Big cities are expensive. Starting salaries aren’t high. It kills me a little inside every time I hear friends say that they cannot be social because they need to save money. That’s a worry we should be having when we’re sending our kids off to college, paying off a mortgage (yuck!) and doing something truly ‘adult’, not in our 20’s. There are so many free and cheap activities you can do in a big city, while not breaking the bank.
Let’s avoid ever having log onto our Wells Fargo apps while out and about just to make sure our Chase Sapphire Reserve isn’t going to get denied in front of our fraaaaaaands.
Insert embarrassed rosy-cheeked emoji here.
Try some activities out on this list and I guarantee you that for once, you will not be dreading checking your credit card statement Monday morning seeing how much you spent the weekend before. More importantly, you’ll have a life.
Here’s your step by step guide to being social and more importantly, ‘gram worthy, while saving some cash money:
There are tons of free websites that post free activities: Start checking Fun Cheap SF, Time Out and Thrillist at least once a week. I didn’t check Fun Cheap SF until Saturday of this weekend and missed the World Dog Surfing Championships in SF. I was freaking devastated.
Keep your eye out for great deals and coupons on sites like Gilt City, Groupon and even Reddit. Gilt City is my personal favorite, they have the least generic coupon deals, with events sprinkled in that I often wanted to attend regardless – and I’m able to save some money on it.
If you work for a bigger company or even a start-up, odds are they have some local work perks you can take part in. Many companies have free access to museums and work out studios.
So many museums have free or discounted days of the week. In San Francisco, the Academy of Sciences turns into a bar on Thursday nights for people to come and visit, which costs less than what the normal museum would. The MOMA in NYC has select free days as well. I have a sneaking suspicion that art and science are way more fun to learn about after a few glasses of wine or a boozy brunch, which you could never do in grade school.
Get outside, have a picnic, take a hike. Most cities have some sort of urban hikes or a hike that is simply a train or bus ride away. Nature is free AF. Also, makes for good grams. G0 get you some.
Have a night in with friends playing games, watching old movies (Mary-Kate & Ashley anyone?) or cooking together. Get wasted on wine you buy from Costco for half the price of a glass at a restaurant and drink double the amount. Big or small groups, some of the best nights are low-key, late, and silly. Don’t rely on expensive bars and restaurants to bring the fun.
Save money on Starbucks, manicures and spray tans. There are so many things I always found myself paying for that I could actually do myself. I got a Keurig and an adorable coffee cup to bring to work so I didn’t have to spend $3-$5 every day on coffee. There are so many amazing DIY gel manicure sets now that avoiding manicures is getting easier and easier.
Happy hours and matinée movies are my jam. And should be yours, too. You may not be doing things at the most opportune time, but hey, you can still do the same activities at a cheaper cost. At least in SF, there are happy hours for every day of the week so never have to skip a day.