10 Ways to Have a Cheaper Evening Hanging Out With Friends


The fact that you don’t have a lot of money doesn’t mean spending your evenings at home, alone. For some, hanging out with friends is an excuse to blow all their extra cash on drinks and food. But having fun isn’t about how much you can spend — it’s about the quality time you share with those close to you. (See also: Free Ways to Show You Care)

If you’re looking for cheap fun on the weekends or after work, here are 10 ways to hang out without going broke.

1. Go to a Cheap Movie

If you want to see a movie, but don’t want to pay $10 to $15 for a single movie ticket, head to a second-run theater. These ticket prices are far cheaper than normal theaters, averaging $1.50 to $5. You can save more by skipping popcorn and soda. But even if you decide to purchase snacks, what you spend on the entire night may still be cheaper than a single regular ticket.

2. Hit the Bowling Alley

Maybe the movie theater is too quiet, and you need a bit more excitement. Bowling is another fun, cheap way to spend your evening. You’ll pay about $2 or $2.50 for the shoe rental and around $4.50 per game. Play two games, eat before you arrive, and purchase no more than two drinks; and you can enjoy the entire night for under $20.

3. Sing Karaoke

It doesn’t matter how bad you sing, a night of karaoke creates memories. Go to a local restaurant or other nightspot, split an appetizer with your friends, and prepare to have the time of your life. And if one of your friends has a karaoke machine at his or her house — even better. For a cheap night, bring your own drink and share the cost of pizza and wings.

4. Lounge at a Sports Bar

Whether it’s football, basketball, or any other sporting season, get off the couch and take the fun to a local sports bar. You can watch the game while catching up with friends. To keep costs to a minimum, choose sports bars with evening deals like half off appetizers or alcohol.

5. Watch Seasons of a Television Show

Do you have a subscription to Netflix or HuluPlus? If so, get with some friends, pick a television show that none of you have seen, and watch the entire series beginning with season one. Take turns at each other’s houses watching three or four episodes at a time over popcorn, pizza, and drinks. (See also: 8 Alternatives to Cable TV)

6. Free Wine Tasting

Search online or check the newspaper for free wine tasting events in your area. This is an entertaining and inexpensive way to sample a variety of wines, and there’s usually no obligation to make a wine purchase. Events are normally held at restaurants, wine stores, and wineries. The perfect choice if you’re looking for a change of pace — just make sure there’s a designated driver.

7. Trivia Night

Most big cities have a handful of bars and restaurants that host weekly trivia nights. Grab four or five friends, and test your knowledge at some of the most wacky, random questions. The fun typically starts around 8 or 9 p.m., and prizes can range from free appetizers to cash. And since many establishments have food and drink specials on trivia nights, you don’t have to worry about breaking your budget on eats.

8. Cook Together

Maybe you’re in the mood for a gourmet meal, but you don’t have a gourmet bank account. A cheaper evening with friends doesn’t always mean pizza and wings. You may not be able to afford a night on the town, but who says you can’t prepare a fabulous meal at home? Get with your friends, plan a nice menu, and split the cost of ingredients. (See also: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies)

9. Go for Dessert

Some of the best evenings can be spent simply talking with friends. But don’t sit around your living room. If you’ve already eaten and want to hit the town for a couple hours, call up your friends and go to a nearby frozen yogurt bar. Pile your bowl with the tastiest toppings, grab an outdoor table, and enjoy a few laughs. If frozen yogurt isn’t your thing, split a dessert at a restaurant.

10. Take a Class

Are you ready to try your hand at something new? Spice it up and take a one-time class with friends. Check with your local community center or lifestyle center for upcoming classes. You may stumble upon a variety of pay-as-you-go classes costing as little as $10 per session. Dancing, cooking, fitness, pottery — take your pick and have fun! (See also: 10 Classes That Pay for Themselves)

How do you hang out with your friends without spending much?

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