I help people spend more time, energy, and money ticking items off their bucket list.

Easy Bucket List Ideas to Fit into Everyday Life

There might be affiliate links in this post. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. Read my disclosure policy here.

In this session of The Everyday Bucket List Podcast, I speak with my husband about easy bucket list ideas to try, some of which we did recently. I also reveal some tips to potentially free up $1500 to $2000 a year. Also, hear about our day trip to the southern part of Vermont (Brattleboro).

Prefer to listen elsewhere? Here’s the same episode on: Apple or Spotify!

It takes a great deal of time and energy to create episodes. In order for me to make great content for you, some of the resources below have affiliate links. If you purchase something through a link, I would make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Also, consider working with me.

Today’s Everyday Bucket List Guest

I’m here again with my husband on the Everyday Bucket List Podcast!

You can also listen to my podcast on Apple Podcasts. Here’s my recent episode about Easy Bucket List Ideas to Fit into Everyday Life on Apple and Spotify. I’m also on Stitcher and many others.

It’s me, the host telling about my adventures. Karen Cordaway of KarenCordaway.com

As a busy working parent, Karen Cordaway spent years struggling to find free time for herself. That is until she figured out how to reclaim her schedule and infuse more exciting hobbies and bucket list experiences into everyday life.

With a little planning, a bit of strategy, and a dash of creativity, she turned her bucket list dreams into reality! The Everyday Bucket List Book: 10 Steps to Bringing More Exciting Experiences to Everyday Life is her signature, step-by-step process to help others, just like you, do the same.

Karen has written about shopping tips, cost-cutting, smart spending and other money-related topics for Clark Howard, Huffington Post and nationally syndicated articles for U.S. News. She now combines her money know-how with bucket list topics.

Her insights have been shared all over the internet in Money Magazine, Yahoo Finance, Market Watch, The Consumerist, Rockstar Finance, and even O Magazine. She now inspires everyday people to fulfill their bucket list dreams both big and small.

What You’ll Learn About Easy Bucket List Ideas to Fit into Everyday Life

  • What are good ideas for a bucket list
  • A range of simple and unique bucket list ideas
  • Our recent day trip to Vermont

What are good ideas for a bucket list?

What are some good ideas for a bucket list? A fun, creative way to spend your final years on Earth and make the most out of every moment.

Maybe add a memorable trip, adventures with friends and family or trying something new could all make for great additions to any lists. Here’s how you can begin to add simple and unique ideas to everyday life:

See comedians live

Why not see a live comedy show? Comedians are experts in making audiences feel better with their witty remarks and funny observational skills – no matter how bad things seem right now or what they’re doing to make themselves unhappy!

Brian Regan

We just saw Brian Regan. He is a hilarious, comedian who’s been on TV shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, critically acclaimed festival performances in Las Vegas Headliners Comedy Club or even winning the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival.

After recently taking a trip to the emergency room myself, I thought I’d share his bit about taking a trip there.

Pete Correale

Remember, the best way to a successful life is through laughter. When you’re feeling down or discouraged, see Pete Correale! He’ll make sure your day gets better and has everyone in the audience laughing their heads off with his wit, as well as telling some great jokes slash rants on stage that will cheer up even those who don’t want to be cheered up. 😉 I can relate to his generational humor, being married a long time, having kids, home maintenance issues, and everyday humor.

Go on a day trip

Spend a day traveling to visit some of the most beautiful places in your city or region. You can go on any route that interests you, whether it’s by car or public transportation! It can’t hurt to pick up some useful travel accessories to make your trip smoother.

Make artwork out of sentimental items

You can also create art from your favorite photos and memories. In fact, it’s an easy way to turn those old pictures you have around that are just sitting in a folder on your phone or computer into something beautiful!
The best part? You don’t even need professional help. I wrote about it here so you can make a list of dreams for the future that are easy to accomplish.


Unique Bucket List Ideas

What’s the best way to spend your time? It can be tough trying find an answer, but there are some activities that might just top this list for you. I have a variety of unique ideas that will make your day exciting and fun. Here are just three:

Take an online cooking course

The foodie in you is about to get amped up on the latest cooking classes. Check out this amazing website that offers online courses for all levels through experienced professionals looking forward with great anticipation at tonight’s dinner party!

