Going out to dinner is fun, but if that’s the only thing you and your friends do together, it can get a little boring. Plus, eating out is much more expensive than making food at home, so getting dinner with your besties every weekend might be putting a strain on your budget.

Luckily, there are lots of affordable things to do with friends that are much more entertaining than grabbing overpriced drinks at a loud, crowded bar. To help you make lasting memories with your friends and save a little money too, we’ve put together this list of fun group activities you probably haven’t thought of, including hosting a cooking competition. Keep reading to see our full list!


1. Host a Wine and Paint Night

Wine and Paint Class

Have you ever been to a wine and paint night? They’re super fun, but they can be expensive — tickets cost around forty dollars each. For the price of just one ticket, you and your friends can buy everything you’ll need to paint, plus some wine. If you buy the wine and have your friends bring canvases, paints, and brushes, you’ll be able to split the costs of the paint night evenly and save a bunch of money!

Unfortunately, you won’t have an instructor to teach you how to paint if you host your own wine and paint night at home. But you can watch Bob Ross and just paint along with him. Or even consider letting your imagination take over and paint whatever you want without worrying about how it looks. Or simply change up the craft based on the skills you and your friends have. So if one of you is an expert crocheter, host a wine and crochet night instead — now you will have an instructor to show you the ropes!

2. Have a Cooking Competition

Women cooking together

If you’re a fan of cooking competition shows like Iron Chef or Chopped, then you should host your own version at home! Stock your pantry with ingredients that your friends can use to cook dinner and invite them all over. When they arrive, split them up into two groups and challenge them to cook the best dinner they can within a set period of time, like maybe half an hour. If you have a big group of friends or a small kitchen, the groups should cook their dishes in separate shifts. While each group is cooking, you can walk around the kitchen and interview them about what they’re making, just like the hosts of cooking competition shows do!

When both dishes are ready, you can judge them as the neutral, unbiased host. After you’ve declared the winning group, pass around the delicious dishes and let everyone enjoy them!

3. Shop at Yard Sales or Thrift Stores

Women shopping together

Although shopping at the mall is one of the best things to do with friends, it can get pretty costly. You may tell yourself you’re just going there to window shop, but it’s hard to leave the mall without buying anything, especially if your girlfriends encourage you to treat yourself to some new clothes (which, by the way, you can still do on a budget). You’ll probably end up grabbing lunch with your besties while you’re there too, so your wallet could end up being a hundred dollars lighter by the time you leave.

Instead of spending lots of money on full-price clothes at the mall, why not shop at discount stores with your friends? Hunting for great deals at Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, thrift stores, and yard sales is just as fun as going to the mall, if not more so. You can even challenge each other to see who can find the best deal of the day and save the most money!

If you don’t have any money in your budget for shopping, you and your girlfriends can get together and trade your unwanted clothes, shoes, and purses for free. Add in some mimosas, and it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon together!

4. Get Outside

Women riding bikes in city

If you’re searching for things to do when you’re bored, just look outside your window! No matter the season, you can always find fun things to do with friends outside in nature. When it’s warm out, you can take your bikes out and ride around an interesting part of your city or town. You can even bike down to a local lake and take a swim! Hiking, tennis, basketball, and lawn games like croquet and cornhole are all great activities to enjoy when the sun is out.

When it’s cold and snowy outside, you don’t have to retreat indoors. You can participate in fun winter activities like snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, skiing, and tubing. You can even have a snowball fight, build a snowman, or even have a winter bonfire to keep warm.

5. Have a Game Night

Group of People Playing Jenga

Game nights are one of the best things to do with friends because they’re incredibly versatile. Depending on the group of people you’re having over, you can break out irreverent games like Cards Against Humanity and Never Have I Ever, or keep it PG and play classics like Monopoly or Scrabble. If you and your friends are gamers, you can even switch things up and have a video game night.

You don’t necessarily need board games or video games to have a game night, though! Charades, telephone, and heads up seven up are all fun games to play when you’re bored with friends and don’t have any board games on hand.

6. Go to a Museum

Women at museum

Museums, zoos, and botanical gardens are all great places to spend an afternoon. You can walk around your local museum and take in the exhibits while you chat and catch up with your girlfriends. Sounds nice, right?

Museums are pretty affordable too, so you should definitely make this your next outing! Some museums are free, and even the ones that aren’t often have free days. So visiting your local museum or botanical garden won’t put a big dent in your budget.

7. Work Out Together

Women jogging together

Working out with a friend is super motivating. When you’re twenty minutes into your run and you feel like you want to give up, you can get some encouragement to keep going from your bestie. Having a workout partner also means that you can try a bunch of cool new exercises that stretch different muscles, like the holding hands squat. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try one of those partner yoga poses where one partner lifts the other person up into the air with their feet!

8. Have a Spa Day

women having a spa day

Going to the spa is the ultimate girls’ day, but it can get pretty pricey! Facials alone cost $80, so if you want to get other treatments too, you may end up spending hundreds of dollars. But luckily, you and your friends can do the same beauty treatments at home for less!

You can make your own face masks out of ingredients like oats, honey, and bananas, or buy readymade sheet masks to get glowing skin. If everyone brings their favorite nail polishes, you can take turns giving each other manicures and pedicures too. Wear fluffy robes, light a few candles, and play some relaxing music to really feel like you’re at the spa!

In conclusion, you don’t have to go out to fancy dinners or buy expensive concert tickets to have a great time with your friends! Spending some quality time together is all you really need to do to create unforgettable memories. So grab a cheap bottle of wine along with a board game and invite your friends over this Saturday. You might have so much fun that it becomes your new weekend tradition!

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