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diverse group of friends enjoy dinner outside on a rooftop

We all need to take time to relax and enjoy life with family and friends. But maintaining an active social life can be expensive. And when you’re doing your best to live on a budget and save money, spending money on leisure activities often takes a back seat to covering basic living expenses and paying down debt. Fortunately, the beautiful spring weather is a great reason to take your social life outside. Here are several ideas for low-cost, outdoor alternatives to expensive social activities:

Dining Al Fresco

When you’re on a budget, dining out at restaurants quickly becomes a want, rather than a need. But you can still enjoy great food and good times with friends by choosing to have a picnic or outdoor potluck. Whether you host it at your home or get together at a local park, you’ll enjoy a wonderful meal, fresh air and the chance to reconnect with your friends, all for a fraction of the cost of one meal at a restaurant.   diverse group of friends taking their social life outside

Outdoor Movie Night

Skip the long lines, sticky floors and overpriced concessions at the local multiplex and have your own outdoor movie night under the stars. Pinterest is filled with easy ideas for putting together your own outdoor movie screen and turning your phone or other device into a simple movie projector. Pop your own popcorn, fill a cooler with drinks, line the lawn with blankets and pillows for a comfy viewing experience. Once you try it, you won’t want to watch movies any other way. It’s one of the easiest, most fun ways to take your social life outside.

Coffee Walk

Meeting for coffee to catch up with a friend seems like a reasonably budget-friendly option, until you factor in the pricey specialty coffee drinks and tempting desserts. Instead of meeting at the coffee house, brew a pot of coffee (or tea), pour it in a few travel mugs and meet your friend for a nice long chat and a walk. Not only will you save money, you’ll get a little exercise, too.

Concert Under the Stars

When it comes to concert tickets, there’s no such thing as the ‘cheap seats’ anymore. When you factor in service fees, most concerts will set you back at least $200 for two people. And that’s just the tickets, never mind concessions and souvenirs. So, what’s a budget-conscious music lover to do? Find free, live music outdoors. Communities of all sizes host free outdoor concert series featuring great local acts — and sometimes even big-name talent. You might not see the biggest tour of the summer, but you can enjoy great live music with your friends and neighbors without spending a dime.

Yoga in the Park 

 If you typically meet friends for class at the local yoga studio, move your yoga practice outside instead. Use your smart phone or tablet to find plenty of free yoga videos online. Taking your practice to the park or beach isn’t just a money-saving move. Being outdoors in the fresh air will enhance the stress-relieving benefits of your yoga session.

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