Can’t Afford to Socialize? Compromise!

A friend invites you for an evening out or a weekend away that you just can't afford. Which of the following responses sounds the most like yours?

  • “I'd love to, but…” (Too many late nights already that week/feel guilty leaving Junior with a sitter after being away from him all day/mandatory check-in with your probation officer.)
  • “That sounds like fun, but it's not in my budget right now.”
  • “Um…” (Waffles, hates to seem like a killjoy.) “Yes, let's.” (Whips out plastic, mentally scribbles “self-recrimination, 30 minutes” on to-do list.)

All three strategies are problematical:

  • Excuses start to sound like, well, excuses. Friends think you just don't want to hang out with them.
  • Using the B-word puts some people on the defensive, as though your financial goals are some kind of judgment on their choices.
  • Caving in and charging your fun creates debt/adds to existing arrears.

That's why I'd like to suggest a fourth strategy: Compromise. Specifically, to propose less-spendy (but still fun) ways to socialize.

You shouldn't have to decline time with friends just because their usual ideas for diversion involve serious spending. It works the other way, too: By suggesting fun outside of restaurants and bars, you don't put financial stress on a BFF who hasn't got the do-re-mi.

Some people seem to think that folks on a budget can never have fun. I disagree. In fact, I believe that sometimes you ought to spend money even if you think you shouldn't.

But not all the time, and certainly not if you're already barely making book. (Hi there, all you startled new grads! Wasn't it fun to get that college loan repayment schedule? And isn't ramen yummy?)

Obviously there are far more possibilities than I could list in one article. Here are 22 options to get you started.

Eat, drink and be merry
Restaurant lite. Your foodie friends love trying new places. You can afford to do this maybe once a month. Alternate strategy: Arrange to meet them for coffee and dessert two or three (or more) times a month.

Wine tasting. Provide one bottle and some snacks and ask a few friends to bring sips to share. It doesn't have to be pricey plonk; there are some pretty affordable wines out there.

Picnic. Come on, it's summer. Hit a city park or hike to the back of beyond, carrying vittles. Variation: Cookout in someone's back yard.

Dessert buffet. Invite everyone to bring over his favorite sweet. You'll all be half-sick before the evening is over, but who cares?

A happier happy hour. Search for bars that serve half-price (or free!) snacks in the early evening. Look for deals with help from apps/sites like BiteHunter or Cheapism.

The potluck. A win-win: Everybody gets fed, but no one person has to do all the cooking.

Diversion at a discount

Social buying. Groupon, Living Social, City Deals and other daily deal companies offer 50%-off vouchers for sporting events, outdoor activities, live entertainment and other fun stuff. Groupon and City Deals can be accessed through cash-back shopping sites like Extrabux, Fat Wallet or Mr. Rebates for additional savings of up to 6%.

Coupon books. National ones like The Entertainment Book or local publications such as Seattle's Chinook Book are full of buy-one-get-one offers to all sorts of things. Note: The Entertainment Book is also available through those cash-back sites, for savings of up to 35%.

Discounted gift cards. Mostly I get movie gift cards at 15% to 20% off. Chain restaurants, from Big Boy to Ruth's Chris, are well represented.

Low- or no-cost fun
Game night. You can get cutthroat and serious about this, i.e., actually keep score. Or just be a bunch of friends enjoying favorite games. (Don't own any? Look in thrift stores and yard sales.)

Open mic. Coffeehouses, bookstores and bars host them. The results could be stellar or ghastly, but either one gives you something to talk about afterward.

Group activities. Sites like MeetUp, BigTent and GroupSpaces will put you in touch with casual clutches of folks who enjoy a huge variety of fun stuff. Join with a friend and learn everything from geocaching to cake decorating.

Go swimming. City pools. Public beaches. Bring sunscreen.

Learn a new language. Sites like Word2Word and LearnALanguage.com will get you started. Choose a language with a friend or friends, then watch a movie in that language (get it free from the library). Or do it with an eye toward traveling to that country some day.

Book signings. Can't afford to buy? Listen to the author talk, then.

The big game. Suggest a sports-watching party at the apartment/home of whoever has the best television. Your contribution could be popcorn, the world's cheapest snack, with intriguing flavors like Bombay Masala, dilly lemon, black sesame mustard and chipotle lime.

Start a club. Personal finance club. Book club. Dryer lint sculpting society. Whatever floats your boat.

