'I tried the "playing" method to save money when I caught up with friends. It actually worked.'

"You're telling me that you want to go out for drinks?! In this economy?!"

This is a message that at least one of my friends says in our group chat when we're trying to plan a hang. It's usually sent by the person who's on their last week before payday.

Living out of home in your 20s is more of a struggle now than it was for previous generations. The cost of everything is getting higher which is forcing our priorities like maintaining friendships to lower.

Luckily (or unfortunately) for my friends, I've taken it upon myself to work out ways to see each other without any of us having to spend money.

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I've aptly called this the playing method. Why? Because most of these hacks are literally what we used to do when we were kids and teens — basically before we could drink alcohol and it became the norm to go out to dinners as a way of catching up.

Now I'm going to be honest, these methods may impact your friendships by actually making you all closer to each other. It could also result in fights and friendship splinters but that is the risk you have to take in this economy.

Here are my five hacks for how to hang out with your friends without spending any money.


Run errands.

So this hack actually requires one of you to spend money but it's money that you'd be spending regardless. You're just bringing a friend along to run errands with you. This way, you get all your chores done while also getting some free entertainment (depending on the friend of course).

The errands don't need to be extravagant like getting Ikea furniture and assembling it together (although as sad as that sounds; I do love a bit of basic construction). In fact, tasks like that could end up in some... heated disagreements.

You can go grocery shopping together or join them the next time they have to take their dog out. You also get a little sneak peek into your bestie's trolly... surely I can't be the only one who finds that fascinating.

Park hangs if the weather is nice.

One that gets a bad rap for being basic is a park hang. To be clear, I don't mean a picnic — no, picnics require food which requires money being spent.

I literally mean just sitting on some grass with your friends and having a good ol' catch-up. I also suggest watching clouds and/or if you need some quiet time, bringing books to read.

There's something about being outside that elevates the hang-out. The best part is that when you want to leave, you have so many excuses you can pull from... "I have to be home by X time," "It's getting dark shall we go," "I'm getting cold, I think we should head."

Lean on the elements, they're there for that exact reason (don't quote me on that).

Library gossip sessions are top-tier.

Unpopular opinion but the best gossip sessions take place in libraries. Everything that has to be said in a whisper is automatically 10x juicer. I don't make the rules. 


Libraries are free spaces that pretty much encourage a hangout (they definitely don't do this but if you're respectful of those around you, then why not).

It's also a great way to do the tasks that you've been putting off for a while *cough, cough* taxes *cough*. Yes, if you go to libraries to get some admin stuff out of the way, you technically are spending money but similar to running errands, it's money that you would've had to spend anyway.

A closet cleanout and fashion show.

I just know that your closet is due for a clean-out. Let's make a day of it and invite your friends to help you. They will keep you on track and may even score some free clothes in the process. The one requirement is that you have to try on and model your school uniform and/or wedding dress for them... I don't make the rules.

A podcast listening sesh.

This one is my absolute favourite. If you and your friends share the same interest in podcasts, I definitely recommend a shared listening experience. You could do this anywhere. My favourite is in the car but you could do it while walking home from work, on the train, at one of your houses or merge hacks and do it in the park. It's free entertainment that will have you giggling and/or encourage a little discussion sesh afterwards. May I recommend The Spill to get you started? 👀

What do you to do catch up with friend that doesn't break the bank? Tell us in the comments section below.

If you want more culture opinions by Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

Feature image: Supplied.

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