Setting up a TINC node
Since this is more for none-physical stuff (you mentioned money..), you must have a look at the unlimited source of awesome things to set up. IRC node, NTP server, Caching server for a highsite you have access to - allowing the wikis and http to load faster, having a look through the whole of ptawug's setup (message me and I'll give you the username and password for ptawug ptawug read-only account on all highsites. You can't do any damage with this account so you don't need to worry - you get to see how unique (not always a good thing) the sites are and the designs of each. We use BGP for our network and OSPF for internal highsite routing, which is quite different to CTWUG - having some knowledge over BGP is quite essential.
Then there comes the most fun: IPv6 - set it up across your house, across wug sites (through 6to4 tunnels. Don't change the wug without permission, use what you have access to and may use!). Have a look at tunnelbroker.net for some info and start doing those certifications. It will probably take under 30 minutes but you'll start realizing how important IPv6 is to the future of the internet.
Then go to every single forum post that has recommendations or requests, and do that - if somebody wanted a better link between X and Y, see if you can help on a software side by asking for details (after you have proven to staff you know what you are doing ofc.. and up to them) and fixing it. You can also virtualize a mikrotik router on a virtual machine (free l6 license for 24 hours), and finally - if your router supports it, have a look at metarouters and have some fun.
I can think of a LOT more things, but this is just the 4 minutes I spent typing.