Free movie previews. A site called Gofobo organizes advance screenings in partnership with newspapers, radio and colleges.

The lively arts
Pay-what-you-can night. Admission by donation to plays, museums or other events. Look for them in your area.

Theater vs. the small screen. Friends going to see “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” “Harvey” or some other show you can't afford? Invite them over the next evening to watch the film version of the play they just saw, and discuss the differences. Set out coffee and freshly baked cookies.

But is it art? See if there's a “First Friday” type of event in your area, during which galleries coordinate show openings and serve wine and cheese. Visually stimulating and you get fed, to boot.

Rush tickets. You can spend as little as $20 for a Broadway show if you work it right. (Read this article at Playbill to learn how.) Some regional companies have rush programs or discounts for the 25-and-under crowd, too.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Also a lonely one. But fun doesn't always have to cost an arm and a leg at 18% interest.

Get creative about your amusement and you can be both optimally socialized and fiscally responsible. You may also turn into one hell of an Apples to Apples player.

Readers: What are your favorite low- and no-cost ways to socialize? Do you and your friends enjoy these things out of necessity or by choice?

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Nicole
Nicole

At work, we’ll meet for brown-bag lunch (mainly because places to buy food are pretty far away) once a week.

Nicole
Nicole

(We’re at the life stage right now where almost all non-work socialization is centered around children– birthday parties, playdates etc.)

Joe @ Maple Rowe
Joe @ Maple Rowe

Haha, this article hits home for us right now. While we still attend social events, our focus right now is on getting our business going and much of our free time is spent cooped up in our house working. To be honest, I can’t tell if people still love us or have grown to loathe us for it. “Sorry, we can’t come out, we’re working on the business.” Is it meaningless to our friends? Does it sound like an excuse? We can’t tell! In the last couple years I’ve grown really frank about spending money. If someone asks me to… Read more »

Pamela
Pamela

Donna, these are good ideas. My only quibble is with the statement that saying something doesn’t fit into your budget comes off as judgy. I never minded if someone said, “Oh, I’d love to go out to lunch, but I don’t have the money/I’m trying to save/it isn’t in my budget.” I’d respect their honesty. And I’m not shy about saying it anymore, either, mainly because I think if more of us said it, fewer people would feel pressured to do things they cannot afford or to fake it. And more people would feel comfortable with frugality. I do agree… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman

I said that “some” people may react defensively. Not all of them. In my experience some people do get cranky when I mention keeping to a budget as the reason I won’t do this or that. YMMV.

Pamela
Pamela

Oh, I know you weren’t making a sweeping generalization! Maybe I’m getting cranky about this, lol. I’ve limited contact with people who get cranky with me for saying “That sounds like so much fun but things are tight for me now/I can’t afford it/it’s not in my budget.” (Though if your family members get that way it can be a whole other ballgame.)

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman

My wife and I have people over to barbeque, we pony up for the meat, but ask different peopel to bring chips, salad, drinks, etc. Turns out to be a cheap fun thing in our own backyard (that way we don’t even need a sitter!)

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman

What time should I come over? 😛

Kelly@thehungryegghead

My friends are pretty good. We do not do any activities if someone is uncomfortable with it. After all the main point of getting together is to socialize. The venue does not matter. The perfect get together is a pot luck BBQ among my circle of friends. Or game night.

If I want to go somewhere expensive there is no need to drag friends out, I can just drag my husband.

babysteps
babysteps

One idea on restaurant costs – http://www.restaurant.com lets you buy gift certificates at a discount – the restaurants consider it a marketing expense. Once last year they even ran a clearance! I think we got a couple $25 certificates to a favorite mid-range local restaurant for $5. Obviously this is still spending, but if restaurants are part of your budget it can help. We are foodies at our house and this is a way to stretch our away-from-home dining budget dollars. My theory is that good friends will understand & be flexible – you may not make it to all… Read more »

Holly@ClubThrifty

I totally agree! Real friends will be understanding and find cheap things to do with you. My best friend and her husband are big spenders but when they hang out with us we make dinner and have drinks at home. Sure, they make fun of our frugality sometimes but they’re not offended. If a friendship is important to you then it shouldn’t matter. I also agree that certain kinds of friends love to spend their money…and yours. Some people just can’t go out and have fun without dropping a ton of cash. I’ve thinned out the pack as far as… Read more »

A-L
A-L

Also, do a search for restaurant.com coupon codes. I normally can get those certificates for 70-80% off. Also, check your credit card shopping zone. I can’t think of which company offers restaurant.com discounts (on top of the coupon) but I think it’s Capital One, Chase, and/or Discover.