Go on a local cruise or boat ride

Don’t just take a long cruise. Instead, what about taking the short route? There are many great things that can happen when you use local transportation!

Take the family on a short, local cruise to see all that it has in store. Narrow your search for just what you want with these suggestions of destinations near me!

I took a ride on a ferry to Port Jeff, NY out of Bridgeport, CT. Also discover my podcast episode about unique things to do in CT and close by too.

Here’s a video of a cruise to view seals that I never heard about before in Connecticut!

See an independent movie

Independent movies are a niche genre that doesn’t get the recognition they deserve. No matter what your opinion on Hollywood, there’s no denying this: we live in an age of mega-budget blockbusters and franchises; but when it comes to low budget indies like “King Lear,” someone has finally made an adaptation worth seeing!

I paased by a theater devoted to these types of movies on a recent visit to Visit Providence, RI. People sometimes think RI is such a tiny state, why should they bother visiting? That’s silly. Whether you stay for awhile or include it as a a part of a weekend getawaway in New England, you’re bound to enjoy yourself.

Super Simple Bucket List Ideas Before You Die

I say a bucket list is something you want to try while you’re still alive. That simple! Here are some examples of simple bucket lists to get started.

1. Get dessert at a fancy bakery.

2. Find one of the best hobbies to weave into everyday life such as journaling, crafting or weight lifting.

3. Try an Airbnb experience. (A guest from a past episode has hosted a coffee crawl before in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.)

4. Go rock climbing.

5. Test out a tandem bike. The physical therapists below tell about the good and bad things about it.

Plus, here’s the video tutorial I mentioned regarding staying on top of your email.

Links mentioned on show

Free Money Saving Hacks PDF

Conclusion for Easy My Bucket List Ideas

The more complicated a bucket list idea, the less likely it is that you will follow through on completing them. If you’re not able to travel far and wide and prefer not to, try some of the ideas mentioned.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts , Spotify or Stitcher today!

Easy Bucket List Ideas to Fit into Everyday Life

[0:00 - 0:18] Welcome to the Everyday Bucket List Podcast. Get ideas, tips, and inspiration from locals, subject matter experts, and yours truly to pursue travel goals and other bucket list ideas, both big and small. I read the website later.

[0:19 - 0:31] This family has been doing this for six generations, and I learned a little bit more about maple syrup. The darker it is, it seems the bolder the flavor. And I got a little money-saving tip.

[0:31 - 0:47] Listening to the Everyday Bucket List Podcast, please fasten your seatbelts. And no matter where you're going or how you're getting there, put your phone on airplane mode, because free time should never be interrupted. I'm your host, Karen Cordova.

[0:48 - 0:54] Well, hello, Team Bucket List. I am so glad to be back. We have a lot to share today.

[0:54 - 1:54] We're going to be talking about easy bucket list ideas, especially if you feel like you have a lot of obligations that keep you from doing maybe a lot of far away travel or other big ideas. So today we decided to hit the easy button and give ideas that at least we think are easy, and hopefully they will be tangible, within reach, and we're also going to share some of our secrets to make things happen when it seems like maybe you don't have a lot of extra money right now, or maybe you're tied to kids, grandkids, or other obligations, so we give you some of our secrets to maybe still squeeze things into everyday life. And once again, I'm bringing my husband along, and rich is a good sport, and so we're going to talk about some things we've done as well.

[1:54 - 3:09] And if you haven't already, it would be great if you could subscribe and possibly share this episode with someone who may like it. So we're going to kick things off with some things that we recently did, and what's funny is I hurt my back, so I joked on Twitter that when you get a kink in your back, you get a kink in your plan, and so we actually went to Vermont like we had planned, we just went a little later, and rich and I are going to elaborate about that, because what's funny is Vermont is two states over, and I've lived in Connecticut almost all of my life, and I'm embarrassed to say that the southern part is only two hours away, and when we started to do a little bit of research, we're like, you know, this is very manageable to go and visit, I'm going to let rich start and explain some of the things we did, and how it was a really nice adventure. Yeah, so when we first mentioned Vermont, I thought like you did, like, oh, that's like a three, four hour drive, you know, that's kind of tough to do on a day trip, but then just getting back along your theme of like actually researching it and seeing what the logistics would be, we realized that it was only two hours to the southern tip of Vermont.

