13 ideas to try solo, with a group or with someone special…

Everything costs so much these days! The good news is that it doesn’t have to. You don’t need to hit the hot club downtown with the $15 cover and minimum bottle service charges and you don’t need the $30+ bottle of wine . Why not try to think outside of the box and find ways to have fun for free? It doesn’t mean that you are a cheapskate or aren’t good enough for the club; it simply means that you’re a savvy spender that enjoys the finer things with hard work and creativity.
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#1. Movie In The Park

movie in the park
Many major cities offer movie nights at city parks that anyone can attend. Bring a blanket and a few snacks from home and enjoy a film under the stars. Events often begin with a local band performing, so the party can be appropriate for young and old alike.

#2. Dog Park

Since everyone under 35 seems to have a dog nowadays, the dog park can be a great place to socialize. Go on a date and connect with laughing at the crazy dog antics. Or go solo and meet some new friends. Keep in mind that some cities require certain permits in order to use some parks, so do your homework before the park police show up.

#3. Art Crawl

Artists love to show off their work, and it’s a lot easier to see for free than you’d think. Neighborhood art crawls give locals the chance to check out artisans and crafters right on the street. Artists that live in dedicated apartments that double as studios often open their doors once a month for folks looking to immerse themselves in creativity.Sometimes they even have free wine and cheese (or beer and snacks).

#4. Free Museum Nights

museum night
While on the subject of art, why not get a true gallery experience without the gallery prices? Most museums offer one day or evening a month where admission is free. These events often also include interactive exhibits or lessons. Science, history, and children’s museums also offer these free days as well so do your homework!

#5. Take A Hike

There is nothing like getting out in the fresh air so why not pack a little picnic and check out the local nature? Whether right in the city or in a rural area, there are state parks and city run trails all over the country. Some state parks do require permits, but day passes are often less than the cost of parking downtown

#6. Attend a Meet Up

Meetup.com is a place online where anyone can start a group dedicated to whatever they want. From game board lovers to craft beer enthusiasts, there are meet ups happening all over the country every day. While there could be ancillary costs associate with some meet ups (think rock climbing fees, bar tabs, etc.) but some meet ups are literally just people hanging out.

#7. The Beach

Some days all you need is a blanket and book to have an amazingly relaxing time. Take a dip, play a little volleyball, or just lounge in the sun all while enjoying that great (and free) sea breeze.

#8. Free Class

Many local community centers or craft stores offer free classes once a month. Take a shot at something new that could turn into a great hobby. From kettlebells to yoga or needlepoint to Spanish, there are free classes all over town.

#9. Give Back

Have a little extra time on your hands and want to do some good? Why not check out local volunteer opportunities? Spending an afternoon petting puppies at the humane shelter will surely warm your heart. There are many websites that can help you find tons of volunteer opportunities in your area, with varying levels of commitment.

#10. Host A Dance Party

dance party
A great Spotify list, some funky lights, and a BYOB policy is the recipe for the perfect night of fun. Try mixing it up by hosting 90s night and challenge your guests to dress in their favorite old school fashion. The pictures that end up on social media will either impress or need to be erased.

#11. Have A Cook Off

Everyone is obsessed with all of the cutthroat cooking shows out there, so why not throw your own? If you don’t have an industrial size kitchen, try hosting a chili or soup party. People bring their own crockpots full of warm goodness and vie for the title of most spicy.

#12. Join A Book Club

While it doesn’t sound that sexy, book clubs are actually quite stimulating. Let the DVR catch the latest episode of that zombie drama and discuss some fine literature. You may meet new lifelong friends and rekindle that old passion for the written word.

#13. Get Wet & Wild

water fight
Why not go back to your youth and have a good old fashioned water gun fight? We all desperately wanted a Super Soaker back in the day, but those dollar store squirt guns will do. If you want to get really crazy, throw some water balloons in the mix. Double points are awarded for home-made slip and slides.
Just because you’re not spending money, doesn’t mean you can’t be having a great time!

Credit Zero to Credit Hero in No Time Flat. When I say "I've been there," I mean it.