like a second job at this point. Maybe my favorite thing to do in the world is read a good book, and I certainly need to make more time for that.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Legal Marijuana in Colorado: What’s It Cost To Get Stoned?My Profile

  7. Love it – not planning free time is a great way to waste it! Even if you plan to just sit quietly, at least it’s your choice.
    Nick @ Step Away from the Mall recently posted..Don’t quit your day job… Yet!My Profile

  8. I like trying to be as efficient as possible. My free time usually ends up being taken up by side hustles or my hobbies. I think that is a good way to spend it.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..How To Make More Money – Ways To Earn Extra IncomeMy Profile

  9. Awesome call on getting a side hustle. Before I started blogging I watched a lot more TV. I personally think I am much more productive and learning a lot more these days! I do have to admit, exercise has taken a bit of a hit since I began blogging though- I am working on getting better at the balance.
    Dee @ Color Me Frugal recently posted..Talking to Your Partner About MoneyMy Profile

  10. I am a very guilty of wasting free time but again I always impress myself when I find something productive to do because I really commit. I actually do most of the things you listed. My main problem is actually getting up to start doing it. Once am in good.
    Demaish recently posted..2014 Goals, debt and other updatesMy Profile

  11. I also plan ahead not just to maximize my time, but to save money, especially when going out to eat. I look up menus before I go and already know what I’m getting, how much it will be and have exact cash for the meal. As you know, eating out in NYC can get pretty pricy if you aren’t careful!
    Broke Millennial recently posted..Using My Major on Alicia Menendez TonightMy Profile

  12. I watch less tv now that I started my blog. I enjoy it and am really getting into it. There is so much to learn and share.
    Raquel@Practical Cents recently posted..Looking Ahead to 2014My Profile

  13. Also learn how when you are at your peak and align your passion with that. For instance, I’m at my best in the mornings and I’ll never watch TV in the mornings but use it for doing something productive. I’m not very productive late night and I use that time for TV and non productive activities.
    Moneycone recently posted..Laziness is my vice and I put it to good use!My Profile

  14. I am horrible about wasting time on watching television. I have got to get better at not spending so much time watching tv.
    Jennifer @ Budgeting in Baby recently posted..My Fast Food AddictionMy Profile

  15. It wouldn’t hurt to exercise on the weekend. My boyfriend takes advantage of his days off to wake up and go running when he’s normally too tired in the morning. I try to get ahead on blogging and make a plan for the upcoming week. Great ideas!
    E.M. recently posted..What’s Your Spending Threshold?My Profile

  16. All those are great tips. The secret to contentment is finding ways to optimally use your free time. I always like to learn new things. Lately, I’ve been trying different recipes and brushing up on my cooking skills. It’s a great way to save money and eat healthier. And the end result is (usually) delicious food.
    Justin @ RootofGood recently posted..Enjoying Four Months of Early RetirementMy Profile

  17. Usually the weekends we try to spend time with each other, get some rest, get some stuff done around the house. Most of them are chill because during the work week, we are never home. Plus, hubby only has one day off.
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted..How a house is impeding me from becoming a BUMMy Profile

  18. I realized I spent a lot of my free time passing the time waiting for something I was looking forward to… example: waiting for the game to start on Sundays.

    I think maximizing free time is all about finding a way to enjoy each and every second of it.
    Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa recently posted..Wells Fargo Private Student Loan Consolidation ReviewMy Profile

  19. Exercise is one of the main reasons I’ve joined sports leagues. I enjoy going out for runs but tend to wuss out when it comes to crummy weather. I don’t want to run out in the freezing cold. If it’s cold for a touch football game though and I have teammates toughing it out as well, that’s a whole different story. It is also easier this way to get an exercise in during the week. Since I’m meeting up with others, it kind of feels like a night out instead of exercise.
    Micro recently posted..2013 spending in review and 2014 budgetMy Profile

  20. Free time? What’s that? :) Actually my free time is being taken up by training for a 1/2 marathon, and blogging. But I also watch about an hour or two of TV a night. I have to get away from the computer. My goal is to learn the Ukulele this year, so if I can free up some more free time, that’s something I’ll be focusing on.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..Adventures Around the World: Life as a Travel Club OrganizerMy Profile

  21. Free time, what’s that? Just kidding, sort of. These days it feels like I have less and less free-time. Between work, blogging and side hustles there isn’t much free-time left. Exercise is something I’m trying to make more of a priority. I recently started Focus T-25 and I really enjoy those short 25 minute workouts.
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted..You Need an Emergency Fund When Your Furnace DiesMy Profile

  22. Any tips on most successful way to find a virtual assistant or to become one?
    Krista recently posted..Crunching the Numbers: Our Year in ReviewMy Profile

  23. I don’t have much time between work, side hustles and blogging either, but I am trying to manage my work flow and sanity. Sometimes I just veg, then feel guilty. Sometimes I work too much and burn out. I think having a routine and organizing your time and setting your priorities is really important. Great tips and thanks for sharing with us.
    Dear Debt recently posted..How to Turn Jealousy into ProductivityMy Profile

  24. I’m starting to feel more tired every day, so spending some extra time sleeping would actually be really welcome in my situation, but you can’t do everything in 24 hours :) But I do agree that when it comes to free time, spending it with family is probably the best way to use it.
    C. the Romanian recently posted..How to Trick People into Thinking You’re RichMy Profile

  25. Also suggestion from my side would be to spend leisure time, on activities such as- going to theatre, concerts, watching different types of performances. I do so, and since I started, my life quality improved a lot :) Believe me, there is nothing better than to watch live performance and to enjoy it, but it is also important to choose good performances, for that reason I rely only on info placed here- koncertai , I believe you should do the same in case you want to enjoy life in a way I do :)


  1. […] Club Thrifty:  An interesting piece about 5 different activities you can do and help Maximize your free time. […]

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