[3:09 - 3:50] So, because it's an hour to more or less get to Massachusetts from where we are, then another hour to drive north through Massachusetts, and then it puts us right in the southern part of Vermont. So we decided, hey, we wanted to get out and see the foliage in the area outside of Connecticut, and we decided to just make a day trip of it. And it was really cool, because we ended up taking our younger daughter with us, we got out relatively early, and we found a good spot to eat, and then actually took a drive in Massachusetts, we had researched and found like a 30-mile drive on the northern part of Massachusetts, so right below the Vermont-Massachusetts state line.

And we did that in the afternoon. And then after we did that, we just drove home and got home at a reasonable time. So it was just a fun day.

[3:59 - 4:34] And we kind of had a little bit of an outline. I found a few articles and I found a few things in those articles that I knew we could do. So once we got there, we kind of looked through and said, OK, what can we do first and where can we eat and all of that? And one of the places that I didn't really know what to make of it, it was a sugar house.

It was called the Robb Family Sugar House. And if you saw it, you wouldn't think much of it. But what was cool is you had to drive down a dirt road to get there.

[4:34 - 4:55] It was very rustic and we just showed up and there was just all types of sugar products because they do maple sugaring, which is super interesting. It was fun to look through all the little gifts and everything that they have there. And it was like the perfect stop to get a little taste of Vermont.

[4:55 - 5:14] What was cool about it is it was off a dirt road, like you mentioned, and it was a few miles off a dirt road. And when we went inside, we were greeted with the owner and she really just talked to us about where we're from, what we're interested in, if there's anything there that she could answer questions about. I know you had some questions about the syrup.

[5:15 - 5:29] So it was just really cool to get that kind of customer service. Right. And when we were first going down the dirt road, it's funny how today everyone or maybe I'm just speaking for myself, you don't want to be inconvenienced at all.

[5:29 - 5:40] We're like, Oh, where's this road going? How far is it? Whatever. And all of a sudden you're pleasantly surprised. You're like, this is really cool and sweet and different.

[5:40 - 5:47] There's something about things that are very simple. They're very calming. It was just such a cute little thing.

[5:48 - 6:01] And come to find out, I read the website later. This family has been doing this for six generations and I learned a little bit more about maple syrup. The darker it is, it seems the bolder the flavor.

[6:02 - 6:17] And I got a little money saving tip. The woman told me that they do have a website and if you want to save money, you can actually just call them and they'll directly ship stuff to you versus ordering on the website. So that was a really good tip.

[6:17 - 6:27] If you're looking for something different to give to people for the holiday, you have little gift boxes and stuff. And this isn't sponsored. I just thought it was a really cute place.

[6:27 - 6:38] And so another thing that we did is we saw a comedian in Springfield, Massachusetts. We saw Brian Regan. And I always knew I wanted to see him.

[6:38 - 7:01] But until my husband found out about him coming our way, it just wasn't on the radar. Normally, when I look at where people are coming, if they don't come to my state, I usually just rule it right out. And we found out he was a state over and I don't think I've ever been to Springfield, Mass., but once again, once we looked into it, it really wasn't that far away.

[7:02 - 7:11] It was like a cute area. They had a casino close by and it was really an excellent performance, reasonably priced. I just had a great time.

[7:11 - 7:19] You mentioned how I heard about it. And I do want to mention that part because it's interesting. Nowadays, there's email marketing, Twitter.

[7:19 - 7:30] There's all kinds of high tech stuff that people use to advertise. But I actually was in the car on a long drive and I just heard it on the radio. And it's interesting that you hear that kind of thing.

[7:30 - 7:40] I remember when we saw Peter Cetera, I saw a billboard. I just randomly saw a billboard. And you can still hear about cool things through the old school way of advertising.

[7:40 - 7:49] So I just wanted to mention that. Right. And I'm so glad we found that out because I saw his special and I just thought it would be something far down the road.

[7:49 - 8:01] And I'm so excited because I've always wanted to see him. And we also got the chance to see Pete Correale, who has a podcast. I've mentioned Sebastian Maniscalco before.

