We're in the middle of a cost of living crisis. Here's how to have fun for free.

Life feels more expensive than it has ever been. 

Due to the rising costs of living, Australians are under immense financial pressure and for some, it's incredibly difficult to make ends meet. 

Research shows that 3.3 million Aussies are currently living in poverty, while 40 per cent of renters believe they'll struggle to pay their rent over the next three months. 

Watch: 5 money lessons your parents told you, that you should probably forget... Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

And as the cost of groceries, energy bills and fuel climb, it makes sense that we'd want to spend less on going out, or for the luxuries we used to enjoy. 

However, as the warm summer weather approaches, it's important to know that enjoying time out with friends and spending special moments without our families doesn't have to come at a cost. 

Here are five ways to be social for FREE in a cost of living crisis, according to the experts. 

1. Picnic on the beach.

Put on your cozzies, trade in your sneakers for your best thongs, fill up your old canvas bags with some snacks from your cupboard and don't forget to bring a few towels for a picnic at your local park, swimming pool or closest beach. 

Mamamia spoke to fashion designer and sustainability expert Pazit Reuven who shared it was a good way to hit "restart" on your mental health. 


"Spending a whole day on a picnic can be incredibly refreshing and offers a mini-vacation feel without leaving town," she told Mamamia. "All you need is a quiet, shaded spot in nature where you can unwind. Use what you already have in your fridge to pack a simple but tasty breakfast and lunch. It's a fantastic way to hit the restart button on your mental well-being while also enjoying quality time with your partner, family, or friends."

The best part? It costs you nothing but gives you a day filled with joy and relaxation.

2. Attend a free art show or visit a museum on a free day. 

"A cultural outing, like a free art show or museum day, feels like a mini-vacation and is easy to find in most cities," Reuven tells Mamamia

"Even if you're not an art enthusiast, these visits open your mind and can be surprisingly entertaining. Pack a sandwich and a thermos, and enjoy a break as you hop from one gallery or exhibit to another. It's a cost-free way to enrich your life while spending quality time."

For example in Sydney, on Wednesday nights the Art Gallery of New South Wales stays open late for Art After Hours where visitors are able to see the collection displays and exhibitions by night, join a guided tour, grab a drink or catch a film. There are also plenty of upcoming programs including talks, performances and workshops to discover. It's free every week and open to everyone. 

For other cities, states and territories, it's best to check out the websites that give people a chance to plan their evenings. For Melbourne, go here. Check out Perth's website for what's on here. Don't worry, Darwin has their very own guide as well here, and so does Adelaide here


Don't worry Queensland, we didn't forget about you. And last but not least, Tassie.

3. Have a 'Swap party'. 

Who doesn’t like shopping for free?

It's something Reuven tells Mamamia we should all be taking advantage of as it's a fun way to revamp your wardrobe, pantry and even the random knick knacks around your home. 

"Swap parties for clothing, books, or other items are great fun and offer a free way to refresh your stuff," she says.

"From my experience, you can find amazing items at these parties. Think about it — how many great pieces are just sitting in your closet or at home? We're all the same with this one... So if I bring my stuff and you bring yours, we can make great deals. 

"I once scored an orange cotton Donna Karan sweater that I enjoyed for a long time, among other great finds. Swapping is also a perfect hangout that allows you to meet new friends and a practical fun way to renew without spending money."

4. Throw a frozen dish potluck. 

Of course, your dishes won't actually be frozen, but your meals will have come from the back of your freezer. 

Don't go down the expired, freezer-burned chicken route, but it's good to look for the items you might have forgotten about like the packs of mince or pastry bases to make new meals!

The Australian Government estimates we waste about $20 billion on groceries every year. Whether we're forgetting what we buy or simply leaving it for too long, Kate McHugh — founder of — tells Mamamia the amount of money and food we waste each year contributed to the need for her app, which uses AI to create a custom recipe with what you have on hand. 


For your next gathering, task your loved ones with clearing out their freezer and bringing a dish so you can all enjoy each other's company while eating FREE food (technically).

5. Hike. 

I know, I know. It's a contentious topic, mostly because the last thing people want to do during a 36-degree day is spending it traversing down mountains while killing mosquitoes left, right and centre. 

But considering we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with all kinds of hiking trails for all sorts of fitness levels and people of all sizes (they even have trails for the kids!), it's not the worst habit to take up. 

Teresa McNamara wrote in an article for Mamamia that hiking helped her health for the better. 

"One of the best things that really helped me mentally to get through chronic pain is being out in nature. It has been a way of really connecting with my inner self. Here in Tasmania, we have a lot of beautiful wilderness and waterfalls, and I’m slowly making it my mission to visit as many as possible," she wrote. 

"It feeds my soul and helps to keep me active. Sometimes it is a gentle hike, others, I end up covered in mud after traversing fallen trees or climbing up muddy embankments. I complain like nothing else during the hike but once we reach the destination, I grin like a goose at the achievement."

What's one of your favourite free or low-cost activities to do? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Getty.

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