When you have financial goals, like paying off debt and saving money, sometimes the hardest part is not the money aspect – it’s saying no to all the social events that cost you money.
- The winery tours
- The party buses
- Bar Crawls
- Short destinations that cost way too much
- Swanky dinners
- Bachelor & Bachelorette parties
- Trips to sporting events
I will be the first person to admit that delaying gratification, not saying yes to every party, and not attending every trip or wedding is at first a challenge. But who says you can’t have fun with your friends and do it for FREE?
You just gotta know how to promote fun things to do that are FREE! Here is a quick list of 40 fun things to do with friends!
40 Fun Things To Do With Friends Without Spending Much
Cutting the cable, losing the gym membership, reconfiguring bad cell phone plans and reducing your overspending will certainly help you save more money.
Just getting on a budget can seemingly create a couple of hundred dollars you didn’t think you had. But getting rid of the wasted spending that you incur to have fun with your friends is key to your financial future.
Saying no is hard, but what if you can find ways to have fun for free?
1. Get outdoors
Go play outside.
There is so much you can do with your friends for free within an hour driving distance, no matter where you live.
A simple Google search, “Things to do outside ”, will net you over a million results.
Plus, the sun always makes you happy. You can go on a nature walk, take your dog to the park, or just find a nice body of water to sit by!
2. Free concerts
Let’s say you want to go to a live concert.
What most people do is they get their ticket. Next, they search for something like “Tucson party buses near me” to get to the concert. After that, they load up their cooler with drinks and even stop to get dinner on their way.
In between renting the party bus, grabbing drinks/food, and the concert ticket, you’re already spent well over $150 (per person).
However, who said you have to rent a party bus and pay for a concert when there are probably free concerts around you every weekend! Seriously…
Simply go to Eventbrite, input your location and look for free concerts in your area. Some might require admission, but there are plenty of free concerts around town during the summer.
Most will try to upsell the food trucks and beer vendors, but since you’re trying to have fun for free, make sure you eat prior to going!
3. Fun things to do with your friends – Play Sports
Get together and go play some sports.
Go find a basketball court or tennis court nearby and just have fun, even if you all really stink. Come up with creative games like “Tennis around the world.”
For the sports that require more people like kickball, just create a big group text a few days before or start an email chain where you meet every 4th Thursday to play pick-up sports.
4. Have a movie night.
- Pick a Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Flick…. or go to the dusty DVD holder, pick out a top 5, and vote on which DVDs you and your friends want to watch.
- Make some popcorn
- See who falls asleep first
Movie nights are fun and FREE! If you want to get really crazy, watch a trilogy like Lord of The Rings!
While watching movies you can make things interesting by completing surveys and seeing who can make the most money over the course of one movie.
Just get out your phone, pick one of the survey companies below, and get to answering! See if you can make $10-$15 in the next hour:
5. Visit a city late night.
Chances are you are within 30 minutes of a big city. Grab your friends, hop in the car and go cruise around a city late at night (Like 11 pm late) and just observe the nightlife.
Hopefully, the weather is really nice and you can cruise around the city with the windows down just observing the nightlife.
6. Workout together
Friends who work out together, stay together. That’s the saying, right?
Hold each other accountable and go work out with your friends. Fun things to do with your friends don’t have to revolve around the traditional ideas of fun.
Besides, exercise helps with stress and releases endorphins that will actually give you energy and make you feel better. Some of the best times to workout – Friday or Saturday evenings.
7. Go camping.
Start with the idea of going somewhere nearby where you can place a tent (legally) and where you don’t need a lot of experience camping.
Bring along all necessary things to be able to forage and stay there long enough with no need for any kind of purchase.
Keep your cell phones off, bring bug spray and detach from the real world for a night or two! Here is how I go camping – one of my favorite free things to do with friends:
- Download the free app called All Trails
- With some grandma birthday wishes money or perhaps use a side hustle to make money, get the gear you need:
- One person hiking tent
- Camping sleeping bag (consider the cold temperature rating)
- Sleeping pad (not required but highly recommended)
- Food & water
- Plan a trip with your friends and go have some camping fun!
Oh, don’t forget to make a fire, that is half the fun, just be safe about it!
8. Have a board game night.
Who doesn’t love nerding out over some board games?