Emily @ evolvingPF
Emily @ evolvingPF

I don’t know about the compromise option. I think that when someone issues an invitation, especially to a group, for a specific activity, it’s not the guest’s place to suggest a change of venue or activity. If someone is just spouting off ideas, though, certainly you can add in some frugal ones. I prefer to just plan lower-cost activities as the hostess.

Summer around here is rife with OUTDOOR MOVIES, which are free or only a couple bucks. I’m seeing The Avengers on Friday with a group of friends at an outdoor venue!

Megan
Megan

This times a million.

Also, if someone says “Let’s go to that great pizza place on the corner,” it’s usually because they have a taste for pizza from THAT particular place. A substitute – a cheaper pizza place, or baking a pizza at home – usually won’t cut it.

I do love this article, though. It’s hard to say to a friend “I can’t afford that right now.”

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman

Here’s a suggestion someone once made on an MSN Money message board: Run an extension cord out to the driveway some night and play a movie there. Sitting outdoors eating popcorn and watching TV is apparently a fun novelty. Neighbors wander over, kids stop riding their bikes, etc.
It helps if the weather isn’t super-stinkin’-hot-and-humid, and if there aren’t any mosquitoes and other biters.

graduate.living
graduate.living

We’re old hats at game nights and pot-lucks. I just prefer being in a private space; restaurants and bars can get noisy and crowded, and I would rather be with a small group of friends enjoying ourselves. The occasional dinner out is nice, but most nights with friends we like to keep it at home.

Adult student
Adult student

We do this all. the. time. (It helps being grad students, people understand that you can go out sometimes but have to make choices.) Probably at least half the time we make plans with other people, we either start out by proposing drinks, games, potlucks, or a meal at our place, or respond to an expensive suggestion with, “oh can’t make it this time but I’d love to catch you another time, maybe we could [do x cheap thing],” or “I’d love to but can’t really afford to go out to eat this week.” If the attraction is the activity,… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski

I rented a lake house for a week is summer. I wanted some of our friends to be able to come, but I know they don’t make as much as I do, and the house wasn’t cheap. I said I’d just pay for the house and they could pay as much or as little for their share as they felt comfortable with. I dont want to seem condescending, I just want them to be able to come and I’d rather just pay their share then have then be unable to go. If some one invited you to come stay in… Read more »

EMH
EMH

I would not tell your friends how much the lake house costs. If you really want your friends to come, then I would say:

“I would love for you to come to our lake house this summer. I will supply the lodging if you supply the food and laughs”.

If you tell them how much it is, then it may make them feel guilty that they can’t afford it. You obviously can afford it whether or not they come so why make them rent it from you?

Carla
Carla

My exact thoughts and feelings.

Stacy
Stacy

Exactly. We have a very generous friend who makes very good money with minimal expenses. He footed the cost of a trip to Vegas for the 3 of us (himself, my husband, me) and essentially told us, “I want you guys to come. Cover your plane tickets and gambling money, I’ll pay the rest.” We did, and all of us had a great time (we tried to pick up the cost of smaller things along the way- taxis, etc). I still don’t know what the cost of the hotel or anything else was. Tell your friends, “I want you to… Read more »

KSR
KSR

Honestly Tyler, how would I feel? I would feel like you were not right in the head and although probably a really great guy, one that would have me seeking out new possibilities in friendships. Just sayin’– cuz you were just askin’.

Ely
Ely

This is tough because different people could take it different ways, in different situations. You know your friends. For myself, if this was a close friend and I knew for sure that he could afford it and that he was honest about just wanting my company, I would probably accept and be grateful, and still want to try and make it up to him somehow. If it was someone I was unsure of, or if there was the least whiff of strings attached, I would decline. I would not be offended; I would just not want to put myself in… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo

Yeah man when you invite someone over just INVITE THEM and don’t charge an admission price. Don’t even mention the price or anything– that would be a tacky move. “Hey, we’re getting a house in the lake and we’d love for you guys to come.” And yr friends will be “Wow, this Tyler is an awesome guy, let’s cook him pork chops.” It’s like having someone over for dinner and saying “hey, this wine bottle I’m pouring from cost a lot of money and you’re welcome to pay your share of it whatever…” Hells noe. Think of it: you’re getting… Read more »

Beth
Beth

I think it depends on if you invited them before you rented the place or not. If you said “let’s rent a lake house together this summer” then I think you would be in a position to discuss costs without too much hassle.

