Some Inexpensive, “Happy” Ways to Spend Time With Friends

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She's even funnier than she was on "24"!

She’s even funnier than she was on “24″!

Happy Endings is similar to (but funnier than) a lot of other TV shows. Like How I Met Your Mother or New Girl, it follows the exploits of friends in their “late-20s.” In each, these groups go through zany adventures and regroup at a bar—despite seeming to lack the income to do so.


We’ve already covered the finances on New Girl, but its time-slot competitor offers, well, ah-mah-zing competition in this area. Happy Endings has vague corporate successes (Jane and Penny), but it balances them with struggling entrepreneurs (Dave and Alex) and a slovenly, lovable, unemployable ne’er-do-well (Max).

Most of them should be watching their spending. Instead, they go out (and enjoy ribs!). If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to hang with friends, Happy Endings might not have the answer for you. Fortunately, the SALT editorial staff does.

Here’s what they had to say to that burning question.


On the first Sunday of every month, my friends and I meet for book club (but we also refer to it was “gossip club” or “wine club”). Everyone brings a dish and/or a drink so it turns into an afternoon potluck. We spend about an hour actually discussing the book then another 3 catching up. It’s awesome.


Playing bocce. Lawn, beach, park, bar, anywhere really.

I built a court in my backyard. It was the best money i have ever spent. I can stay in and have people over and save money entertaining.


One of the things my friends and I did, especially over the summer, was have a game and wine night. My roommate and I had a bunch of games like Apples to Apples, Monopoly, and Bananagrams. Sometimes we’d just end up playing cards for hours. (Egyptian Rat Screw can take hours.) Overall, game nights are inexpensive and fun. When you’re with good company, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time.


Alexandra totally stole my games-night answer! On the plus side, I don’t feel like such an old man for suggesting that. I will recommend looking at yard sales for games to make the night extra-thrifty. Sure, the pieces may not all be there, but you don’t want to keep score anyway. (To quote Demetri Martin: “”I feel like all board games could have the same name: which one of my friends is a competitive ***hole? Tonight, we played ‘Steve.’ “)


This was a lot harder than I first anticipated, mainly because if I tried to explain the things that my friends and I found enjoyable or funny, most people would think we were crazy. I think most people think that about their own friends—or at least I hope they do.

When my friends and I do go out, I always limit my spending to a certain level, usually it’s the amount of cash in my wallet. That is easy to track and control, whereas using a credit or debit card can go unnoticed. I’m also a sucker for a good deal, which adds more bang for my buck and stretches out that cash in my wallet.


Treat your friends like lab rats and get them addicted to a show (anything on HBO should work).  I did it a few years ago with my friends from home and True Blood, and it created guaranteed, inexpensive hangout time every Sunday night of the summer.

All right, readers, it’s your turn. Share your inexpensive advice in the comments. 

(Photo: watchwithkristin/Flickr)

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  1. Teresa M. Vandal May 25, 2013 / 2:20 pm

    Adding to the idea of a potluck night, you could make it a Potluck HOME-MADE Pizza Party…tell friends who are coming over that it is a potluck party, but it is Pizza Night as well…tell them to each bring a home made pizza, one they can do anything too, and creativity is encouraged…

    • Ryan Lane May 25, 2013 / 2:37 pm

      Great idea, Teresa! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Leigh May 25, 2013 / 5:37 pm

    Bunko night with the friends and family:-)

  3. aimee May 25, 2013 / 6:47 pm

    nice article! very informative

  4. Sandra May 26, 2013 / 1:06 am

    The SF Zoo is free the first Wednesday of every month for SF residents. Great place to take kids without spending a lot of money!

  5. Lorianne May 26, 2013 / 6:15 am

    I enjoyed this helpful article! :)

  6. Tiara Jarvis May 26, 2013 / 8:24 am

    I like just going to the park and having good old fashioned fun. Be a kik kid again!

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