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How to Hang Out With Friends On a Budget - 8 Hangout Codes
How to Hang Out With Friends On a Budget - 8 Hangout Codes
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How to Hang Out With Friends On a Budget - 8 Hangout Codes

Doreen Gathoni
December 3, 2021

Relationships are an investment that requires effort on your part. This means investing time, money and yourself (plus a little more).

This is never more obvious than when money is tight and you’re required to beat the FOMO (fear of missing out) to spare your finances.   

Boredom is a strong motivator to overspend.

Especially now when surrounded by adverts on travel offers, retail sales, happy hour offers and the Christmas decorations in the malls - this can bring a bit of cheer albeit with a hint of sadness.  

Now, think about the last invite you got from a friend and the flash of feeling special and excited – closely followed by the question, “how much will this cost?”

It can be frustrating.   

The “Ghosting”, small lies and ignoring of calls that follows, eventually turn out to be costly too.

This is probably how more war stories start about how money and friendship is like oil and water compared to the few, “money being a tool for friendship” success stories.

So, can you navigate money matters and friend(s) without destroying your social life? Turns out you can.

All you need is to stick to your choice - to hangout or not because you simply want to or don’t want to and not because of tight money issues.

Hangout Code #1 – Pay Attention To What You & Your Friends Like

First, pay attention to your socialising preferences and your set entertainment budget.

Secondly, consider your friend(s) socialising preferences and “how much will it cost?”

Third, understand “how much it will cost” by selecting activities everyone will enjoy and comparing these against your budget. 

  • Please remember, you don’t have to do everything – schedule some activities for later and stand out as the “organised, fun one’’

 Hangout Code #2 -Spontaneous Is Fine. Planning Is Better

TIP: Did you know that happy hour, breakfast or lunch deals; off-season entry fee offers (etc.) are a marketing and sales tactic to attract more people?

Be careful not to ignore a place, service or activity because you think it’s ‘‘too cheap’’ to be good, instead check it out and discover what’s good.

Take note of the offers and save time and money. Items to consider are:-

  • Advance booking fees (where applicable) especially due to Covid-19 safety measures
  • Make reservations (where applicable)
  • Collect coupons or gift cards for restaurants, art shows especially art exhibitions/trade shows where they’re free
  • Admission fees (off peak rates vs. peak time rates) consideration for museums, tourist destinations, outdoor activities (e.g.) hiking, zip lining, paintball, nature trail trips, theatre

Hangout Code #3 - Cut Your Drink Bill

Yes, having a few drinks at home and having drinks out has a different vibe yet focusing on enjoying your friend(s) over the thrill of ambience, is quite rewarding and it’s quite the money-saving bonus.

So, opt to skip the pub for a private social drinking / social hangout.

As the host, go for these budgeting tips:-

  • Shop at supermarkets for food, snacks, drinks and liquor or wholesale liquor stores
  • Cash in on the regular, weekly offers by restaurants that offer delivery services too

TIP: If you and your friend(s) really want to go out for drinks - select happy hour and special offers at clubs, pubs and restaurants.

Hangout Code #4 - Shopping Trips Are On A Need-To Basis

We all have buying impulses for different things, like food, plants, jewelry, décor, clothes, food (etc.) and that is why window shopping is out-of-the-question too.

 Thankfully, there are specific exceptions. For example:- 

  • Holiday shopping, back-to-school shopping, bridesmaid/groomsmen shopping, antique shopping trips

If this is the plan, agree to tag along only after a specific schedule and spending amount is set and only if you need to buy something too.

Hangout Code #5 – Go To The Parks & Picnic Sites

Do you remember when park and picnic site visits were the highlight of a family outing?

Whether you have or haven’t had this outdoor experience – this is a scenic hangout option that’s often free-to-low entry charges. Some fun activities you can engage in are:-

  • A picnic with home-cooked dining options and affordable snacks (e.g.) sodas, fruit, crisps
  • Games like a friendly football match, mini-pocket board games, sing-along team activities (which is a fun way to break from ones comfort zone and loosen everyone up)
  • Simply relax and watch the kids play and/or join in (this is a hands-on, fun option for you and your friends who are parents or guardians. There’s something for everyone to have a good time (e.g.) playing on the swings
  • Meeting new people is a very real possibility due to the unrestricted access benefits of a park and picnic sites, which often has lots of like-minded people who are there to hangout too

Hangout Code #6 - Stay In. Maximise On-Location / Property Amenities

If you are fortunate enough to own or live where residents have leisure facilities available, enjoy them with your friend(s). 

  • For example, if you have resident access to the pool, gym, sauna treat yourself and your friend(s) to a private “vacation-like-hangout”\

Fortunately, as a tenant, these facilities are free for you and your guests – so, go ahead and share the fun.

Hangout Code #7 - Enjoy Your Space With Others

Technology has its benefits and consequently it gets easier to buy-and-sell, so the sooner you get started on budgeting, the easier and more rewarding it gets for you.

According to Entertainment and Media’s (E&M) An African Perspective (Outlook): 2018-2022 report, as disposable income improves, the digital E&M industry will also experience an uptick.

Some suggestions for a little-to-no spending hangout include:-

  • Host a movie night as a fun way to maximise your Netflix and other cable TV channel access
  • Barbecue/Cookout for a low-cost, home-cooked dining experience
  • Mixtape dance off is a classic and an exciting one
  • Create a playlist of you and your friend(s)’ top hits and challenge each other to a dance off (just cue the music, set the refreshments’ and meals and dance)
  • Host or include a karaoke session
  • It may not be a grammy-award show but its TikTok and Insta’ gold for fun, hilarious videos and snapshot shares
  • Host a video game tournament
  • Video games are quite popular and a modern-day favourite pastime today – so upgrade the experience with prizes or have a ‘‘truth or dare’’ wager for players. This will definitely keep things interesting.

Hangout Code #8 - Get Better Friend(s) & Be A Better Friend

Last but not least, evaluate the quality of your friendships.  

After all life is always better with the right friend(s), which means you have a role to play in nurturing good friendships and vice-versa.                   

Here are key things to keep in mind:-    

  • The quality of time shared is also valuable just as the money spent
  • You can actually engage in hassle-free activities, like shared interests that are a fun such as  board games, a friendly football match, gardening, a swap hangout.
  • Be honest with yourself
  • If you have mastered your budget but you find yourself in compromising situations that do not seem to get better, it could be time to move on or to adjust your priorities.
  • This could mean ending some friendships to focus on positive relationships that appreciate and value you, as a person and as a friend through thick-n’-thin.


Understandably, it's hard to be 100% upfront about your financial situation – but remember with the right budget and the right company, where you live and whatever your situation, there are lots of fun, affordable places to go and activities to do.

Friendship should not feel like a punishment or a subscription and with the eight ideas shared; you have at least 4-8 weeks of pre-planned fun ideas.

Which will you try first?

Gathoni is a skilled content developer with over 5 years of experience in content development as a graphic design and copywriter, in different industry sectors. Her passion to nurture positive, stronger, communication impact continues. You can find her on LinkedIn here.

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