7 Productive Alternatives to Playing Video Games In Your Free Time

Video games are an international and national obsession. In fact, 63% of American households have at least one family member that plays at least three hours a day. While video games might be replacing the decades-long habit of watching cable tv, these alternatives to playing video games can be a better use of time. After all, is having the high score in the latest game going to teach you life skills or give you a pay raise? Unless you’re a professional game tester, probably not.

How To Become a Millionaire

Do you want to be a millionaire? It probably won’t happen if you play video games all evening after you get home from work or school.

In fact, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs limited screen time for their own children! You would never guess that two of the most successful tech company CEOs would limit the personal use of their own devices, but they did.

The Best Alternatives to Playing Video Games

Video games are fun and entertaining, but you might be missing out on improving your quality of life. To help you find some inspiration to do life differently, try out a few of these suggestions:

1. Start a Side Hustle

Side hustles are a very broad topic, but they all have the same end goal: make money in your free time. Whether you do online surveys, freelance writing, design graphics, mow lawns, or donate plasma, you can earn a few extra dollars that can be used for these future expenses:

You might realize that you like your side hustle hobby just as much (or more) than video games. You’ll keep your mind mentally active and get richer in the process!

2. Read Great Books

The average corporate CEO reads four or five books every month!

How many books does the average American read each year? Five or fewer books.

While reading books won’t make you an automatic millionaire, there is a correlation between reading great books and applying these lessons to your daily life. Many company CEOs don’t reach that position by chance, it’s a career of dedication at work and at home.

3. Learn a New Skill

You don’t have to go back to school and earn a graduate degree for this suggestion. There are many free and affordable ways to invest in yourself without going into debt. Two online learning platforms to consider are Udemy and LinkedIn’s Lynda.

These skills can help you learn a new professional skill to help you finally get that promotion. Or, maybe you want to restart a hobby that you enjoyed in high school like art, photography, woodworking, working on cars or repairing small engines.

You never know what doors of opportunity these newfound skills will open in the future!

These are a few other skills or hobbies you might consider:

  • Coding
  • Graphic Design
  • Playing board games
  • Playing card games
  • Cooking

4. Go Outdoors and Be Active

Video games might stimulate the mind and give your thumbs a workout, but the rest of your body is morphing into a couch potato. While you don’t have to become a professional body lifter or a marathon runner, you can enjoy the great outdoors and remain physically active.

5. Learn How to Invest

Most of the previous recommendations have focused on making active income where you get only paid for the work you actually do. This video game alternative focuses on earning passive income that lets you “make money while you sleep.”

If you have money in a savings account, you already earn some form of passive income via bank interest. With an online high-yield savings account, your deposits earn roughly 1% or more each year. So, every $1,000 in your savings account earns $10 annually.

While any passive income is good, you can earn more by investing in real estate or the stock market. Yes, these platforms are riskier but the potential upside is higher too. If you want to retire on-time, investing and earning 6%+ annually is your most logical solution.

6. Make a Plan to Get Out of Debt

Maybe you play video games to escape reality. If you’re trying to forget your paycheck to paycheck lifestyle for a little bit, making a plan to get out of debt is a better long-term solution.


You’re making a plan for a better tomorrow and brighter future where you don’t have to worry about making ends meet.

While the process isn’t rosy, being debt-free is an awesome accomplishment as you don’t have to wonder if you’ll have enough money this month to pay the bills. It can also mean finally being able to change to a less stressful job or career. Although you won’t make as much money as before, you don’t have to because your monthly expenses are lower. And, you have more free time.

7. Rekindle Friendships

Although you might play online against your friends in video game matches, screen time doesn’t replace face time. There’s still something about hanging out with friends in person instead of communicating by text, Facebook message, or video game chat.

While you and the gang can still have game night at one of your houses, be intentional about having fun without constantly staring at a computer screen. It’ll be weird at first, but somehow humanity got by for millennia before the television, computers, and video game systems were invented.


Video games are exciting and have endless possibilities, but they have a minimal positive impact on improving your quality of life. If you’re serious about changing your life for the better, whether it’s making more money, getting out of debt, or improving your social life, these seven alternatives are an excellent starting point when you want to break the video game habit!

Disclosure: The information provided by The Financial Genie is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with an attorney or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs. The Financial Genie does not make any guarantee or other promise as to any results that may be obtained from using our content. No one should make any investment decision without first consulting his or her own financial advisor and conducting his or her own research and due diligence. Additionally, some of the organizations with products on our site may pay us a referral fee or affiliate commission when you click to apply for those products.

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