Over the last year, as I was crushing my student loan debt, I lived very frugally. I cut out any and all ‘extra’ spending. If it wasn’t rent, gas or food, I wasn’t paying it! I’ve always been frugal but this was next level. I’m talking total money lockdown.
As anyone who has tried to save money can tell you, saving can put a big dent in your social life. It seems silly, but we pay to hang out with our friends all the time. Dinners out, concerts, travel, movies- they’re all pretty common friend activities and they all cost money. Even just grabbing a drink at a bar or a coffee shop with a friend can turn into a large tab pretty quickly.
While I was more than happy to send my spending habits to the chopping block I didn’t want to sacrifice my friendships to save money. I started taking a more active role in planning activities for my friends and I that were free and afforded us lots of face time. Hanging with friends fo’ free is now my go to move. I love my friends and I want to be able to see them and save money. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive!
Find a Free Event
In my city there’s always something happening. Free music shows, free movie screenings, free museum days. Google ‘free stuff in (your city here)’ let your mind be blown. I’ve gone to free movies, concerts, lectures and museums with friends. There’s always something, somewhere, that will entertain you for free! I suggest looking at certain venues you like too, to see if and when they host free events. One of my favorite bars does trivia on Tuesday nights with no bar minimum. That’s a great way to spend time with friends and save yourself cash. Your friends have the option of getting themselves a drink and you can soak up time with them.
Take it Outside
The great outdoors is great for many reasons but one of the best ones in my opinion is because it’s free! I’m a big hiker and that’s a great way to hang with friends without putting pressure on your wallet. Take your friends to a local park or forest and have a nature day. You don’t have to be Bear Grylls to have an adventure in nature. In the summertime look for a swimming hole or a lake to jump in after you work up a sweat. In the fall take in the change of seasons with a walk in the woods. I like getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and quieting down in nature with some friends- it’s one of my go to activities!
Have a Craft Night
This is my personal spin on the much lauded game night. I have several friends who have hobbies along the lines of knitting, sewing, designing and drawing. I like to get the gang together with a few drinks and some tunes and get creative! Everyone brings their own supplies and we each work on our own projects. It’s wonderful to see how awesomely skilled your friends are and the things they can create. It’s also great to get feedback on a creative roadblock you might have run into with your own work. I like this hang night because it gets us away from sitting in front of screens as well. I know most of my friends spend all day in front of a computer so it’s nice to give our eyes and brains a break!
This is one of my favorite hang outs. As part of my frugal lockdown I stopped spending money on clothes. A clothing swap is a great way to see friends, meet new people and pick up new duds! Ask a few friends to come over with clothes they haven’t worn in a few months. (The more people you invite the more clothes you’ll have!) This is always such a fun event because it turns into a fashion show!
You’ll get rid of some clothes you’re not wearing anyway and pick up new items that you’re excited about fo’ free!
Knowing how to hang with friends for free is not hard to do. It might require a shift in your mindset but there are almost endless options out there. Movie nights, wine and cheese nights, at home brunches, bike rides…you just have to pick one!