10+ Free (or Cheap) Friend Dates

When it’s gorgeous outside, it feels like there are a million ways you can spend time with your friends. Sunshine and a cool breeze make the time with those who “get you” that much sweeter. Often, however, it can feel like you have to go do something, like going out to eat. But that can get expensive if you’re doing that every time you get together! Here are a few ideas to get you thinking outside the box for your next friend date!


Take a Coin Flip Drive

Have you ever done a coin flip drive? You begin driving, and anytime you reach a place to turn, flip a coin. Assign heads or tails to left or right, and see where you end up! This one can clearly lead to dead ends, and that’s okay—maybe flip the coin until you see something interesting you want to check out. Make sure you either have a cd or two on hand or a Spotify playlist in tow so you can sing along while you drive!


Treat Yoself to a New Dessert

I have a major sweet tooth (I have a shirt that says #dessertfirst, so that’s where I am in life), so I’m always a fan of getting frozen yogurt or donuts. One way to switch things up is to go to a restaurant and only get dessert rather than actual food. How often do you see the dessert menu and think it looks delicious, but you either don’t want to spend more money or are already full after your food? Instead, you and your girls could each order a different dessert and have a sampling! Just eat a little something before you go so you don’t end up spending tons of money once you see (and smell) the delicious entrees.


Go to the Library & Pick Out a Free Book or Movie for Each Other

Libraries are so underappreciated–I often forget just how awesome they are. If you have a library card (and most libraries will get you a card pretty quickly if you don’t), why not rent a free book or movie? Even more fun would be to pick out something for the other person to read or watch!


Bake Together (Only Use Ingredients You Already Have)

This one is so fun! You can either get creative and make up your own recipe, or you could go to a website like this where you plug in ingredients and it gives you ideas of what to make. How cool is that?!


Look Up Unique Spots in a City Near You

In our job, we get to work with a lot of international students. I’m always stunned (and slightly embarrassed) to realize how little I’ve seen of places near me. Many students who come to the U.S. for school see way more of the country than I do! That’s expensive, though, so a different way to explore a new place is to visit a town within an hour of where you live and check out what it has to offer. Even if it’s a tiny town, they’ll have a main street or downtown area to window shop in. There may also be a cool park or hiking trail to see. Plus, you might get to see a random or obscure landmark. It could be memorable, like that time we visited Kokomantis, a massive praying mantis. Pretty great, right?


Craft Together

This can be really cheap and fun! You may have enough crafty things already that you wouldn’t need to buy anything, or you can go to Dollar Tree and get a few things…they even have coloring books there! Yeah, I get really excited when you can buy things for only a dollar.


Have a Fast Food Progressive “Meal”

We recently did this with our college group, but you could do this exclusively with fast food places or anywhere with a dollar menu. Get fries or a different “appetizer” at one place, go elsewhere for the main food, and go somewhere else for ice cream or a different sweet treat. Before you go, download the apps for a few fast food places–many offer a freebie just for downloading the app or quickly creating an account. Challenge yourself to see how cheap you guys can eat!


Volunteer Together

This is such a cool way to spend time together and give back. Different places have various requirements for volunteering—you may need to look into training before you volunteer—but not all places do. There are so many needs, so why not grab a few friends and see how you can serve your community in a tangible way?


Have a Game Night

It would feel incomplete if this list didn’t include games of some type, right? Depending on how many of you there are, here are a few game suggestions:


This game gets me the most competitive by far. It’s like speed trivia, and it’s a great group game that will get you laughing and yelling. It’s my personal favorite group game! Find out more about it here!


This game is great for smaller groups or two people. It’s unique, fun, and the artwork is gorgeous! Seriously, go check it out. Each person in the game grows trees by collecting sunlight around the board. It’s perfect for your plant-loving friend and is a very different type of game to try.


Explore a Local Thrift Store

This one is pretty self-explanatory, so here’s a twist: After you look around for a bit, split up and pick out a gift for each other. Make sure to set a price limit for this, like $4. If you do this somewhere like Dollar Tree, you can make the price limit even lower! I love this idea because at the end of the day, you have a tangible (and often random) way to remember your time together. The last time I did this, I ended up with a really cute (and practical) basket that I still use!


Take a Personality Quiz Together

I am a HUGE fan of personality tests (it’s probably the former Psychology major in me). There are tons of free ones online, like the Myers-Briggs, True Colors, and Harry Potter Sorting Quiz. Who doesn’t want to know their Hogwarts house?! Another great one is the Love Languages quiz, which helps you learn how you give and receive love in 5 categories.


Lastly, Think Seasonally

Fall? Pumpkin patch or corn maze, of course.

Winter? Ice Skating or doing an ornament exchange party.

Spring? Go outside and hike, rent bikes together, or pick wildflowers

Summer? Make popsicles and check out a Farmer’s Market


What other ideas do you have? Share them in the comments below!




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