Have each person bring one board game, start playing and see where the night takes you. Consider board games like:
- Settlers of Catan
- Cards Against Humanity
- Speak Out
- Ticket to Ride
9. Bar hop – but just to people watch.
Go from bar to bar like you would have a couple of years ago (When you were blowing money) but just to watch your past self and laugh with your friends. Talk about fun.
10. Have a clothing swap night.
This might be more reserved for women, but set up a clothing swap night.
Everyone brings their slightly used clothes they no longer wear and they trade. You will get some new clothes, lose the old ones and prevent buyer’s remorse :).
11. Visit past childhood hangouts for fun!
Did you used to go to a special park or perhaps your parents would take you to a small breakfast diner growing up?
Regardless of what it was, make it a day trip and have fun visiting some of the childhood places you used to frequent!
12. Host a pot luck.
Pick a night, tell everyone to bring a dish, and host a potluck. There is nothing more fun than hanging with your friends and eating some food.
To stick with the theme of FREE fun – nobody can go buy anything, they have to make it. It is up to you whether or not you have a theme or not for the evening!
Here is the catch: Everyone has to use ingredients they already have at home (no buying).
13. Play manhunt.
What were the best summer nights in middle school?
The nights when you played manhunt (No flashlights allowed).
If you’re looking for fun things to do with friends at night, manhunt certainly is in the top 5. Just be sure you lay out the ground rules and be mindful you’re an adult.
Hiding in your neighbor’s bushes might seem a little weird if they see you!
14. Sing karaoke – at home.
Use YouTube lyric videos, hook your phone up to a speaker and have a rocking karaoke night with all your friends. Trust me on this one – you will laugh!
While you don’t need to have a microphone, if you buy an affordable karaoke machine, it will for sure make the experience better! Make sure you have people get out of their comfort zone and sing!
15. Create a scavenger hunt.
One friend from the group will have to bite the bullet and organize the scavenger hunt, but it will be fun.
Split up into two teams, make a list for your friends to follow, and see who finishes first. Make them go around town doing silly things like:
- Get a picture riding a statue
- Leave one sock in a fountain
- Find a lookalike and take a photo
- Take a picture in front of the courthouse
- Ask someone for a $1
16. Go for a hike.
See where you can go hiking nearby and meet your friends there early one morning. If you’re looking for a good spot, simply search for “Hiking trails near me” or even better, download the All Trails app.
What you will discover is that there are countless places to hike or explore ranging from a few miles to all-day excursions! Pack a lunch or a few snacks, grab some old shoes and go hiking.
Leave your phone behind or place it on airplane mode and escape for a few hours!
17. Host a book club.
Simply reach out to your friend group, tell them you want to host a book club night in 3 weeks, and then provide some coffee. Everyone can come over and talk about their book and enjoy some good company together!
During the pandemic, people started doing this over Zoom and Facetime. It was a great way to hang with people across the country safely and discuss books they were reading!
18. Do some arts & crafts.
My wife has painted with her girlfriends, made decorations, and even made dream boards. Perhaps when the guys go camping (girls are more than welcome to camp too), you can make some crafts at home with your gal friends!
19. Complete puzzles together.
Who doesn’t like doing some puzzles with friends? Find some old 500 or 1,000 piece puzzles, grab a cheap bottle of wine, and hang with your friends doing a puzzle and chatting one evening!
20. Have a cell phone free night.
Tell everyone to come over, but to leave their cellphone in the car. No matter what you do, don’t bring your cellphone. If you decide to go out and about, designate one person to bring their cell phone!
21. Cook together.
If cooking is fun for you and your friend group, then cook a meal or bake together. Another idea around the holidays is to do a cookie exchange.
22. Play heads up.
Download the app, break into teams and play heads up. You will laugh, maybe cry, but you will for sure have a good time. Just be sure to keep competitive people on the same team!
23. Go to a winery.
Most wineries will let you bring some chairs and your own food. While the wine isn’t free, you can certainly meet up with your friends and catch up on a nice sunny day!
24. Host a fake Olympics
This requires some upfront planning, but hosting an Olympics or field day is a recipe for fun.
Chances are you will need to host your Olympics where you have some space. Pre-plan the activities and let everyone know they will represent a “Country” of their choice. Award points for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place from each event.
