Maintaining a flourishing and lively social life might seem near impossible on a budget, but it’s nothing a little imagination, creativity and open-mindedness can’t fix. Especially now that I’m living in a new city and I’m not working full time, but still want to exist in society! Below are budget-friendly and social ideas to inspire your next gathering.
The Great Outdoors
Spending time outdoors with friends is an inexpensive way to get together while enjoying nature and getting active. Explore the local hiking trails looking for waterfalls, swimming holes, panoramic views and unique wildlife. If you and your friends want to enjoy nature in a more laid back manner, picnics are a great way to get together. Pack a huge blanket, food, drinks, Frisbee, football, and a portable speaker to listen to your favorite music while lounging around and enjoy each other’s company. Picnic at the beach to get some sun and take advantage of activities the ocean offers, like swimming and body surfing. When spending time outdoors stay hydrated, apply sunscreen and protect your eyes with high-quality sunglasses.
Museums and Art Galleries
If you’re looking to soak up culture and history, a night at the museum or a visit to an art gallery are affordable options. Start by checking your local community events calendar for museums that offer discounts or even free admission on certain days. Most art galleries are donation based or offer discounted entrance fees if you’re a student, teacher or in the military. If you’re looking to get dressed up, sip on wine and be art critics for the night, visit a gallery on opening night for a new experience.
Spicing Up a Night In
Spice up the night-in with your friends or bae! Instead of meeting at a restaurant, have a potluck where everyone invited brings their favorite appetizer, entree, side dish or dessert. Rather than racking up a hefty bill at the bar, invite your friends over for a game night, asking everyone to bring their favorite beverage. Movie tickets cost $12 or more (not including concessions), having a movie night at home with a projector, white bed sheet hanging on the wall, sleeping bags, huge pillows and tons of snacks, bumps up the experience from “Netflix and chill” to a romantic night-in.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Deals
No matter how frugal you aim to be, sometimes you get an unavoidable urge to try a new restaurant, grab a few drinks or try a new activity with your friends. For those moments, hunt for bargains and scope out the best happy hours. When going out for drinks, hit your local brewery instead of the bar to avoid paying more than you should for a beer. At a brewery, you’ll find pints priced between $2 and $4, saving you money and providing you a more authentic experience. When visiting your favorite eateries, find out when happy hour is to save money on drinks, appetizers and even select entrees.
If you’re like me and are new to a city, here’s a great and cheap way to try an activity and meet new people. Many social groups will do free activities together, or if you join a group, you may pay an annual fee that covers most of the expenses for the group’s activities. Either way, living large doesn’t have to cost a lot; at least that’s what I’m learning now. So what are your tips for being social without going broke?