101 Bucket List Ideas to Live Your Happiest, Richest Life

Taking these small steps will ensure you don’t miss out on everything life has to offer.
Last updated May 27, 2021 | By Lindsay Frankel
Happy couple at park

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Whether you’re a recent grad or you’re coming to the end of your career, life has plenty more to offer that you have yet to experience. There are new people to meet, new places to see, and ways to succeed that you may have never thought possible. But to get the most out of life, you need to take a proactive approach. Making moves to boost your finances and learn how to manage your money as well as improve your health and relationships can lead to a better future for you and your family.

So where should you start? To give you some inspiration, we’ve rounded up 101 of our best bucket list ideas for enhancing your life. Don’t try to tackle them all at once, but do generate your own list of what’s most important to you, and check off items as you go.

In this article

Bucket list ideas for your career

  1. Do the hardest thing first. Mark Twain once said that if you start off your day eating a live frog, you can finish it knowing the worst is behind you. If you tackle the worst task of your workday first thing in the morning, you’ll reduce procrastination and gain momentum. Pick something important that you’re likely to procrastinate on.
  2. Ask for a raise. It’s true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you’re due for a raise, demonstrate your value to your employer with evidence of your success, and ask to be paid what you’re worth.
  3. Ask for a promotion. But before you ask, see whether you can voluntarily take on some of the responsibilities of the new position so you can demonstrate your success in the new role. Also consider preparing a presentation with metrics to show how your promotion could impact the organization.
  4. Pick up a side hustle. Need a little extra income? The best side hustles allow you to flexibly set your own schedule and keep your full-time job. If you pick something that interests you, it might not even feel like work. Plus, there’s a chance it could grow into a full-time venture that you’re more passionate about.
  5. Be a mentor. It’s often said that teaching someone is the best way to learn something yourself. Choosing to be a mentor will not only make a meaningful difference in someone else’s career, but it also might help you grow your own career.
  6. Regularly learn new skills. Choose a new skill to learn monthly or annually, depending on how much time it’ll take to master. You can ask your employer to help with your education or take advantage of the many free online education sites to pick up new skills.
  7. Learn a new language. In some fields, learning a new language can help you be more successful and even earn you a raise. Learning a new language also may allow you to live and work in another country should you choose to do so one day.
  8. Stand out. Do something above and beyond that will help you grow while gaining recognition within your organization. You might take on a side project, make a suggestion for process improvement, or introduce a new workflow idea that other employees will benefit from.
  9. Take advantage of your benefits. You work hard, and you deserve breaks from time to time. Make an effort to use all of your vacation days each year. Research shows that time away from work can improve your physical and mental health.
  10. Achieve a healthy work-life balance. If you’re bringing work home every night, take steps to keep your work life separate from your personal time. Some people have separate laptops for work and home, and remote workers can use a co-working space or set up a home office to make clear the distinction between work and home life.
  11. Advertise your experience. You may want to market yourself as a freelancer on sites like Upwork, Fiverr, or your own website or social media pages. Put together an impressive portfolio, write about your skills and experiences, and get professional photos. This could lead to new opportunities outside your current job.
  12. Update your resume. If it’s been a while since you’ve refreshed your resume, you should probably give it a rewrite. Add any new skills, qualifications, or experience you may have gained. You might even want to consult a resume professional.
  13. Get more credentials. If you work in a field with credentialing opportunities, don’t hesitate to work toward new qualifications that will advance your career.
  14. Network. Start following experts in your field on social media; reach out to potential mentors in your workplace; and aim to expand your network on LinkedIn.
  15. Talk to a career counselor. A career coach can help you plan your career, build your resume, and much more. This can be especially helpful if you’re switching career paths.
  16. Work towards your dream job. Spend a little free time each week setting goals, acquiring skills, and maybe even getting some unpaid experience doing the job you’ve always dreamed of.
  17. Create an online course to share your expertise. Help newbies in your field and add this to your growing list of how to make extra cash.
  18. Work remotely and travel. Make it a goal to find a position that allows you to experience the remote work lifestyle. Knock out some of your travel bucket list items while you earn a salary.