[8:02 - 8:25] They have the Pete and Sebastian show. And it's funny because they are very much Generation X and Pete is from Long Island. So I think I have like that East Coast connection.
And he's been married a long time. He has a kid. He talks about home maintenance, a lot of everyday stuff.

And that was a lot of fun. So I always wanted to see him. We just recently saw Sebastian.

[8:26 - 8:53] And what we never expected is that we got to meet him after the show. And I was just blown away. I'm like, oh, my goodness.
It was one thing to see him. And we were very close to the stage. But then we got to meet him and take a picture with him. I really feel like we've just been knocking things out. So we went to Vermont on a Thursday. We saw Brian Regan on Friday, and then we saw Pete Correale on Saturday.

[8:53 - 9:36] And I highly recommend both of them. You should definitely check them out. I want to say Pete has a site.

It's Pete Correale dot com. I'm sure if you just type Brian Regan, you could find tickets for him. So if you want a night out to have some laughs, that was awesome.

So in general, Rich, I wanted to talk about easy bucket list ideas because I noticed sometimes that there are a lot of travel bloggers that are constantly traveling, that's just their whole way of life. And we know that there are a lot of people that have obligations that keep them close to home. So maybe they have to put off travel for a long time, or it just doesn't seem to fit into their schedule.

[9:36- 10:51] So I wanted to address that because sometimes it's saving the money. If you travel far, it could be very expensive. Or like I said, there's other obligations or you have kids or grandkids or for whatever reason, something might be holding you back and we wanted to address that and maybe give you some ideas of things that you could do that are very exciting because going to comedy clubs or just seeing comedians, that's a newer thing for us.

And it's so cool because they usually come close by and you just have to catch them and be aware of that. But I wanted to say some ideas that we have tried or we really would like to do. So it's kind of like currently on our bucket list, cover bands are out there.

And many times if there's someone who isn't touring in your area, or maybe they don't tour anymore, or maybe someone in the band has passed away, it's just such an awesome way to hear music from the past, live music. So there could be a tribute band devoted completely to a certain group, or sometimes you just get bands that play covers. So they might do a wide range of songs, which is really cool.

[10:52 - 11:50] And when we were in Springfield, we actually went into the casino accidentally, and whenever there's live music, I'm like, Oh, I wish we could see this, always kicking myself. Like, we just have to make that the event and not this thing where we're always like on the sidelines, forgetting to even do something like that. And I've been doing a lot of research because we went to Port Jeff, we hopped on a ferry.

I have a podcast episode and blog post about Port Jeff, if you want more details. I was looking into like local cruises, depending on your area and the weather. You can always do a little cruise for an hour in your area, if that's available.

And you always think, Oh, that's just for summer. And I didn't even know that in our area in December, you can go on a little cruise to see the seals. So they migrate from Maine, they come out this way and there's a cruise devoted to that, and I never knew that.

[11:50 - 12:22] If I didn't look into it, it's just not something I would know about. And there's a wide range of things. There's Airbnb experiences.
You would just have to see what's available in your area. I know I had Martin Dasko on the show. He would do a coffee crawl.

He was actually in charge of the Airbnb experience and he would take people to all these different coffee shops in his area in Canada, which is really interesting. You could even make artwork. Artwork isn't your clothes.

[12:22 - 13:27] I know my husband's been impressed with some of the things I came up with because I found this lady on Masterclass who's a designer and I just wanted to add something meaningful to my house and anything like that could be a bucket list item and it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Like I want to say, I took a shadow box. I was fortunate enough to be in O Magazine to give tips and I just copied the cover of the magazine and stuck it in a shadow box and I have it.

Where I do my work and you know, just some other things like my birth announcement when I was a kid, I blew that up and I stuck it in my bedroom and that's been a lot of fun and no one else is going to have that. Rich, do you have any ideas that you want to share? Yeah, I think minor league sports is a good option for families or couples or even individuals. Usually in your area, there's some kind of minor league sport.

So whether it's baseball, hockey, basketball, there's college teams. I know like we live near Yale. We've gone to some Yale events.

[13:27 - 14:13] There's Quinnipiac college. We've seen basketball there. So I think that's a good option for people, especially if you either can't get tickets to like your favorite pro sports event, or those are very expensive.

