It’s happened to all of us. Your girlfriends start brainstorming expensive adventures you can all go on, only to realize your wallets contain more dust than dollars. While you envisioned a Kardashian-worthy travel extravaganza, your bank account says “Hell to the no!” Not to worry. You can still hang with your friends without spending big bucks because friendship has no price tag. There are actually many cheap and even free activities your posse can do while still having a blast.
Does your group of fabulous females enjoy learning? Could you see yourselves exploring stunning architecture and taking in the views of monuments? Or are you more of a laid-back bunch, toasting marshmallows over a campfire while sipping beer? From museums, to parks, to just having a girls' night in, here are some of the most budget-friendly yet fun activities for female bonding. You’ll be kicking yourselves that you didn’t think of these ideas sooner.
Have every lady bring the ingredients of their favorite cocktails and spend the night tasting each drink while catching up on old times. To make things more interesting, you could make it a throwback 1950’s cocktail party theme, complete with frilly dresses and lace gloves – don’t forget the doilies! Or get as comfy as possible with a wacky pajama party. If you really enjoy planning detailed get-togethers, consider judging each drink based on different categories including most creative, craziest garnish, and weirdest flavor. The winner can receive a prize but let’s be real… everyone’s a winner when they’re happily hammered.
Head to the local park and lay out a good ol’ fashioned picnic blanket large enough to fit all of your girlfriends. Nibble on homemade finger foods while relaxing with your favorite people. This could also give you an opportunity to get some group exercise by going on a walk or jog, but let’s be honest, whipping out sinful chocolate brownies sounds way better. Going to the park is not only free, but there are usually hundreds of parks in each state. Perhaps you could make a bucket list to visit them all, and collect a keepsake from each location.
Yard sales and flea markets are a great way to fulfill your urge to shop while still remaining budget-friendly. Make sure to check out local newspapers and online yard sale groups a few days before so you can plan your thrifty itinerary accordingly. You may want to make sure whoever drives has a big trunk because it’s inevitable that while you plan to only buy tiny trinkets, someone will impulsively buy a giant antique rocking chair. Oh, and make sure one of your friends is a good haggler. A talented woman who can talk down the price from five dollars to three dollars is a valuable asset.
When we were younger the scariest things we could think of were monsters. Now our stories may involve cracked cell phone screens and men with commitment issues. Whether you go to an actual campsite or build a fire in a best friend’s back yard, this activity is sure to be nostalgic and fun. Bring marshmallows, a few wine coolers, and some blankets to snuggle up in. Put your hood over your head and shine a flashlight on your face, while telling creepy tales to give your friends chills, and funny stories to make them laugh. It’ll be a night to remember.
Almost every town has free museums whether they’re focused on local history or full of beautiful art. Take a day trip to expand your minds and learn about things you never knew. From paintings, to sculptures, to war memorabilia, sometimes learning about other cultures or countries gives you an appreciation for the little things. Just be careful with taking photos, as most museums do not allow photography indoors. And make sure that one clumsy friend (we’ve all got one) remains in the middle of the room and doesn’t touch anything. Because your visit is no longer free when you receive a bill for breaking a 500 year-old clay vase.
There is nothing like a classic night of board games. Rule number 1 of game night? Put your phones away! In order for everyone to be invested in the games, they shouldn’t be distracted by their phones. Have a basket in the corner of the room where everyone can put their cell phones. Unless they hear a notification, they’re not allowed to grab it. This makes game night even more intense, which is needed when fighting over Monopoly pieces. Actually, if you want to keep your friendship, perhaps Monopoly is not the best choice…best to stick with charades or Uno.
Get the girls together, get in the car, and start driving. Don’t make a decision on where to go until the mood strikes. Blare 80’s tunes to maximize the road trip experience. As awe-inspiring as the unknown is, there is one thing you should plan in this scenario and that’s agreeing ahead of time that everyone will bring cash for gas. Nothing will bring down the high of a trip faster than being stranded on the side of a busy highway. Hitchhiking is not as glamourous as an Aerosmith music video will lead you to believe. +10 cool points for your chosen vehicle being a convertible.
Crafts are a great way to de-stress. Have everyone bring craft supplies and let your creativity flow. See an idea on Pinterest you’ve been dying to try? You can finally do it! Or, don’t plan and see where it leads. Adding wine to the equation is never a bad idea, just make sure not to spill it all over the crafts, as um, some of us may have learned from experience. Some of the simplest crafts you could make are greeting cards, pennant banners, and collages. Are you a scrapbooker? Work on that page you’ve been putting off all year!
Save money by spending only a day at the beach. Hotels are usually overpriced during the summer anyway so this is a smart activity if you’re willing to wake up early. Leave in the morning to try and beat traffic. It’s also beneficial to arrive early so you can get a premium spot on the sandy beach. Pack tons of sunscreen, magazines, and a change of clothes. After the beach, you can stop by a cheap boardwalk restaurant before heading home. It’s a nice way to experience a little slice of the ocean without taking a big slice of money out of your bank account.
This activity is perfect for lovers of old architecture. Every state has their own historical landmarks and buildings, and you can make it a goal to visit each one, whether it takes a day or several trips. Take the time to examine the intricate details and inscribed words you never noticed before. This could also make a good backdrop for some awesome friend selfies, which would be especially perfect when the weather is just right. Just because you can’t afford to travel far, doesn’t mean you can’t experience grand historical monuments. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to…
Have any recipes you’ve been dying to try? If your friends also like to bake and love eating even more, a day in the kitchen is a delicious option. To make this more girly, have everyone bring their own apron and oven mitts. The most difficult part of this activity is not eating all the raw cookie dough before the oven is finished pre-heating. Make sure there are other things to snack on before your ingredients are already starting digestion in the bellies of hungry females. From cookies, to brownies, to cake, or even a healthy fruit salad, this is something everyone can participate in and reap the benefits.
Climb to the top of a high mountain peak and take in the stunning views that nature has to offer. Is your group of gals not the hiking type? No problem! If you’re in a city, venture to the top floor of the tallest building. Sometimes just taking in gorgeous views with the ones you love is a great feeling. A third option is to sit out on a friend’s roof and chat about life while looking up at the stars. Obviously, one of your friends has to have an accessible roof, or literally be Spiderman. Either way, it’s something we don’t do often enough.
Say cheese! You most likely have 500 selfies of yourself but how many do you have of you and your best friends? The answer is probably not nearly enough. While partaking in any of the listed activities make sure to document it, and have fun doin’ it! Whether you have a professional camera or a self-timer on your phone, photos of your gal pals are a free keepsake that you’ll cherish for years to come. Just be prepared to have to take each picture over 20 times, as it’s a necessary rule for females to approve all photos of themselves.