Bucket list ideas for your finances

  1. Save 20% (or more) for retirement. Most experts recommend that you save at least 15% of your pre-tax income for retirement, including any employer contributions. If you aim to increase that amount to 20%, you’ll be well-prepared when you reach retirement age, and may even have the option of early retirement.
  2. Pay off your debt. Debt can drive down your credit score and cause you a ton of unnecessary stress. Reevaluate your budget to make more room for debt repayment, and choose a strategy such as the debt avalanche method or take advantage of a balance transfer credit card offer.
  3. Build your credit. You can improve your credit score in as few as 30 days by making on-time payments, lowering your credit utilization ratio (either by paying down debt or increasing your credit limit), or becoming an authorized user, among other strategies. Also, make sure to check your credit report and score regularly so you can catch errors and see where you stand.
  4. Apply for a rewards card and start earning. If you can use credit cards responsibly, you can rack up a ton of extra cash each year just for your regular spending. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers premium travel perks like a $300 annual travel credit, bonus points on travel and dining, and airport lounge access. Or, if you prefer cash back, you might consider the Citi Double Cash Card, which offers cashback rewards for your everyday purchases.

    Earn Cash Back Twice

    Citi Double Cash Card

    Citi Double Cash Card

    Citi Double Cash Card

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Rewards Rate

    up to 2% cash back

    Benefits and Drawbacks

    Benefits

    • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
    • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
    • No annual fee

    Drawbacks

    • Foreign transaction fee
    • No sign-up bonus
    Card Details
    • Earn cash back twice: 1% when you buy + 1% when you pay
    • up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay
    • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 18 months then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable)

  5. Create an emergency fund. Job loss, income cuts, and unexpected expenses can happen to anyone at any time. It is generally advised that you save three to six months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund so you’ll be prepared.
  6. Start investing. If you want to grow your money, your best bet is to start investing. Aim for a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and alternative investments. Some investment platforms, like Stash, allow you to invest as little as $5, but committing to more than could potentially yield better returns.

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  7. Draft your will. It’ll be important to have your affairs in order, including what will happen with your assets and property, and who will take guardianship over your children. Depending on your financial situation, you may not need to consult with a lawyer; it may be sufficient to draft your will for free online.
  8. Lower your bills. Wherever you can, find ways to put money back in your pocket. That includes negotiating discounts with your service providers, canceling unused subscriptions, and comparing insurance rates to find the lowest premium. An app like Truebill can do most of the work for you. Read our Truebill review to find out more.

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  9. Earn passive income. There are ways to earn extra money with only a small time investment. You might rent out your spare room, rent ad space on your car, create a blog or online course, or invest in parking spots or music royalties. See how to earn passive income for more ideas.
  10. Track your spending. If you want to save, you’ll need to first identify how much you’re spending in various categories. Use an app like Mint or Dollarbird to help you accomplish this.
  11. Create a budget. Add up your income. After subtracting monthly bills like rent, look at your purchases for the past few months and decide what was necessary. Calculate the average spent on necessary expenses in each category. Set your budget.
  12. Buy a house. Owning a house is a financial accomplishment that may eventually free up more of your income once you’ve built enough equity. It could also save you money when compared to renting.
  13. Buy life insurance. We promise life insurance is less costly and more convenient than it used to be, and it’s the best way to protect your family in the event of your untimely death. Read our Bestow Life Insurance review to find out how you can get an affordable policy in minutes.

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  14. Make a donation. If you’ve got your bases covered, like a retirement account and a stocked emergency fund, it can feel great to donate either a one-time or recurring donation to the charity of your choice.
  15. Plan an annual spending freeze. Don’t buy anything except for essentials for one month out of the year. You’ll be surprised how much you can save.
  16. Work with a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you achieve your financial goals by looking at your individual situation and making recommendations for how to grow your wealth.

