If your wallet is feeling lighter, it might be time to rethink your spending habits. Outside of the essentials like food, rent and insurance, what do you spend money on? You probably enjoy going out to a trendy new restaurant, your favorite pub for drinks or the local theater to see the latest Marvel hit. The key phrase is “going out,” and it’s the phrase that could be making you broke.
As restaurants get trendier, they get more expensive. Alcohol has never been cheap. Regular movie tickets cost anywhere from $10 to $16. While seeming relatively small on each isolated occasion, activities and get-togethers can actually cost a few hundred bucks each month. Nobody’s telling you not to have fun with your friends, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a little more to your name at the end of each month?
Instead of continuing to hemorrhage money, try thinking of some cheaper — and equally as fun — alternatives. Here are twelve suggestions.
1. Play Board Games
There is no shortage of board games in the world. From Yahtzee to Monopoly to Settlers of Catan to Uno, there are games upon games to occupy many hours of your time. Card games are great as well, and they’re especially cheap. Most card games only require a single deck of playing cards. The best part is that you’ll find out very quickly which of your friends is the most competitive.
2. Go To The Park
Enjoy some fresh air! There are numerous health benefits to being outside for extended periods of time — reducing stress and increasing happiness, feeling more energized and boosting your immune system. Once you’re there, you can toss a Frisbee, go on a leisurely walk or simply lay on a blanket.
If you’re looking for a fulfilling alternative to spending money, offer your time to help a worthy cause in your neighborhood — that’s about as fulfilling as it gets. There are plenty of worthy causes. Find an organization and start making a difference!
4. Go On A Bike Ride
You never know what you’ll find when you go on a bike ride. Don’t stick to your parking lot — go down streets you don’t normally use. Be safe, but don’t be afraid to explore and see what you find. You might find a new park or part of town to explore. Biking is fantastic exercise as well, so health benefits and exploration combine when you opt for a ride.
5. Watch A Movie Marathon
Being lazy is alright, too. Gather your friends, pick out some favorites or a new release, heat up some popcorn and stay put for a quiet night inside. Have everyone bring a movie or come prepared with Netflix suggestions.
6. Go Hiking
There’s a trail nearby, and many hiking trails are quite beautiful. You don’t need many supplies if you’re staying on a popular trail for a short day hike. You’re not camping, so sturdy shoes, proper clothing for the weather and enough water will do. Like biking, hiking is a great form of exercise.
7. Host A Potluck Dinner
A great substitute for spending money, a potluck dinner will produce the best meals your friends can offer. Potlucks supply a fantastic variety of food, and they make for fun gatherings. You’ll enjoy quality food and quality time with friends.
8. Go Swimming
Especially helpful on a hot day, swimming will open new doors of fun for you. You can toss around a Frisbee, float around aimlessly or lurk beneath the surface waiting to pounce on one of your friends. There are a bunch of games you can play in the pool — Sharks and Minnows, water polo and racing across the pool to name a few.
9. Play A Sport
Apart from being a great opportunity to flash your competitive side, there are numerous benefits to playing sports, such as improving your focus, sleeping habits and mood. Consider basketball, football, baseball or ultimate Frisbee.
10. Go Fishing
Fishing requires patience, but it can be incredibly rewarding. All you need is a fishing pole, which is fairly inexpensive. Depending on where you go, you might stumble across your next meal. There’s nothing more satisfying than all of that patience paying off by landing a big one.
11. Hold A Video Game Tournament
A night of “Call of Duty” or “Dance Dance Revolution” will lead to a fun evening. You will have a blast spending the whole night going head-to-head. Consider awarding food or candy as a prize for winning.
See? You don’t have to spend money to have fun!