7 Tips for Socializing on a Budget

I'm sure you love hanging out with your friends. I know I do! But all those Girls' Nights Out and trips to the movies can really start to add up. And that doesn't even include the cost of a babysitter for some of you! If you don't want to sacrifice the chance to see friends (or just get out of the house!) you don't have to. Try some of my favorite things to do for free.

1. Playdates

These are so easy peasy. Text your friends (free), set out a miscellaneous array of food from your pantry (also free), and catch up on some much needed "big kid" conversation. Playdates saved my sanity when our son was first born. If I didn't converse with other adults I started using "baby talk" full time. Trust me, it wasn't very  attractive!

2. MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Groups

This group is an absolute lifesaver. Check out their site here to see if there's a group near you and then RUN to their next meeting. You will not regret it! Yes, there is a yearly fee but it's minimal and includes free on-site childcare for every meeting. The friendships I have made with these moms are absolutely priceless and I would encourage every last one of you to join, even if you feel like you don't need a support group. Being a part of MOPS makes you feel like you're a part of a community where there is nothing but understanding and support.

3. Library Events

Making new friends can be really hard as an adult, especially if you've moved to a new city! It was extreme loneliness that drove me to take my son to our local library's Children's Storytime. There were plenty of other moms there and it felt so good to talk to an adult! I got really lucky during my first visit because a woman invited me to join a mom's group, which brings me to my next suggestion...

4. Meetup Groups

Meetup.com is the one of the first places I check when I move to a new city. It's not healthy to spend all of your time inside and alone with a baby and there are tons of people getting together through that site. Some of our local moms started their own group of about 8 women. Within a year their number had grown to over 100! This just shows the power of Meetup. (A word of caution: Always, always be careful about giving out any personal information that could put you or your little one in danger. Safety first!)

5. Volunteer Opportunities

I know what you're thinking. Volunteering may be a way to meet new people but it doesn't sound like the most fun. But there are opportunities that are easy to do, even with a little one. For example, my friends are a part of a Baby Buddies group where they visit assisted living residents. The men and women really enjoy getting to see the little ones and having visitors, and you get a chance to meet other people while contributing to a good cause. Everybody wins!

6. Potluck Nights

Grilled Cheese and Wine party anyone? My family did potlucks for every holiday, every game night, and every football game because it gave us a cheaper opportunity to get together. And it's less stressful because you're not responsible for all of the cooking. Amen to that!

7. Free Museums and Art Galleries

There are so many free admission museums and art galleries, you just need to look for them! Most of our local museums will do free admission Thursdays, while others will do free admission during a certain period of time.

It can be hard to make the switch from meeting your friends at the movies every week to pot lucking your own picnic at the park. But making the effort to save money will really pay off in the long run and make you feel good to boot!

How do you save money when getting together with friends and family?

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