Bucket list items to fuel your creativity

  1. Pick a new hobby. Learn to play a musical instrument, get into art or design, work with your hands, or find something else that interests you on Discoverahobby.com. Consider picking something that feels distinctly different from your 9-to-5 job.
  2. Plan and plant a garden. Some people find gardening to be relaxing and inspiring. As an added bonus, you can choose to plant herbs or vegetables that will serve you well in your recipes.
  3. Make up a game for your family. If you and the kids are getting sick of playing Monopoly, consider inventing something unique to your family that you can all enjoy playing.
  4. Write a letter to someone new each month. In an age where we’re all inundated with emails, putting pen to paper and writing a thoughtful note can feel like a nice departure. Plus, your friends and family will appreciate your taking the time to write to them.
  5. Create a new recipe. It could be as simple as microwaving a bowl of chocolate and peanut butter or as complex as a souffle. Experiment with different versions until you get the flavor you’re after.
  6. Write a story about your life. It can be both therapeutic and creatively inspiring to look back on your past and write about your most memorable moments. If you’ve got a knack for writing, you may even hope to be published one day.
  7. Walk in nature. Visit a park or trail that’s sure to give you plenty of moments of natural beauty. Take pictures, write notes, or sketch what catches your eye.
  8. Go to an open mic night. It can be inspiring just to watch other people play their music, read their writing, or perform their comedy routines. If you feel confident, you can also share your creative work with others.
  9. Keep a journal or dream diary. Daily writing practice and dream recall are both ways to enhance your creativity. Try journaling your stream of consciousness, or check out some writing prompts to get you started. And record everything you can about your dreams when you wake up. This could lead to creative ideas later on.
  10. Play video games. Studies show that children and adults who play video games are more creative in work and school. That’s true regardless of the type of game. Video games are shown to increase your cognitive functioning as well.
  11. Attend a dance class. Dance is a creative way to express yourself and get outside of your comfort zone. You might choose salsa, swing, modern, ballet, or even a cardio-focused dance workout class.
  12. Solve an escape room. Tough puzzles force you to think outside the box, enhancing your creativity.
  13. Write a song. Even if you don’t play an instrument, use an app to generate the sounds for you, and write the lyrics yourself. You can easily “play” instruments with the GarageBand app on your iPhone.
  14. Wear something fun. Step outside your comfort zone and wear something you would never wear.
  15. Read a book every week for a year. Reading boosts your imagination, which encourages creativity and innovation.
  16. Follow inspiring creatives. Discover your favorite artists, musicians, and creators, and follow them on social media. Look to them for inspiration.
  17. Start a collaborative project. Brainstorming can foster creativity. Get together with some other creatives and come up with a new art, music, or writing project to work on together.

Bucket list ideas for your health

  1. Set goals (and hold yourself accountable). Whether you want to increase your vegetable intake or improve your fitness, it’s important to have a goal in mind and monitor your progress. Try keeping a food diary or creating a workout plan with a friend.
  2. Get up and move regularly. Even people who exercise face health risks if they otherwise spend their day seated. A standing desk can improve your overall health, as can regular movement breaks. Consider walking, biking, or running a few times a week to stay active.
  3. Run a 10K. Or, start with a 5K. Or, if you’re ready, run a marathon. Wherever you’re at with your current fitness level, participating in an athletic event can give you the motivation you need to reach your fitness goals.
  4. Practice self-care. Self-care activities can reduce anxiety and boost your mood. Pick something you enjoy that will revive you. It could be a bubble bath, a walk in the park, a midday nap, or a meditation session.
  5. Take a yoga class. Yoga can decrease inflammation, stress, and pain while improving your sleep, cardiovascular health, breathing, and metabolism. If you’re ready to try yoga but nervous to attend a class in-person, check out Yoga with Adriene on YouTube.
  6. Get enough sleep. Most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep per night, depending on the individual. Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on more than just your energy; it can reduce your mental capabilities and negatively impact your mood. Sufficient sleep, on the other hand, can improve the health of your brain, heart, and immune system.
  7. Drink enough water. How much water you need will vary based on how much exercise you get, where you live, and your current health. It is recommended that men get 3.7 liters of fluids every day and women get 2.7 liters, but this includes fluid intake from food. For most people, eight glasses a day is a good goal. If you find yourself getting thirsty during the day, you’re probably not drinking enough.
  8. Learn and practice a new sport. Although providing you with the benefits of physical exercise, playing a sport can also enhance your social skills, reduce your stress, and improve your mood. Pick something you’ll have fun with and consider joining a local team. Or, if you've always wanted to try something unique like archery or scuba diving, why not look into opportunities nearby?
  9. Try high-intensity interval training. If you want to get great results in a short period of time, try HIIT training. It involves short periods of intense cardio followed by brief recoveries. When compared to steady-state exercise like jogging, it’s especially effective at burning fat, improving your mental health, and enhancing your heart health.
  10. Meditate. There are numerous benefits to taking the time to empty your mind, including decreased blood pressure, reduced pain, better sleep, and a longer attention span. If you need a little help relaxing and focusing on your breathing, check out guided meditations from UCLA Health.
  11. Pay attention to your nutrition. Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables? Are you eating too much sugar? Evaluate your diet and set small objectives to change it over time.
  12. Try a clean-eating plan for one month. Try eating only what your body needs for a month and cutting out the junk. The Whole30 plan is a great way to do that.
  13. Volunteer. Volunteering can help reduce stress and prevent depression. Plus, you’ll be helping to make the world a better place.
  14. Attend a support group. If you’re going through a difficult time, talking to others with similar experiences can help maintain your mental health.
  15. Adopt or foster a pet. Having a pet reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and it also motivates people to exercise and socialize. You’ll get a daily cuteness overload and you’ll help rescue a pet from a worse fate.
  16. Reduce your resting heart rate. A low resting heart rate is indicative of your overall health. One study found a higher mortality rate for people with a resting heart rate of more than 70 beats per minute. To lower your resting heart rate, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, take the time to relax, and quit smoking.
  17. Put a bad habit to rest each year. Maybe it’s cutting back on alcohol, or working on eliminating your negative self-talk. Pick something that’s holding you back, and focus on axing the habit over time.

