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Fun Activities to Do With Friends That Won't Drain Your Budget

Ronali is a freelance writer, editor, and affiliate marketer.

A list of fun, cheap activities for you and your friends.

A list of fun, cheap activities for you and your friends.

Fun and Cheap Activities for Friends

With the rising prices of gas, airfare, hotel accommodations, and restaurant meals, you'd think such factors should discourage you from going out and socializing.

But don't fret because you can still hang out with your friends while trying to cut down on expenses.

I have garnered plenty of budget-friendly activities that you can do with your pals, and grouped these activities into four main categories:

  • Indoor Activities
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Events or Activities That are Free (or Almost)
  • Venues That Charge a Minimal Fee

Indoor Activities

Host a Netflix marathon

Even introverts will find this manageable because it's a low-key, low-stress activity. You can serve microwaveable popcorn with chilled fruit juice or soda.

Play card or board games

These are good options if you have friends who thrive in competition, but you still want to keep the atmosphere light and fun.

You can play Uno, Twister, Jenga, or chip in to buy any of the latest card or board games in the market.

Have a paint-and-sip session

Painting while sipping a refreshing drink has become a popular activity among small group gatherings.

Put together a budget and purchase watercolor paper or acrylic boards and paint from an arts and crafts store. And then, head over to a hardware store, where sets of paintbrushes are cheaper.

None of your friends would need to come up with an aesthetic masterpiece, so download photos or images from the internet that are easy enough to paint on canvas or watercolor paper.

Have an inexpensive bottle of red wine or champagne chilled before your guests arrive and serve them with paper cups later.

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Take the spa home

An afternoon of primping and pampering indoors might be an enjoyable activity for a group of ladies.

A session at a high-end spa can be pricey, so look up recipes for homemade facials instead. Ask a friend who's knowledgeable about mani-pedis and makeup to give the group a makeover.

Gather enough food for a themed potluck

Gather all your friends who are adventurous foodies, and turn an otherwise lavish and expensive buffet into a themed potluck.

Decide on a theme (Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, Thai, Korean, etc.) and let everyone bring a dish accordingly. It doesn't matter if someone brings Chinese take-out or frozen sushi bought from a grocery.

Go outside!

Go outside!

Outdoor Activities

Fill up a picnic basket

Rediscover the fun of having a picnic at a nearby park. Get a picnic basket and a couple of large, checked gingham blankets.

Look up recipes for tuna spread or egg and chicken salad. Buy loaves of bread, slices of cheese, and vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions.

Pack a jar of mayonnaise, a bottle of ketchup and mustard, napkins, and plastic cutlery. You can also add crackers, hotdog sandwiches, and pasta.

Ride bicycles

If you don't own your own bikes, you and your friends can go to a place where you can rent. Grab ice cream cones afterward.

Go to a pet store

Enjoy looking at bunnies, puppies, kittens, guinea pigs, or birds for sale.

Head to a playground

Rediscover the fun of riding on a swing, see-saw, or going down a slide.

Take a stroll in an outdoor garden

You can get a lot of fresh air as well while enjoying the sights.

Go jogging

Lace-up your athletic trainers and get physical! Go nature tripping by jogging or taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood.

Watch a concert at the park

Take advantage of free performances at the park. Occasionally, a string quartet, keyboard player, or rock band might perform.

Visit an art museum!

Visit an art museum!

Events or Activities That are Free (or Almost)

Go to a museum during free-admission day

Forget about theme parks and carnivals and immerse yourself in different works of art.

Watch a church or community theater presentation

Your group's presence and support could mean a lot to amateur thespians, musicians, and other performers.

Try out freebies and samples

Ladies can head over to a department store's makeup counter (or any shop or boutique that exclusively sells cosmetics) and try out free samples of lipstick or foundation.

Occasionally, you'll also find sample bottles of colognes and other scents. Trying out samples can help you make better or more informed purchases.

You can also go to a grocery and see if they're offering bite-size portions of biscuits, chocolates, pastry, and other goodies.

Spend a day at a bazaar, craft fair, or flea market

Should you wish to minimize the stress (and costs) of shopping for gifts, clothes, or accessories like purses or bags, you can take a group of friends to a bazaar, craft fair, or flea market.

Venues That Charge a Minimal Fee

Drop by niche conventions

Conventions usually attract niche audiences, like comic book geeks, bakers, vloggers, or stationery enthusiasts. The entrance fee is usually very affordable.

Art fair

All you have to do is purchase a minimum amount worth of arts and crafts items to be able to participate.

Themed cafes

Usually, themed cafes operate on an admissions basis where they welcome two patrons for the price of one, with a meal included. A small group won't need to make reservations.

Cats or dogs have been made popular attractions of themed cafes, as well as vintage posters and life-size celebrity cut-outs.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ronali dela Cruz

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