Spending time with friends is, in and of itself, a great way to pass the time without spending a lot of money. But if you and your friends are used to going out to clubs, pubs or eateries together as your way of hanging out, then you can change it up a bit and save some money too. No matter where you live, there are plenty of places to go and do fun things that don't cost a lot.
If you are having trouble convincing your friends to do things on the cheap, then be upfront with them. Tell them straight out that you can't spend that kind of money right now — and don't let them pay for you either. But here are some great alternatives you can offer.
1. A potluck dinner party. Host a dinner party and ask everyone to bring a dish to share. If you are not comfortable with cooking, maybe try and learn how to cook a new dish together with your friends.
2. Host a spa day. Give each other manicures. Try out new hairstyles. Make some facial masks or exfoliates using natural, at-home ingredients. Then drink mimosas.
3. Movie marathon. Log into Netflix and watch every episode of "Orange is the New Black." Or do an '80s movie marathon, watching "Pretty in Pink," "The Breakfast Club" and all of our old favorites. Don't have a Netflix membership? Get the free trial just for the marathon!
4. Pinterest party! You know all of those cool Pinterest crafts you say you're going to do? Do them. At home one night with friends. Then make up some of those bacon-wrapped whatevers you've been dying to try!
5. Go to the park. Pack a picnic. Hang out. Watch people. Play on the swings.
6. Have an organization party. Set up a day of each weekend where you go to each of your friends' houses and help them clean out a closet, a room, a garage, whatever. Serve drinks and food and trade stuff among yourselves.
7. Hold a yard sale. After all of that cleaning, why not hang out together and make some extra cash too?
8. Concerts in the park. All summer long, many parks host free concerts. Go with your friends. Hang out, bring a picnic dinner. This is a very relaxing way to chill out on a hot summer night after work.
9. Volunteer together. Offer to do the yard work for the local senior center or hang out with the kids at the YMCA. After a few hours of volunteering together, you will have new respect for each other and something new to chat about.
10. Play board games. Drag out the Scrabble or the Yahtzee. You can hang out and play all sorts of games with large groups or small ones. Hold a tournament and compete against each other.
11. Video game tournament. Not into board games? OK. Well, how about a video game tournament? Whether it's the latest dancing game or "Call of Duty," play against each other and award prizes (or food) to the winners.
12. Grab a ball and a bat and go play baseball at the local park. Grab a basketball or a tennis racket. Most parks have courts and fields you can use for free as long as there isn't an organized event going on.
13. Go to the school play. This might cost a little for admission, but it's a great way to support your community and have a fun time.
14. Iron Chef night. Bring your friends over and have an Iron Chef night where you cook dinner out of only the items in your pantry. No buying anything!
15. Go dumpster diving. Yup. I said it. Check out the dumpsters in your area and see what you can find. You might even find dinner! Here are some tips for respectful diving.
16. Go to yard sales. Take all that money you made at your yard sale and cruise around your town together looking for cool stuff. Maybe you could even fix something up and resell it.
17. Go fishing.
18. Go camping.
19. Find some cool trails around your town and go hiking.
20. Get out the bikes and bike everywhere for a weekend.
21. Dig out the old croquet set — or borrow your Mom's — and play croquet. Do it! Totally fun.
22. Swap movies and music. Have everyone bring over a box of old movies and CDs they don't want anymore — or don't watch anymore. Then swap with abandon.
23. Go on a walking tour of your town. Most towns or cities have a historic district. Find out if there is a walking tour available. If not, make one up!
24. Scavenger hunt. Put your friends to the test — yes, this is for grown-ups — to find different things in your city…like a certain bike rack, a vintage sign, that sort of thing. The winner gets a dinner cooked by the losers.
25. Find out when the free days are at your local museum or zoo. Most have them and they can be great fun to visit with friends.
26. Hold a quilting bee. No, you don't have to be fancy — or old — for this. Grab some old T-shirts that you love, old jeans, whatever. Cut them into squares and sew them together. Who knows? Maybe it will become a regular thing?
27. Go to Open Mic night. Your town is likely harboring some great talent at an open mic night that has no cover and cheap drinks!
28. Go to a religious service. Even if you're not religious, going to a service in an unfamiliar religion can be enlightening and a great way to meet new people.
29. Find a swimming hole. Head to the old town swimming hole — or find a new one. What a great way to spend a lazy afternoon with friends.
30. Start a book club, card club (canasta anyone?), sewing club or scrapbooking club. Something you and your friends like. My parents used to belong to a cooking club where once a month all of their friends gathered at one house and the host family cooked a meal from a different country. I learned a lot about food that year.
How do you hang with your friends without spending a lot of money? Let us know!
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