Bucket list items for your relationship

  1. Make a new friend. Making friends as an adult can be a challenge, but meeting the right person could expand your horizons. Just as there are apps for dating, there are apps for making new friends. You can also check out local meetups, befriend a coworker, or get to know someone in your extended circle a little better.
  2. Call an old friend. If there’s someone you’ve lost touch with, consider reaching out to them. You might find that you still have a lot in common, or you both may have changed in similar ways.
  3. Ask your grandparents to tell you a story about their life. Older folks have lived through a lot, and they usually have some pretty fascinating stories to tell. What’s more, loneliness among seniors can be a problem, and you’ll be giving your grandparents a chance to engage with you.
  4. Cook a new recipe as a family each week. Cooking together can strengthen family bonds. Pick a recipe, divide up the work, and enjoy the meal around the table together.
  5. Plan a family staycation. If you’re avoiding traveling due to the COVID-19 pandemic or your finances, you can still set aside time to unwind with your family. You might schedule outdoor activities, play board games, or set up an at-home spa.
  6. Take your parents out for dinner. Your parents diapered you for years, so the least you could do is buy them a meal as an adult. It’ll give you a chance to reconnect.
  7. Schedule device-free time each day. Too much screen time can disrupt your sleep and replace other activities that are healthier and more productive. It can also impede upon your relationships if you spend too much time with your nose in your phone. Try keeping screens out of the bedroom and put them out of sight when you’re eating with your family.
  8. Start a club. If you have a hobby that you’re passionate about, starting a club, group, or regular meetup event can be a great way to meet like-minded people. Whether it’s a book club, a knitting circle, a wine tasting crew, or something else entirely, that shared activity can make a big difference in your social life.
  9. Discover your love language. The “Five Love Languages” quiz helps couples identify differences in the way they express their love. Many people believe this knowledge leads to better communication and conflict resolution.
  10. See a therapist. We get checkups for our physical health, but many people never address their mental health. If you’re struggling with something in your personal life, seeing a therapist or counselor may help.
  11. Host a movie night. Watching a film with your friends is an easy and cheap way to bond over an experience. If you make it a regular thing, each attendee can rate each film, and you can pick a winner (or host an entire awards ceremony of your making) after several months.
  12. Start a band. You don’t need to be a talented musician to have fun playing in a band. Get a group together with good rock ’n’ roll energy and practice some songs for fun.
  13. Meet the neighbors. Surprise new neighbors with a welcome card or bottle of wine. Or if you’re new to the neighborhood, invite your neighbors to your housewarming party.
  14. Express your gratitude. Make sure the people in your life know you are grateful for them. Aim for as many daily acts of kindness as possible and always thank your loved ones when they do something for you.
  15. Host a traveler. You might rent out your spare room or host a traveler for free via Couchsurfing. This can be a great way to make new friends from different backgrounds.
  16. Ask a coworker to lunch. Maybe there’s someone in another department who you rarely get to talk to. Take the time to get to know someone you work with. It may even help with your career.
  17. Plan play dates for your kids (or fur babies). Making social time for kids or pets means the parents get to socialize as well. While your kids are having a tea party or your dogs are chasing each other in circles, catch up with or get to know the other parents.

