Hey y’all! I’m back with some more money saving advice because saving those dollars and learning how to become financially independent is so important. What is financial independence you ask? According to everyone’s favorite website, Wikipedia (my college professors are screaming at me right now), financial independence “is the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live, without having to work actively for basic necessities. For financially independent people, their assets generate income and/or cash flow.” HELLO?! Yes. Being financially independent basically means your money works for you, not the other way around.
I think that’s a concept everyone can get behind.
So, in order to hop on the financially independent train, we first have to learn how to save our money and practice what I like to call “smart spending” – spending our money on things that we need and not things that we want. This doesn’t have to mean that we have to stop spending money on everything that isn’t a necessity but you should start cutting back now so you can build up that emergency fund / savings account. Priorities, people, we need them to keep our life balanced.
Today, I’m going to help you eliminate one area of spending that most everyone can agree on – continuously going out with friends and spending money on drinks / food. This was one area where I had the tendency to lose track of how much I was spending and before I knew it I had blown through an entire paycheck and had nothing left over to throw in my savings account. This is not good. Let’s all agree that if we are finding ourselves doing this more often than we’d care to admit then we are going to take this article seriously and start saving our paychecks for groceries and not taco bell. Perfect. Glad we are on the same page.
Here are 8 ways you can hang out with your friends, have a good time, and not spend all your precious earnings on $3 Old Fashions at the local bar downtown on Tuesday nights.
1. Go on a hike.
Here’s the great thing about hikes – they’re free AND you’re being active and healthy. Why don’t we all do this more often?! (Says the girl whose gone on one hike in the past year…) I have a couple friends who hike at least twice a week with friends and they L-O-V-E it. It’s a great way to be with friends and leave your wallet at home.
2. Take turns buying a couple bottles of (cheap) wine every other week and get together for your own “Paint and Sip” class at home.
Listen guys, adult coloring books are like $4 at Walgreens and Trader Joe’s coined the phrase “two buck chuck” for a reason. Grab a couple bottles and a couple books and go relieve some tension at a friend’s house for a total of $10 – $15. You won’t regret this decision.
3. Plan family dinners.
This is something my husband and I did in college with a group of our friends a few times and it was so much fun. We’d all take turns providing the “entree” and everyone else would sign up to bring the appetizers, drinks and desserts. We’d meet up on Sunday and cook together, drink together, talk about the week and watch a movie. These are some of my fondest memories and we didn’t even do it all that often. There’s something special about sitting down to dinner with a group of friends at home. Try it out.
4. Hang out at a park and have an old fashioned picnic all day.
We did this a couple of weeks ago and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. We met up at 2 on Sunday, had some barbecue, some chips and cheap beer and spent our day outside talking and playing yard games. At the end of the day we organized a huge game of capture the flag and one broken collar bone later we were all asking ourselves why we don’t plan these events every weekend. Get outside and remind yourself that picnics were invented for a reason – because they’re really freaking fun.
5. Dude. Get out the board games and play those for a night.
When was the last time you guys played Monopoly or Life or Sorry?! Board games are fun as a kid but playing a board game as an adult with your friends when you all understand the rules and you don’t have to walk a child through every step of the game is a F**KING BLAST. Do yourself a favor. Get out the board games.
6. Poker nights are a blast too.
My dad has a group of friends that have been meeting up every Monday night for the last decade to play poker and I have never seen someone look forward to something more in my life. His poker nights are so special to him. I’ve sat in on a few (and have even won some quarters!!) and let me tell you, organizing a poker night is something I have been wanting to do for YEARS. They all save up their change and that’s all they play with. No stress to spend a bunch of money. Whatever you have that’s what you play with. They talk and play and relax for hours every Monday. That’s friendship goals to me.
7. There are a bunch of museums that are free – go be cultured for a day together.
Here’s the thing that people often overlook, there are a lot of museums in almost every city that are free. Do something different and go hang out at a museum for the day. Here a few examples of free admission museums in LA – The Getty and The Getty Villa (you pay for parking, not for admission), The Broad, LACMA (free on the second Tuesday of the month and after 3pm Monday-Friday for LA residents), MOCA Grand Ave (free every Thursday from 5-8pm), Torrance Art Museum, and many more. A quick Google search can help you find free museums in your area. Go get cultured!
8. Photo Scavenger Hunt
My husband and I did this a few times with a group of friends and it was some of the most innocent fun we’ve ever had. You come up with a list for each team to get pictures of. For example, a few things on our list included a picture in the highest place possible, a picture where everyone is wearing an apron, a picture with a police officer, etc. You split up into teams, set a time limit, and plan a place to meet up at the end to figure out who the winning team is. Usually we’d have it set that the losing team then buys the winning team drinks but we’re trying to save our money in this article so get creative and come up with a more clever prize, such as the losing team does the dishes for the winning team.
These are just a few ways to save some money and still have a good time with your friends. Get creative. There are THOUSANDS of ways to have fun without spending your money.
If you think I missed something major, comment below and let me know what you and your friends do to save that money and still have a good time together!