If you rented the place and then invited them to be your guests, it’s kind of tacky to expect payment. Maybe make the invite and let them step up? I would stay away from cash though — go for something with a little wiggle room like bringing food or booze.

Bella
Bella

This seems pretty similar to to our situation. We have a second home. It’s not cheap. But we have it for us to enjoy. When we invite friends to come stay with us – there are no strings attached. But when you bring it up – this is where you offer a range of options – that give them the indication of how much you expect in return. If they happen to be a good cook – maybe you guys could handle dinner sat night? and we’ll split the breakfasts. Or if that would likely provoke an evening at a… Read more »

Anne Cross
Anne Cross

I think if you invite people to stay with you “no strings attached” while also having an expectation of what they can do “in return” you’re setting up a situation where resentment and misunderstanding are sure to follow.

Bella
Bella

I don’t personally expect anything in return – that was my suggestion for Tyler if he is uncomfortable with just footing the bill entirely Most of our friends would be uncomfortable with us footing the entire bill – and so they bring dinner – but we don’t expect it – sorry if it came out that way – I must have reworded it a dozen times – it’s a sticky situation to navigate – when you have friends that make a lot more, or a lot less money than you. The longer you’re friends the less it matters – but… Read more »

john
john

I agree with the no strings attached or you could just let them use the place on their own. If you can’t afford the place without a contribution then you should be renting it out or what not. Of course I do believe it human nature is quid pro quo and most people will want to do a good turn whether it is chipping in for food or booze, if they can truly afford it.

chacha1
chacha1

We own a timeshare and have invited friends or family to join us for part of the week on a couple of occasions. As others have commented, we bought the thing for our *own* use. It’s paid for. It would not even occur to us to ask a guest to pitch in for any of the lodging cost – we’re going to be there regardless. Friends *will* step up to the extent they can, whether it’s contributing food or drink, or helping with the housework for the week. I think that kind of arrangement, if you are inviting people you… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski

We talked about it a bit (but just casually for a few minutes) before I rented the house. The friends in question saw the listing for the house that I rented, which showed the price. I have already paid for the house, so at this point, it doesn’t matter to me from a cost perspective — if they decide not to come then I’ve paid for an empty bedroom. We did have some brief conversation about how much it cost sometime after I rented it where they asked something like what their share would be, and that’s how the previously… Read more »

EMH
EMH

You picked out the house and rented it without their input so I don’t think you should ask them for any money. If they bring it up, then tell them not to worry about it and to bring the food or drinks or something else. It is then up to them to decide to give you payment of some sort. They may say “No, here is our portion” or “Cool. We will supply the food and drinks”. You may know what they could afford by what they bring. Old Style, off brand cola and pb&j sandwiches means the house was… Read more »

Megan
Megan

You can’t always tell what people can afford by their food. 🙂

There are well-to-do folks who will only drink, say, the store brand of pop because that’s what they like (and actually, I think Warren Buffett does this, too). And then there are foodies who will buy cheap clothing and cut the cable bill so they can afford the truffle oil and expensive cheese – because that’s what they like.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo

Ah, that seems like a reasonable conversation, and it’s not like you put them on the spot and demanded money, but they brought it up. And it’s definitely not a clearcut situation, but I think the house became your charge when you rented it on your own. Now they will probably feel the obligation to pay no matter the cost to them– as I mentioned before, people have their pride, and most humans would rather go into debt or sell a kidney than lose face or come up short. However, since you rented this on your own, and they had… Read more »

MelodyO
MelodyO

The next time I’m invited to someone’s house for supper, I’m totally going to ask, “Should I bring dessert or a magician?”

El Nerdo
El Nerdo

Haaa haaa. If you can bring French pastries, please do!

