When you’re keeping a close eye on your finances, it can be difficult to find ways to have fun without spending money. It’s easy to stick to the budget by staying home and doing nothing, but no one can live like that day-in and day-out. You have to have fun sometimes!
Getting together with friends is a great way to blow off the steam and stresses that come with a busy lifestyle. The added bond of having a tribe of like-minded sisters to laugh or cry with can do wonders to elevate your mental health and self-care.
In short, spending quality time with friends makes you feel better about yourself and happier in general.
Unfortunately, most social events aren’t cheap. Going out for dinner or drinks, to a concert or movie, or hitting the mall for a shopping day can have a big impact on your budget. So, how can you plan a get-together with friends without ruining your budget?
How to have fun without spending money
The most important thing to remember is it’s about the time, not the money, you spend. You spend time with friends because you enjoy seeing and talking to them! Margaritas at the local Mexican restaurant are great, but they aren’t your reason for going out. You go out with friends to see your friends. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as you’re doing it together.
There are plenty of ways you can get creative about scheduling time to hang with your tribe for free:
Attend a fitness class, take a walk, or go for a hike
No matter where you live, odds are you’re near a park or a walking or hiking trail. Many high schools and universities have tracks open for public use, or you can simply walk around your neighborhood. Check with your local library or parks & recreation department to see if they offer free fitness classes.
If you have friends who are also budget-conscious, one of the best ways to have fun without spending money is to host a swap party. Instruct your friends to bring a few articles of clothing, jewelry, or other accessories that are in good condition but that they simply don’t use. Set out some snacks and drinks and let the swapping begin! Everyone walks away with something that’s new to them without having to spend a dime. You can also try this with other things, like books, DVDs, children’s toys, or home decor.
Starting up a book club with friends is a great way to schedule a regular time for you to see each other. Pick older books that would be easy to find at the library or in an e-reading app like Hoopla or Cloud Library, meet monthly, and take turns hosting or providing snacks. It’s okay if you end up not talking about the book very much! Remember, what matters is that you’re together.
Attend a class at the library
Many local libraries offer free classes that are actually really fun. You and your friends can learn everything from jewelry making to self-defense to belly dancing, completely free.
You don’t need to go to an expensive day spa to get the same relaxing, pampering effect. Invite your friends over and tell them to bring any at-home spa products they have, like face masks, scrubs, or lotions. Put on some chill music, set all the products out and let everyone try what they want.
You can also make pampering products using things you already have at home. For instance, mixing a little table sugar, coconut oil, and lavender oil makes a great body scrub!
Don’t forget to set out some water infused with fruit or cucumber slices for that extra spa effect.
This is an easy one that you could really get creative with! Invite the girls over to watch that latest Netflix offering you’re all dying to see, or pull out that fave DVD from back in the day (Mean Girls, anyone?). Pop some popcorn or create themed snacks that go with the film. You could even have everyone dress up as their favorite character or organize a trivia game. Make it special, and you won’t believe how much fun you can have without spending a cent.
Recipe exchange / Potluck
We all get sick of eating the same meals day after day, especially when we’re on a budget. Instead of pining for the golden days when you could eat out whenever you wanted, organize a potluck where you can exchange new recipes with your friends.
Decide on a theme: Indian foods? Brunch foods? Foods that start with ‘T’? The possibilities are endless. Have each of your friends bring a dish that matches the theme, along with several copies of the recipe for that dish. Everyone gets a delicious meal, some good conversation and laughs, and a few new recipes to add to their rotation.
Like movie night, this is a classic that you can dress up however you want. The concept is simple enough: play games with your friends! But you could easily come up with some snacks and drinks that go with the theme of your game, and you could make a trophy for the winner out of just about anything: the crazier, the better.
Remember, when it comes to being with your friends, it doesn’t really matter what you do or how much you spend. What matters is you’re spending time together. You may find that having to be creative about your budget actually makes your time with friends even more fun and memorable than it was before.
What are your favorite inexpensive ways to hang with your friends? Tell me in the comments! Please share this post on Facebook or Pinterest if you enjoyed it, and don’t forget to sign up for e-mails for even more ways to save money.