This is part of an ongoing series of "How to ______ without spending a billion dollars". Catchy title, I know ;) Did you catch the first two posts? I covered going out to bars and eating at restaurants!


Here's something I realized after college: hanging out with people gets significantly harder as you get older.


In college (at least in my experience) it was easy to hang out with friends. You're all in the same place-- I mean, you're probably no farther than 2 miles from anyone at any given point. Maybe even closer, especially if you're living on campus. You invite your friends over to your dorm room or house, you meet up at house parties, meet up in the dining hall- whatever, it's all easy peasy.


Then you graduate and everyone scatters. You're lucky if you happen to be within driving distance of your friends! You used to be 2 miles away? Now you're 20 miles away. No longer do you invite someone over to your house-- either because you're living with creeps from Craigslist or because you feel bad making your friend drive the 40 mile round trip to your house. Now you've got to come up with a different "meet up" location and activity.



What to do if your friend wants to meet up for a coffee date:

As a bit of an intro to this topic- first things first. I try to only go to coffee shops with other people. I made it a rule that I almost never got Starbucks unless I was having a particularly rough (or awesome) day. Never just, “oh I’m a little tired this morning, let me swing by sbux to get a $5 latte!" So when people DO invite you for coffee, it’ll be an exciting experience for you too.



Ok, with that being said... coffee dates are a really cost effective way of hanging out with friends. As "friend dates" go, I'm a fan of this one. BUT! You don't have to spend a lot of money to do it.


For example: do you really have to get the $5 mocha frappachino, or can you get something a little cheaper? When meeting up with a friend, it doesn't really matter what you're drinking. The more important part is that you're hanging out with your friend. So don't think you have to buy the most expensive drink on the menu. (unless you really want it!)


In my case- I really do like frapps, but I also like $2 iced coffees. No matter if you’re spending $5 or $2, you’re still hanging out with your friend. (in the picture above, we got frapps because it was buy one get one free!)


Also: does your coffee shop have a rewards program? Get on that ASAP! (remember my post about how awesome Starbucks' rewards program is?) And then suggest that coffee shop whenever you meet up with your friend, so you can continue to take advantage of the rewards :)



What to do if you friend wants to meet up for a shopping date:

You've been reading my blog for awhile, so you know that subjecting yourself to the temptation of shopping isn't a good idea. What do you do?



If possible, avoid the situation entirely. I make it a point to stay out of places where I might be tempted to spend money (I’m looking at you, TARGET). If a friend suggested a shopping trip to Target, I would probably do everything in my power to not go. (maybe suggest a coffee date instead? haha)



If you can’t avoid it, you can decide that you won't spend any money at all. Then tell your friend that, so she knows not to talk you into anything! As an additional line of defense, leave your wallet in the car so that you really, truly, can't buy anything. ha :)   {edited to add: don't actually leave your wallet in the car. That's probably a bad idea, because then you'll sue me when your car gets broken into and your wallet stolen. Maybe just tell yourself that you left it in the car ;) ha!}


Or if you do want to partake in the shopping (nothing wrong with that!), try giving yourself a dollar limit. “I’m going to spend no more than $20 today. If I can do that, I’ll reward myself!” And then tell your friend, so she knows not to talk you into anything more than $20 :)




Do your friends suggest coffee or shopping dates?

What's your favorite kind of "friend date"?