These days socialising is more expensive than ever. There are Hens parties being held in Bali, weddings in Italy and weekends away in the Hunter. Brunch on a Sunday is likely to punish the bank balance and drinks on the weekend results in more than just a hangover. Hanging out with your mates has never been so costly. But I have done the hard yards and compiled a list of 25 things you can do with your friends that won’t cost you a fortune.

1) Instead of going out, invite them over

Going out to a restaurant for dinner can turn into a cash nightmare. If you live in Sydney the meal is likely to cost you more than a week’s worth of petrol and if you plan to have a casual beverage you’re facing a cab fare home.

To avoid the extra expense, invite your friends over and ask your guests to bring a plate of something with them. Sharing catering responsibilities will lessen the hit to your hip pocket and allow your friends the opportunity to make their favourite dish.

2) Go On A Picnic

Picnics are inexpensive and a perfect way to bond with your friends and family. Some of the most memorable moments with my friends have been sitting on a towel with some crackers and dip, laughing and chatting until the sun goes down. There’s no need for a fancy picnic rug or basket. Just a large towel and a bag of food will do.

Picnic With Friends
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3) Book A Home Movie Night

Going to the movies can cause major damage to your bank account. There’s the treats and the tickets and the travel. Have a cinema experience in your own home by inviting over some friends and putting on a classic in your loungeroom. Head to the supermarket and pick up some microwavable popcorn to enhace the experience.

4) Party Like It’s 1999

Remember those birthday parties you went to as a kid? They were so simple. Some games, good food, cake and presents. As we get older those days become distant memories. Why not relive them? I’ve been craving a game of pass the parcel for the past five years.

5) Make Brunch At Home

Brunch is all the rave these days but it doesn’t have to be expensive. To save some money make brunch for a mate at your house. Grab some eggs, rolls and mushrooms from the store and you’ll be set. You’re in the comfort of your own home and you’re saving cash. It’s a win-win.

6) Rock Out At Cheap Eats

Do your homework if you’re going out for a meal

Sometimes all you want is to go out for a meal. You don’t want to have to worry about buying ingredients or cleaning after cooking. If you want to go out with some friends for a meal, search around for a good deal. There’s bound to be a place closeby that’ll serve you some delicious food at a price that won’t make your jaw drop.

7) Game On

Get the scrabble out! Give your friends a call and invite them for a game of scrabble. There’s sure to be banter and laughs. Put on a cup of tea and let the boardgame magic happen. Scrabble can be substituted for any board game but you may want to be careful choosing Monopoly (it’s a sure way to destroy a friendship).

8) Go for a walk

Going for a walk is not only a great way to stay active, it’s also perfect for bonding with your friends. It’s good for your body and it’s completely free.

9) Get sporty

Grab a basketball or a footy and head down to the local park. Just like walking, it’s completely free and a great way to stay active. Time will pass more quickly than you’ll believe!

10) Get artistic

Become an arty farty type. If you’re interested in tapping into your creative side grab some paper from your local supermarket and do some painting or drawing together.

11) Have a “what’s left in the pantry” cookoff (AKA Surprise Chef)

Get a friend over and empty your pantry and fridge. Have a look at what ingredients you have and try to make a meal out of them. Make sure you document it on social media because we all know that if it’s not on your socials it never happened.

12) Parklife

Go to the local park. Relive your childhood and head to your local park. Swing on the swings like you used to in primary school. There’s nothing better than feeling that drop in your stomach and the wind in your hair.

13) Volunteer Together

There are always great organisations looking for volunteers. A great way to spend your time is to donate your time to others in need. You’ll be with a friend so you won’t get lonely and it won’t cost you a cent.

14) Explore Your City

If you’re feeling adventurous, get yourself a bus or train ticket and head out to explore your city. There’s nothing quite like being a tourist in your own home. You’ll see things you wouldn’t normally notice.

15) Go To The Beach

If there’s a beach close by make a day of it with your mates. All you need are your swimmers, a towel and some sunscreen. If you’re taking care of your finances, pack some food and water in advance.

16) Check out what’s on in your local area

Have a look online and see what’s happening around you. Councils often host free events like performances and markets, so take advantage of those.

17) Play some video games

I’ve only recently discovered the beauty that is gaming. After a few tries I finally understood how to use the controller and now I’m hooked. My boyfriend and I now play whenever we have some free time.  Gaming is a great way to enjoy yourselves and indulge in some healthy competition.

18) Play some tennis

If you’re like me and have no sense of direction and coordination there’s nothing like a game of tennis to start the belly laughter. Head down to the local court, hire some rackets and get started. It’s a great way to work out your body and reach your laughter quota for the week.

19) Play some card games

Hours of joy can be found in a small pack of cards. The games and opportunities are endless. 500 is a favourite amongst my friends.

20) Binge watch a TV show together

Netflix really is the best thing since sliced bread. There are hundreds of episodes just waiting to be consumed. Go searching for a series on Netflix and start watching it together. If you’re unsure where to start here are a few to spark your obsession:

  • Vikings
  • Breaking Bad
  • Suits
  • Narcos

21) Do some budget baking

Set yourselves a baking challenge. You have $10 to spend on ingredients for a delicious baked dessert. Make a day of it by going to the supermarket together to get what you need. Who doesn’t love some homemade dessert on a budget?

22) Have a combined garage sale

This one really does kill two birds with one stone. We’ve all got those bits and pieces around the house that we don’t need anymore. Why not earn some cash with your mate? Combine your clutter and have a garage sale.

23) Do some knitting/quilting for charity

If you have knitting or quilting skills why not use them for good? You can knit squares and combine them to make a blanket for charities like Knit-A-Square.

24) Go On An Adventure

Get out of town for the day and head somewhere you’ve never been before. Find your way there and back on public transport to save dollars and experience the social landscape.

25) Organise A Social Sport Team

Get some mates together at the local oval and play some social touch footy or soccer. Keep it casual and relax the rules to keep it light and fun.

So there are 25 ways to keep your friendships alive without breaking the bank. Are your friends struggling for ideas? Hit share to help them out. Don’t worry it’s free ; )

Posted by Sophia Hatzis

Sophia is a Law and Communications student at UTS and has been a passionate writer her whole life. She runs a blog called The Beauty Breakdown which aims to educate young people about the importance of positive body image. Sophia writes openly about her struggles with mental health problems having battled with an eating disorder and anxiety for most of her adolescence. Sophia is a strong advocate for a holistic approach to health and wellness which is drawn from her own experiences.