Minor league or college events are a little more reasonably priced. So you can see the live sports just at a lower cost. And it's kind of like what you mentioned about seeing a live band.

It's something about being in the actual arena or, you know, on the sidelines of the field, being on the bleachers or wherever, where it's like, you're a part of the action. You're seeing it in real time, as opposed to just watching it on TV. It's kind of a similar thing, even with the comedians, like going to see a comedian is different than watching a comedian at home, but I highly encourage people to check that out.

[14:13 - 14:38] That's a really good idea. I know too, when we went to Providence, like I had a blog post and another episode about Providence, but we walked by that place that just shows independent movies, I would love to visit a place like that, but there's other places where you could see independent movies and you can make a whole bucket list of just things like that. You can also try like indoor rock climbing.

(14:38 - 15:02)
If you're adventurous in that way, that could be an option for you. And instead of just going to dinner, if that feels boring or, uh, where else are we going to go, or even if it is an exciting place, you just feel like it's not exciting enough. Why don't you try out like a mystery dinner where you have dinner and you have to solve a mystery and there's like actors there and they simulate police scenes and things like that.

So it's a little more exciting and fun. And you have to try to guess who did the murder. And I almost think of it as like a real life clue, you know, the game of clue.

You have to try to figure out who did it. That could be a lot of fun. And I was even researching, it's called cozy meals.com. You can learn how to make Japanese Peruvian fusion, and they actually recommend certain types of sake to have.

[15:29 - 16:17] And there are chefs there that teach you how to make the meal. And I'm like, that's pretty unique. If you're looking for things that are reasonably priced and within reach, and it sounds unique and exciting, that might be the way to go.

And I sometimes find these things even equally or more gratifying than like these big trips, because my husband and I say, well, it's a lot of planning. And you have to have your mail go to the post office and you have to really be organized. And I do love traveling.

It's totally worth it, but it can be very draining and you have to plan. So we hope those ideas help you out. So another thing we want to share is sometimes we do shut things down.

[16:17 - 17:34]
If you think, well, I can't do this now, or you're trying to come up with extra money or anything like that. I call it the shutoff valve, you know, when my cousin's a plumber and I'm like, you just shut the whole thing down. You don't have to do that because if you're a little creative and you're willing to fight what I call status quo bias, we always think things are status quo, like there's always ways to cut expenses or make a little extra money or do things a little differently so that you can free up money.

And one thing I came up with is what's called the receipt reference technique. And I was fortunate to share this all over the internet. It's actually on Jean Chatzky's site, hermoney.com. Jean Chatzky did a lot of work on the Today Show as the money person over there.

I was fortunate enough to have that on her site. I also shared that idea with US News and Mommyverse and a few other sites that thought my tip was really useful. And what it is, is basically when you go to the grocery store, you keep your receipt, if you can get a digital copy that's itemized, I don't know if they do that, but it's a way to keep track of what you have, how much it costs and to make sure that you're eating it.

[17:34 - 18:47]
Because when I did research, I found that the average family in the US wastes $1,500 to $2,000 a year just by throwing out their food. So when you're doing that, obviously you have to rebuy new groceries and you're not eating the groceries that you have. So it's like you're throwing money in the garbage can.

So that alone, if you're very careful when you shop and you make sure to eat everything before it expires, maybe you pace yourself, like my husband and I always say, if you buy chopped up fruit, start eating that right away. There's certain things like salad, things that you know, whether it's a couple days, three days, four days, whatever it is, plan your meals by the expiration date and you won't waste as much. So that's something you can incorporate into everyday life.

And Rich, I'm just curious if you have any thoughts about that. Yeah, that's worked well for us, especially now because grocery prices have been increasing steadily over the last few months. So really we are very mindful using your technique, the receipt reference technique, to make sure that we do find that the food that's in our fridge is kind of hidden, but still edible and still good, that we've been specifically eating.

[18:48 - 19:33]
So whether you're having a lunch and you're eating leftover or, or just finishing off something that's there, but it's definitely a way to save money because then you're spending less at the grocery store. So it's worked well for us. Right.