Travel bucket list ideas

  1. Plan visits to your top destinations. Always wanted to see the Grand Canyon, the canals of Venice, Great Barrier Reef, the Statue of Liberty in New York, or the Great Pyramid of Giza? There aren’t enough years in our short lives to see everything the world has to offer. Decide what destinations are important to you and start roughly planning when you’ll visit each one.
  2. Travel (for free or cheap) with credit card rewards. You can easily rack up enough points for a free flight from your everyday spending — and a welcome bonus can get you there even faster. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s welcome bonus alone can help you save hundreds on airfare.

    New, Higher Sign Up Bonus - Worth $1250 Toward Travel

    Intro Offer

    100,000 points

    Annual Fee

    $95

    Rewards Rate

    up to 5X points

    Benefits and Drawbacks

    Benefits

    • Best offer ever! 100,000 point sign-up bonus
    • 5X points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
    • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
    • Premium travel protection benefits

    Drawbacks

    • Has annual fee
    • Typically need to spend thousands to reap rewards
    Card Details
    • Earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
    • 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases
  3. Take a road trip across the U.S. There’s something extra special about taking the time to make your way across the country. You may even want to rent an RV to make camping along the way a little easier. Make sure you pack these road trip essentials.
  4. Visit all 50 states. Make a list of the states you have yet to visit and find an event or attraction you’d like to see there. There are amazing state parks in all 50 states, so if you’re a nature lover, you can start there. You should be able to knock out quite a few states during a cross-country road trip, but not Hawaii. Trust us, Hawaii needs to be on your list.
  5. Visit 50-plus countries. Want to visit Australia, Chile, Greece, Indonesia, New Zealand, Scotland, or Spain? Set a goal for how many stamps you want in your passport, and aim to achieve it. It’s easy and cheap to fly between countries while you’re in Europe, so plan to visit several each time you travel overseas.
  6. Visit 25 national or state parks. There’s so much natural beauty accessible to you in our country’s many parks. If you enjoy camping and hiking, you may want to set an even more ambitious goal. Not sure which to visit first? Check out these national parks without crowds.
  7. Fly first class (preferably with airline miles!) Flying first class entitles you to airport lounge access, a free alcoholic beverage on the plane, more comfortable seating and extra legroom, and so much more. But it’ll cost you an arm and a leg, unless you use points. Learn how you can fly first class with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  8. Stay in an overwater bungalow or treehouse. Imagine waking up to 360-degree views of the pristine ocean. You may even be able to stay in an overwater bungalow with points. Or feel like a kid again and sleep in a treehouse secluded in nature.
  9. Take a hot air balloon ride. Next time you travel somewhere you’d love to see from above, consider exploring via a hot air balloon.
  10. See the seven wonders of the world. A global poll determined that these locations are the most wondrous:
    • The Great Wall of China, China
    • Chichén Itzá, Mexico
    • Petra, Jordan
    • Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru
    • Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    • Colosseum, Rome, Italy
    • Taj Mahal, Agra, India
  11. Eat pizza in Italy. You haven’t really had pizza until you’ve eaten it in Italy. As you travel, try the local cuisine.
  12. Climb to the top of 10 mountains. Some of the most extraordinary views are waiting for you when you summit a peak.
  13. Visit 25 UNESCO World Heritage sites. These extraordinary sites are legally protected due to their “outstanding universal value.” There are more than 1,000 to choose from around the world, including plenty close to home in the United States and Canada.
  14. Step foot on the best beaches. Fiji, Maldives, Bora Bora, Tahiti, Maui — these are just some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Go soak up the sun and feel the sand between your toes.
  15. Sleep in an igloo. You won’t freeze. There are plenty of ice hotels and igloos with modern amenities that are as cozy as they are unique. You'll only need to go as far as Alaska, and who knows, maybe you'll even see the Northern Lights while you're there?
  16. Go to a music festival in another country. You’ll get the chance to hear local acts you might otherwise never discover.

The bottom line on your bucket list

Ultimately, your own bucket list will be unique to your goals and dreams. Create a list that includes more specific goals, such as travel destinations you want to visit, relationship issues you want to address, adjustments based on your financial situation, and other ideas that directly address your needs.

We hope this list inspires you to come up with your own ideas and that you continue to add to your list as you develop new goals. Creating a bucket list is a great way to narrow down what’s most important to you so you can lead a more fulfilling life.

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Author Details

Lindsay Frankel Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based freelance writer who specializes in credit cards, travel, budgeting/saving, and shopping. She has been featured in several finance publications, including LendingTree. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors, playing music, or cuddling with her rescue pup.