Creating good habits for saving, investing, and sticking with your budget should not be a deterrent to fun things to do with friends. After all, you do not want to work so hard to achieve your financial goals, and blow it all in one weekend.
Having fun with friends for free is very obtainable, with many different things being offered in communities, from local concerts, movies in the park, and even doing games nights at home.
Think creatively and look at this free list of how to have fun with friends.
20 Fun Things to do With Friends for Free
With a little creativity, you can find many ways to have fun with friends for free. We are all programmed to assume fun must cost money, but there are many ways to have fun in any area without spending any money.
1. Find Free Local Activities
Use your local resources to find free activities in your area. Your local library, community center, and HOAs are great places to find free activities. Also, consider checking out activities at local churches or even shopping malls.
You might find activities geared toward specific ages or events for all ages. Take advantage of the free activities and do something different with your friends.
2. Find Local National Parks
Hundreds of national parks throughout the country are free. If the national parks in your state aren’t free, chances are the cost to visit is low. They may even have free days that anyone can enjoy the park for no cost.
Exploring your national parks is a great way to take in nature and get to know your area better. You can even check out the park multiple times, taking different paths each time.
3. Free Museum or Zoo Days
Many people don’t know that their local museums and zoos have free days. Check out the websites of museums in your state within a short drive, and check out their free days. Zoos typically have free days in the cooler months but may also have a couple in the summer.
Plan your days accordingly, as free days can get busy, but if you spend a few hours exploring for free, it can be a great day with friends.
4. Attend Concerts in the Park
Most communities host free concerts in the park in the summer. Look at your local community and surrounding communities to have some variety. Then, make a night of it by packing a picnic and listening to great music. This is a unique way to have fun with friends, enjoy nature, and unwind after a long week.
5. Host a Clothing Swap
If you have a closet filled with clothes you no longer wear, consider hosting a clothing swap. You can do this for kids or adults.
If you and your friends have kids of varying ages, you can all save money on clothes that only last a short while. Even adults can swap clothes, though. Items you may not want anymore could be a treasure to someone else. So shop one another’s closets and have a fun night of trying clothes on.
6. Ride Bikes
Hiking is a great way to explore your community, but you can cover more ground biking. Determine if your city has bike trails you can follow or create your own path. You can stop along the way to take in the beautiful sites, take pictures, or even have a picnic to make a day out of your exploring.
7. Binge Watch Movies or Shows
If you and your friends have the same interests in movies or shows, host a marathon night. Whether you watch all the Twilight movies or binge-watch Stranger Things, it can be a fun way to have entertain without spending any money.
If you want to offer some snacks, consider asking everyone to bring their favorite movie theater food to make it even more fun.
8. Take a Free Online Course
If you and your friends have similar interests, consider trying something new by taking a free online course. You can find courses on just about anything, especially on YouTube. Whether you want to try a new craft, learn a new language, or have something else you all want to try, do it together, as it can be much more fun.
There’s no better way to spend time together than volunteering. Giving time to the people you love is a great way to bond even more. Consider spending your time helping in animal shelters, churches, local community centers, or local shelters.
A quick Google search in your area will turn up plenty of volunteering activities, and there are different opportunities at different times of the year.
10. Host a Bonfire
Take advantage of the beautiful weather during the summer and fall months and host a bonfire. All you need is some wood, a place to have a fire, and chairs for everyone to sit on. If you want to serve food and drink, consider asking everyone to BYOB or even bring their own snack to keep your costs down.
11. Go Camping
There are hundreds of places you can camp for free in most states. If you already own a tent, a sleeping bag, and other camping gear, it won’t cost you much more than the food you bring to cook on your trip.
Bring games and wood to make a fire, and you have enough fun for a couple of evenings away from home with friends.
12. Find a Swimming Hole
You might be surprised to learn how many swimming holes are in your area or the surrounding areas. Find a new spot to hang with friends, have fun swimming, and enjoy nature, with or without kids.
Low Cost Ways to Have Fun With Friends
If you have a little extra money to spend on entertainment, here are some low cost ways to have fun with friends.
13. Host a Potluck
Having everyone over for dinner can be expensive, but you share the financial responsibility if you host a potluck. Ask everyone to bring their favorite dish according to your chosen theme, and you’ll have plenty of food for everyone. This is also a great way to try new foods.
14. Host a Cookie Exchange
Cookie exchanges are a great way to have enough cookies for the holiday without spending the time or money to make them all yourself. Have everyone bring their three favorite cookies with enough to give a handful to everyone in attendance. Everyone will leave with several dozen cookies – enough to share at their holiday events.
15. Have a Spa Night In
Spa nights are a great girls-night in, and they don’t have to cost a ton. Consider buying inexpensive face masks, painting each other’s nails, and trying different hairstyles on one another. Let each person attending bring their favorite way to pamper themselves to share with everyone, and you can have a night of relaxation and fun with girlfriends.
16. Host a Game Night
Game nights are a great way to have a little friendly competition without spending a lot of money. If you already have the games, all you need are some fun snacks and drinks, and you’re ready to have a night of fun. Consider asking everyone to bring something to share with everyone to keep your costs down.
17. Host a Crafting Night
A crafting night can be a great way to spend time together, learn something new, or do something everyone already enjoys. Scrapbooking, crocheting, and card-making are great ideas for craft night. Of course, this works best if it’s something everyone already has the supplies for, but if not, everyone can bring their own supplies.
18. Start a Book Club
Book clubs are a great way to spend time together and be exposed to different books. You can choose a different author and/or theme each month and take turns hosting. On book club night, each person can bring their favorite recipe, or you can have a theme that goes along with the book.
19. Start a Recipe Swap Club
A recipe swap club is a great way to get new recipes and try new foods. Consider using a theme, such as budget meals, and pick a different type of food each time, such as Italian, Chinese, or Greek recipes. You can also host appetizers, desserts, or salad nights to switch things up a bit.
20. Plan a Picnic
Picnics can be a fun way to get together for a meal without hosting at someone’s house. Pick a theme, and everyone can bring their favorite food. Whether you have an appetizer sampling or a four-course meal, you can enjoy nature and one another’s company without spending a lot of money.
Make a list of the things you and your friends like to do together, and you’ll quickly find fun things to do with friends for free. Money doesn’t equal happiness. There are many ways you can explore, have fun, and try new things without spending much money.
Brainstorm with your friends and be willing to try new things to keep the fun alive. You’ll likely have even more fun knowing that you aren’t going into debt to have fun because you all have the same goal – to have fun on a budget!
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.