Jessie
Jessie

Just because people agree that something would be cool to do doesn’t mean you should take that as confirmation that they are agreeing to pay for that activity – if I say to a friend “yes, I’d love to own a boat” that isn’t me saying “yes, buy a boat and I’ll pay for it.” Totally different things! Since you went ahead and rented a house without getting their confimation of payment, you really can’t expect them to pay anything. The case may be that they really can’t afford it (or just wanted to spend their money on other things),… Read more »

lmoot
lmoot

I’m the type of person where I either like to know that I am expected to pay something specific, or not expected to pay anything. Because if it’s left open-ended it says to me that you obviously would like me to contribute monetarily, however without you saying how much you’re making me try to guess what you think is appropriate. So then I’m left wondering is this too much? not enough? And it would stress me the eff out. Since you initiated the idea, and already purchased it, I would just let them know some non monetary things they can… Read more »

EMH
EMH

Some more suggestions:

If you have a Bank of America credit or debit card, then I recommend checking out their “Museums on Us” deal. You get in free on the first full weekend of the month at participating museums across the country.

http://museums.bankofamerica.com/

Also, check out your local library. The Chicago Public library offers free museum passes (you have to have a library card to check out the passes) and free Ravinia lawn seats.

My husband and I see Sunday or Saturday matinees rather than go out to the movies in the evening. The movies are cheaper and usually less crowded.

Emily @ evolvingPF
Emily @ evolvingPF

Sorry to take this way more specific, but I am planning a trip to Chicago for next week and I am having trouble finding details about the museum passes online. Are they for groups with children or is that not required? And what museums are they good for – does it change over time? How long can you check them out for? Is there any kind of strategy as to which branch to go to to maximize the likelihood of getting one?

EMH
EMH

The museum passes from the library are only for Chicago residents with a library card and you can’t check them out online. You have to go to the branch to check them out. Here are some more details: http://www.chipublib.org/forteens/teenhowto/freechgo.php It is under the “teen” section but adults can check them out. Depending on how many sites you plan to visit, it may be beneficial to get the city pass. http://www.citypass.com/chicago I hope this helps! Chicago is really fun in the summer and there are many free things to do. Lincoln Park Zoo, Grant Park, Millennium Park, the beaches are great,… Read more »

Isela
Isela

Me and some friends have a Reading Club, we share waht we have been reading and lend some books and movies so you don´t have to buy them.

Everybody brings something to eat and drink, is once per month, really good and rally cheap.

I love it

@elpesonuestro
http://www.elpesonuestro.com

Marisa
Marisa

As a relatively recent college grad, I’ve found that when I say “that’s not in my budget” or “let’s do this cheaper thing instead” most of my friends, who are in the same boat, are often relieved. A group of us used to go out for drinks once a week until I finally mentioned that it was getting too pricey for me. Now we all take turns hosting with a $5-7 bottle of wine. It’s also spurred conversations about money, budgets, asking for raises, etc., all topics that we probably wouldn’t have broached otherwise. You might be surprised how people… Read more »

Beth
Beth

I found that once many of my friends starting planning weddings, buying houses and having kids they wanted to go back to the frugal fun we had as students. (Potlucks, free events, etc.) I guess I travel in circles with mostly like-minded people 🙂

Family is another story… 🙁

Valerie
Valerie

Thank you Donna! LOVE your article 🙂 some of the ideas I already do and saw some more to try. Keep writing.
Cheers.

Adam Spinosa
Adam Spinosa

Really liked the article! Tons of useful ideas. Its good to switch them up often, if you only come to coffee and desert for dinners every week for 6 months it can become quite transparent. That being said, I’ve found that telling close friends–“Im just too poor/broke for that” doesn’t really alienate anyone too much. However, its always better when you follow up with a compromise!

Amanda
Amanda

It’s worse for me because we have cash in the bank I just may not choose to spend it on what they’re inviting me to…

john
john

I tend to get together and do some gaming (video) or will just watch a rented movie, barbeque or even just pick up some fried chicken at the supermarket. The big problem with gaming is everything is going online and less game have multi-player capabilities on 1 TV, you need to be networked. We like hanging out together and playing, we are old school.

john
john

Also the other factor is that people on this website are already actively looking for ways to increase their knowledge about finances which could be saving or making more money. Whereas this is not always so with the general population. Also people tend to migrate to others that are like-minded. That being said I know a ton of family and not-so-close acquaintances that blow a ton of money on having fun in general including socializing. I feel lucky that we could choose to spend more money in this area if we wanted but I have always had a frugal mentality… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo

We usually like to have friends over for food, drinks, records & conversation. Cheaper than going out and also the drinks and food are better cuz I say so. And there’s the fun of making the food and talking about it and having people taste it, etc. I don’t like to make a formal sit-down dinner, which is stressful for the kitchen staff, but instead we have drinks and improvise things to eat– then the cooking & eating becomes a kind of game: “what’s in the pantry and how can we make it good?” For example a friend wanted to… Read more »

