11 Ideas to Complete Your Bucket List on a Budget

Make the Most of Your Time and Money

It's nice to create a bucket list, but you might feel like you don’t have the funds you’ll need to tackle the items on your list. Don’t let that stop you! Bucket lists are all about possibilities and adventures. It might take a little bit of research, but you can create a bucket list on a budget. Start with this list of free, or almost free, bucket list ideas.

01 of 11

Learn to Play a Musical Instrument

mature man playing guitar
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Maybe you've always wanted to play the piano, the cello, the guitar, a violin, the flute, a trumpet, or even a saxophone. If you have the funds, you can buy a new instrument and sign up for lessons, but you don’t have ​to spend a lot to participate in the making of music. Shop second-hand stores, Craigslist, or eBay for your instrument. Search online, especially YouTube, for free, self-led lessons.

02 of 11

Travel to Far Away Places

senior couple taking photos in London next to Big Ben
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Say you've always wanted to go see the Grand Canyon or hike the Appalachian trail. Often, though, travel sounds expensive but it doesn't have to be if you get a little creative. Ever heard of an organization called CouchSurfing?

This is an organization that's a network designed to connect would-be travelers with people in communities around the world who are willing to share their homes. There's an adventure waiting for you out there regardless of your budget—all you have to do is go find it.

03 of 11

Learn to Play Chess

couple playing chess
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You can pick up a chess board at Goodwill, or find one at a garage sale for a few bucks. Then, spend some time viewing How to Play Chess videos online, and gain the instruction you can use to learn about various chess moves and methods of strategy to get you started playing. Be sure to grab a neighbor or friend to learn with you!

04 of 11

Read a Classic Novel, or Two, or Three

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Books are an indulgence many will never give up. Good stories can whisk you away to another world and open your mind up to new ways of thinking. Written classics have been a formative influence on many cultures. The best thing about books is that you can take the bus to your local library and read as many books as you want, for free. 

05 of 11

Get a College Education

mature people in classroom
The education program of your dreams awaits, one step at a time. Ableimages/Getty Images

If you love to learn, now is your time. A plethora of free college courses ​​are available online. Although you may not be issued a diploma at the end with these courses, it's never too late to pursue a degree if that's something on your bucket list. Many community colleges offer affordable classes to help you earn an Associate-level degree, and many even offer deep discounts for seniors.

Who knows what you might do with your newfound knowledge? Perhaps it will lead you to new challenges and even more new items to add to your bucket list.

06 of 11

Learn a Foreign Language

street sign in foreign language
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Rosetta Stone offers great easy-to-use language-learning programs, but they charge $500 to $600 for their systems. For free foreign language lessons try LearnALanguage. This online site offers lessons in twenty-one different languages, or you can try ElanguagesSchool for some more free language fun.

If you don't mind spending time on your smartphone, you can try popular language-learning apps such as Duolingo, which allows you to learn and practice foreign languages no matter where you are, as long as your phone has a cell signal.

07 of 11

Learn to Waltz, or Tango, or Salsa

senior couple dancing
Dancing requires some wonderful music and a can-do feeling. Image Source/Getty Images

Grab your partner—it’s time to dance! Free video lessons abound on the web. Check out How to Waltz. There’s also How to: Ballroom Tango or Learn to Dance Salsa. You can also check for free or low-cost dance lessons at your local community college or community center.

08 of 11

Learn a New Craft, Like Photography, Woodworking, Sewing, or Knitting

senior man working with clay to make pot
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If you’ve never done it before, commit to making something for yourself. Perhaps a piece of furniture, an article of clothing, or art for your home. No money? Challenge yourself to create something new with items you already have in your home.  What can you take apart, mix with something else, and then put back together? Have fun with this one. You never know what you might come up with! 

Check out online videos for ideas on how to reuse or repurpose items that cost you nothing, such as empty plastic bottles, old hangers, empty glass jars, old tee shirts, and empty toilet-paper rolls, just to name a few things. 

09 of 11

Write a Book, and Share It With Someone

Man contemplating information to include in his book
Writing is a process, passing on your knowledge is a legacy. B2M Productions/Getty Images

This one is free, challenging and rewarding. The key is to let a few people know what you are doing and share your progress, chapter by chapter. Be open-minded and ask for their feedback and edits.

Don’t judge yourself as you go along writing your story; instead, be prepared to let the words flow out, then review and re-write portions, refining it to get it just the way you want. For help getting started check out free resources online, such as videos and blogs of current authors, for instruction on how to get started on your first book.

10 of 11

Get a Job You've Always Wanted, Even If Just for a Day

senior man riding a florist delivery bicycle
Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images

Perhaps you've wanted to be a bartender, a vendor at a ball game, a movie ticket collector, or something else that others might think is odd. So what! Go find a place that may need help, tell them about your bucket list, and ask for a job for a day. Keep searching until you find someone that says YES. 

11 of 11

Pick One Physical Feat and Work Toward It

senior couple canoeing on lake
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Say you’ve always wanted to be able to do a push-up or pull-up, but you think it’s too late. It’s not! Whether it be a yoga class, learning to swim, or riding your bike across your state, there is no better time to start than now. Your body is amazingly adaptable if you’ll just give it the chance. Physical fitness is a perfect item to add to a budget-conscious bucket list.

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