And I even have like a little board on my fridge that I try to plot out breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And even if it's just an outline, it's with a dry erase marker, so I could switch it, but I look at the receipt and I try to plot out what should we eat when, you know, we don't want to throw meat out. You can even cross off what you eat on a receipt and it acts like an audit.

We don't want anything going bad. So that has been extremely effective. And like I said, maybe that $1,500 to $2,000 is all that you need to do whatever it is that you want to do.

[19:33 - 20:28] And another thing is sometimes when you have so many obligations, you also think you're time starved. And that is something that I totally get it. If you're like drinking through a fire hose or you're in a phase of life where maybe you're taking care of kids, elderly parents, or you just have a lot of work obligations, you come home tired.

I totally get that. But I do think whether it's a weekend, an hour after work, whatever it has to be set aside time for yourself. And sometimes it's just setting boundaries with people.

You don't even have to tell them what you're doing, but you just say, I have another commitment and you really owe it to yourself to do something nice or fun. And like I said, I never thought I'd see two of my favorite comedians locally. And it was just such a great time.

[20:29 - 21:33]
It exceeded my expectations and we all need that to enjoy our lives. So one other idea I had was instead of being so specific, because I even had a guest on the show that talked to me afterwards. He's like, Karen, I don't have any ideas.

And I would say, you know what? Start general. We always hear about having very specific goals. And sometimes if you've never done something before, you don't even know what's out there.

So like I said, maybe you say, I want to go on a little cruise or I want to enlarge my photos. So once you have a general idea, you can kind of go granular later, take a simple approach and you can always fill in the details as you go or the more experience you have, you can get more picky or be more specific and you just need to start. Rich, is there something you want to add? Yeah, actually something that we've talked about before that really applies to a variety of things is when, you know, you have limited time.

[21:33 - 22:16]
So let's say you have an appointment coming up, you have a meeting, just something that you have to go to. Let's say it's an hour and you only have a limited amount of time. So for me, when I know I only have 20 minutes, 30 minutes to work out, I just find that those are the best workouts because I don't fiddle around.

I warm up quickly. I do train in our garage. We have a home gym that we've had for about 20 years.

So there's no drive time driving to a gym, but I really just ask myself, okay, what, what are the two or three max exercises that would really help me accomplish my goals for today? I'm gonna help me get closer to my bigger goals. Then I just focus on those. I'm just hyper-focused.

[22:16 - 22:26]
I'm in and out. And like I said, I just have the best workouts as opposed to when you have an unlimited amount of time and you're kind of just taking longer rests. Right.

And if you think in your head, if you keep like a simple rule, what do you want more of in your life and what can you do less of, if that makes sense? So I know that my email is like a jungle. It's just crazy. I'm always getting notifications.

[22:43 - 23:10] Like your email's full. It was so out of control. I'm like, I just don't know how to handle this.

So I just started unsubscribing to almost everything. I followed this girl on YouTube who had this excellent idea. If you have Gmail to make everything hit your inbox, don't use the tabs.

And then you could just delete in the moment. And anything that's unread hits your inbox as well. She even talked about filters.

[23:10 - 23:55] Like, so once you read it, I believe it goes to a filter. When you first hear it, you have to like, listen again. But once I followed her ideas and I set up my email and some of it is tedious, but I'm like, wow, you know, I can't believe I'm getting rid of all these emails in the moment.

And it sounds really silly, but I much rather be doing something else than checking all those emails. I'll put it in the show notes. And anytime I get something that hasn't come to my inbox in a while, if it's a subscription to something, I'm like, nope, I only probably have five things now that I subscribe to.

So think about alternative ways to get that information or anything that's holding back your time. There's always a way to cut back and stay focused. So those are all of our secrets.

[23:56 - 24:46]
We're letting you in on what works for us. And maybe these things will work for you. So thank you so much for tuning in today.

Once again, subscribe. If you get the chance, you can also check out my blog, because if you need an incentive for yourself, get some travel related products, I scanned all over Amazon to find really cool ideas. So my latest blog post is about travel products or products for travelers, I should say.

And, um, that's at Karen cordway.com. Once again, thank you for listening and enjoy the rest of your day. We have arrived at our destination. You can unfasten your seat belts and we'll see you next time for another episode of the everyday bucket list podcast.


Related Episodes

this was originally published on November 18, 2021.