Bella
Bella

I try to keep my house at the point where I can have people over anytime – apparently this is something my grandma was great at.
I don’t need to be known as the gal with the cleanest house – but I’d love to be the one with the best memories

chacha1
chacha1

That’s my goal too. I don’t care about having the cleanest house, I just want people to be comfortable being (or having) company at short notice. 🙂

lmoot
lmoot

I agree. I aim to have the sort of spot where we can pre-game on our way out and decide we’re having too much fun to even need to go out anymore. I know some people go out because they just want to get out of the house, so why can’t this just include somebody else’s house? I’m a homebody so I already focus on my making my home exciting, relaxing, confortable, non boring etc.

chacha1
chacha1

When I was young and broke, I have to confess I was a bit of a hermit. Have never been much of one for games, and until I moved to Atlanta (after college) there really was not much to DO except drink. Which is what most people did, and I found it very boring. Atlanta of course is chock full of great stuff to do for cheap, like any big city. L.A. is even better. One thing I’ve appreciated for years is the museum/zoo reciprocity network. Join one zoo or museum in the network and you get admission privileges at… Read more »

thethriftyspendthrift
thethriftyspendthrift

Great suggestions Donna.

My friends used to make fun of how cheap I was and then acted completely shocked when they heard I had pretty substantial savings for someone only working full-time for a short while and making less than 50K/year.

I think what’s really important is finding people who are on the same page as you. I have friends who will always suggest doing things that cost money or quite a bit of money considering we live in the city—it kind of gets tiring after awhile.

Carla
Carla

I like ideas that doesn’t always involve staying at home. I work from home and so the last place I want to be sometimes (even when I have company) is home.. When we have a sunny day living in Portland, its almost a sin to stay home if you don’t need to so I’m always finding ways to go out within my budget. This place is crawling with happy hour restaurants (1/2 off sushi, $2 tacos, $3 salads, etc) so I keep a log of different places in my phone so when I’m out and want to be spontaneous, I… Read more »

PawPrint
PawPrint

We have a First Thursday where I live with art galleries that stay open late as well as other businesses. The businesses provide food and drink (the bank has the best food). The art museum is free that evening, too. One of the events I enjoy is the monthly food truck rally. The food is gourmet quality for a low price plus there’s often music. The venue is a vacant dirt lot, but it’s the food, not the ambiance.

valleycat1
valleycat1

If it’s someone inviting me to something they and a group of people have already planned, I have no problem with just saying no thanks or that I have other plans (they don’t need to know the other plans are to stay in eating leftovers). If they are good enough friends, I might explain instead that I’ve already spend my ‘fun money’ for the month.

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

My friends do DIY nights, where we all pick a project to work on/create and spend the night visiting and making something. Pretty fun and sometimes you get house work done or presents made.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman

Nice! You may be inspired to learn a new skill from watching others, too.

A-L
A-L

I really like many of the suggestions here. Just a couple of other thoughts: -Preview nights for the performing arts. In my city, those tickets are half-off. -See if there’s a city e-mail with events for the week, with offers. My city also offers this, and usually there will be limited numbers of free tickets to the events being advertised. (Could be a comedy show, musical performance at a museum, etc.) -Going for a bike ride/hike. -A variation on The Big Game. In college we would get together for a tv show everybody liked. Also works for Oscars/Grammies, and other… Read more »

DanM53
DanM53

Volunteer!

(A little late to the show) – My wife and I volunteer at all sorts of events. Sometimes we get the best view of the show or whatever is taking place, sometimes we get to meet the exhibitors. We meet a lot of like minded volunteers and we often see friends who are attending as patrons. We’re helping local organizations, getting out of the house, seeing friends and enjoying ourselves. All for some cleanup, setup or just answering questions.

priskill
priskill

Great suggestions! For kids, check out your local parks, especially in the summer. So many lessons, activities, etc., nicely subsidized! During my daughter’s vacation from middle school we would spend the mornings at city pool with lessons and teams (unbelievably cheap — $30 bucks for the summer, per team!) , and one day a week it was “French night.” Sometimes we sought out cheaper French restaurants for lunch but usually we cooked something vaguely French and got French movies with subtitles from the library. I think we adults had as much fun as the kids and fairly cheaply. We got… Read more »

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