10 Ideas for Socializing on a Budget

If you are like me, you are fortunate to have some amazing friends. I would love to grab cocktails or get pedicures with them all of the time, but frequent outings like that can quickly add up. A lot of my girlfriends have been cognitive of their budgets as well from saving for a house or being in grad school, so over the years we have gotten creative with our "girls' night" ideas. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Coffee date

Though not original, a long coffee date with your bestie can be gold. I love meeting with old friends to leisurely sip lattes and iced coffee over lots and lots of laughs. If you are in the Raleigh area, be sure to check out Jubala. A little pricier, but the coffee is superb and the place is adorable. Cost: $2-$7 (it's so affordable, I am able to buy my friend's cup of joe!)

2. Cocktail and Appetizer

There is a restaurant that my friends and I love, but dinner can get a little pricey. And honestly, the best part of this place are the cocktails. They have a special once a week for $5 cocktails and $5 appetizers, so we sit at the bar, talk unabashedly loudly, and enjoy a mini meal with a mini price tag. Cost: $10 + tip

3. Donut Date

I am pretty sure the cupcake craze has been replaced by it's sugary sweet cousin: the donut. There are SO many delicious donut places popping up, especially in North Carolina. Some of my favorites are Rise, Duck Donuts, and Daylight. Pair it with a cup of coffee for the perfect brunch date! Cost: $3-$7

4. Pool day

So many neighborhoods, condos, and apartment complexes have pools. If you or your friend are lucky enough to live in a place with this amenity, be sure to take advantage! Splurge on your favorite magazine or check out a book from the library to enjoy poolside. Just don't forget the SPF. Cost: $0-$5

5. Potluck dinner at home

This is especially nice around the holidays. My group of gal pals will gather at someones home and then bring a dish of their choice to create a full-blown meal. Pick a theme (southern foods, finger foods, etc) or make it a free for all. A potluck dinner is really fun and super easy on the hostess. Cost: $5 - $10

6. Wine tasting at home

Similar to the potluck idea, but swap food for wine! Have each guest bring their favorite bottle of wine to share. You can do a blind tasting where you hide the labels or a more laid back evening of just trying new varieties. Have a few friends bring the ingredients for a delicious charcuterie plate instead of wine to complete the soiree! Cost: $6-$12

7. Vineyard

In NC, there are many lovely vineyards to visit (Brian and I have traveled to quite a few of them.) :) One thing typically offered at a vineyard is a wine tasting. They give you a glass and let you sample a handful of their different wines. I personally love hearing how each wine is made and the ingredients that make it unique. Often, they'll let you keep the glass and you have a fun souvenir to take home. Check out Groupon for deals! Cost: $9-$12

8. Brewery or Wine Shop

I'm convinced there are just as many breweries as grocery stores in North Carolina. Ok, that's probably an exaggeration, but new breweries and wine shops seem to be opening overnight! Meet a friend for a brew or glass of vino. Check out Raleigh Beer Garden, Wine Feed, Bond Brothers, Trophy, and Fullsteam Brewery. Cost: $3-$6

9. Take an exercise class

Whether you're into yoga or spinning, it is always a little less daunting to try a new excercise class with a buddy! A lot of smaller studios and gyms permit walk-ins or single class options. Not only will you get to hang out with a friend, you'll also get your workout in for the day! Cost: $10-$20

10. Meet at a lake or greenway

If you are a dog owner, runner, or power-walker, meeting at a local lake, park, greenway, or trail is a great way to catch up with friends without spending any money. Soak up some vitamin D and enjoy the great outdoors while logging your steps! Cost: $0

Elizabeth Burns Design | 10 Budget Friendly Ideas for Socializing with Friends