At the end of the day, tally up all the points to see which country wins it all. For a bonus – award points to the best-dressed country or best team theme song!
25. Have a dance party.
You can be spontaneous or choreographed but have a dance party. Simply break into small groups, pick a theme for the evening, and each group has to perform.
If you want to have fun with your friends without spending money, what better way to go clubbing, than to bring the club to you!
26. Go to the museum.
Hit up the local museums in your city or even go see historical sites in small towns. Chances are you can find some historical tours close to where you live.
Besides, it is always fun to learn about the history of places!
27. Fun things to do with friends – visit the zoo!
See if there are local petting zoos in your area or even a city zoo. Get your group of friends together and go have some free fun!
28. Play charades or Scattergories
If you have never played Scattergories with a large group of friends, you’re seriously missing out! One of my favorite things to do with friends that require zero money or alcohol is to have a potluck and after hanging out, diving into some Scattergories.
The event will turn hilarious when you hear some of the words people come up with and defend!
29. Volunteer with your friends.
What is a better way to have fun with your friends than give back to the community?
There are plenty of volunteer opportunities around the community, especially during the holiday season. If you and you’re friends are looking to volunteer, here are some quick tips:
- Contact local shelters and ask how you can volunteer
- Reach out to local non-profits and see when they could use volunteers
- Get in touch with local churches and ask if they have volunteer opportunities
Someone in the friend group (You) might have to lead the way. Worst comes to worst, simply go to the park and pick up trash together!
30. Go to the local community pool.
This one is easy – when it is hot outside, go hang at the pool! Bring a small speaker, a book, some sunscreen, and go to the pool to relax and catch some rays!
31. Have Nerf gun battle.
Seriously – this is epic. If someone has a big basement, go relive your childhood memories and have an epic Nerf gun battle. You can:
- Once you’re hit 3x you need to report to your home base
- Capture the flag
- Make sure you use safety glasses (not kidding)
32. Make videos together.
Make videos using your cell phones of you guys acting out skits, dancing, or doing whatever. For ideas, simply visit TikTok and go copy your favorite celebrity or see if you can mimic the dances!
If you’re really feeling crazy – upload them to YouTube!
33. Play pranks in public.
Be careful with this one. Public pranks are all good and fun until someone takes it a little too far, but if you’re a polite pranker it can be a lot of fun.
Here are some fun & polite pranks to pull in public:
- Ask people random questions
- Sit next to someone and act like your talking to them, then point to your phone.
- Dare each other to go ask random people out on dates
34. Meet up at a coffee shop.
Up until this point, every activity on this list for fun has been free. So let’s keep it that way when you go meet your friends at the local coffee house.
If you have bought an overpriced latte there before, you’re allowed to show up and meet your friends and talk. Simply meeting up to talk can produce some of the best times in a friend group!
35. Declutter a room together.
Wait, I thought this said fund things to do with your friends? This doesn’t sound fun…
If de-cluttering a room or friend’s house doesn’t sound fun to you, then don’t do it. But for the Type-A friend group, de-cluttering a room might be the best Friday night ever.
Typically it works best if you’re helping a friend who has mild hoarding tendencies. Just make sure this is a planned event, not a spontaneous event (#40).
36. Go the beach for a the day.
Road trip!!! Get up early one morning, pack some food and drinks for the day, then drive to the beach.
Spend the entire day on the beach, wash the sand off your feet and take turns driving back home. You will be tired, but you won’t forget the impulsive day trip to the beach!!
37. Find an old rope swing.
This is going to require some inside knowledge and a sunny day. But find an old rope swing to launch yourselves into a river or creek.
If you want to have fun with your friends on a budget, what’s a better idea than hopping in at the old swimming hole!
38. Visit the animal shelter.
Similar to volunteering (#29) you can visit an animal shelter to help out, or just go to look at the pets.
If you really want a pet, but know you shouldn’t get one, this might not be in the cards for you and your friend group.
39. Get together and make a list of fun things to do with your friends.
40. Just do something spontaneous.
Recently, a few friends I know went for a run at 11 pm in the pouring rain. I thought that was such a cool idea. How spontaneous! And that will be a memory that sticks with them forever.
This article is originally on Money Life Wax.