20 Things You Can Do With Others for Little or No Money

Guest post by Lacey Wilcox

One of the things motherhood has taught me–besides how much I love my daughter–is to value community. Yes, my baby girl is great, and I adore spending time with her, but time with other moms is incredibly important for the heart and soul. Too much time in isolation, and I find myself growing discouraged, impatient, and less likely to embrace the goodness I have been given.

Spending time with other women who are in the same spot in life provides encouragement and perspective. But, if you’re not careful, meeting up with someone else or a group can turn expensive quickly. It’s easy to say, “Meet me for lunch,” or, “Let’s get coffee,” and not think about how much money you’ll be spending.

So, here is a list of 20 things you can do with others for little or no money that still allow you to find the community that we all need:

1. Go to a park and enjoy a pretty day.

2. See if your city has a Science Spectrum. In the city where we just moved, a year long membership costs just $5 a month–and I can invite another adult woman for free, as long as our children are under age three.

3. Make your own coffee and invite someone over. If you want to make it extra special, try making some homemade syrups or your own lattes.

4. Rent a redbox movie and pop your own popcorn.

5. Walk around the neighborhood and enjoy a pretty day.

6. Do potluck lunch. Suppers are often hard to do (and that’s family time), but a potluck lunch with several friends could be a lot of fun!

7. Have a dessert buffet: everyone brings one snack or sweet to share! (This could be a lot of fun around Christmas time!)

8. Start a book club.

9. Have a baby sitting circle–one mom watches the other kids while the other moms shop or run errands.

10. Have a baking day and get caught up on all of your baking for the month.

11. Take a picnic.

12. Take a nature walk with all your children.

13. Walk the mall (and window shop!).

14. Visit a museum.

15. Hold a craft party, or any other “skill:” knitting, photography, etc.

16. Make brunch.

17. Have a weekly/monthly group where each member takes a turn teaching the others how to do something.

18. Start a blogging group.

19. Plan menus together.

20. Create an accountability group.

To Remember:

::It doesn’t matter what you do. The point is to build a community of people that helps you stay encouraged and in the proper perspective.

::In order for this to happen, the people with whom you are in community (yourself included) need to be real, vulnerable, and honest. This is the surest way to build solid community.

::As well, each person needs to be willing to be sensitive to the needs of others—listen at least as much as you talk (if not more). Keep your eyes out for new people to include–remembering that you were once where they were!

What are your best tips for finding and building community, without spending a lot of money?

Lacey lives in Lubbock, Texas with her husband, Kade, and sweet daughter, Selah, where they work at Redeemer Church. She regularly captures her musings on all things related to being wife, mommy, and recipient of grace at her blog. There’s usually a cup of coffee involved.

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Comments

  1. Jen says

    Host a game night, play frisbee, have a clothing swap, fly a kite, or keep your eyes on the daily deal sites for cheap fun outings.

  2. Erin says

    My girlfriends and I have started a canning club. We get together once a month and can whatever is in season. In Aug we did all sorts of dilled things, peaches and what not. Sept. was all about jams and this past weekend was an apple day.

  3. says

    I love this list :). I agree with volunteering- I’m a volunteer coach for a youth cross country team here in town. I don’t get paid, but I don’t have any coaching certification- they were just looking for adults to run with the kids and cheer them on and be good role models… so I get a good workout in and love helping out! Really brings a lot of joy :).

  4. says

    Just have them over for a visit! The children can play at your house, and you can visit in the kitchen or living room. I have a friend that comes over and doesn’t mind if I’m in the middle of doing dishes, or if I bring out my hand-sewing while we’re talking. The children have fun playing with our toys (someone else’s toys are always new and fun!), with our dress-up clothes (this is a favorite toy around here and we have lots of them in lots of sizes!), or in the backyard (we have swings taller than the park, an in-ground trampoline, and a merry-go round, but they also just play tag on the grass while we visit inside). We can see the children through the window and we leave the door open while they’re outside, weather permitting.

  5. samantha says

    Join a moms group in your area! Meetup.com is a good place to fine one! They are a great source to find local and cheap things to do!

  6. Elias says

    We are very blessed to have a lot of community festivals/fairs for families with young children. It was one of the reasons we liked the area we bought in. In October, April and December there are tons of free festivals with crafts, balloon animals, bounce houses, holiday themed stuff etc. Our weekends are usually booked and then even during the rest of the year, we are able to hit one up about one every other month. They usually sell food so I could bring lunches but the money goes to donations for local schools, churches, community sponsors etc so I feel kind of like I’m giving back by purchasing food.

  7. says

    what a lovely list! I try and get outside at least once a day (weather permitting of course) and just sit in a park and watch everyone. Even just a friendly nod to say hi can be all you need to connect and feel a sense of community.

    t

  8. says

    Love all these ideas! A couple of times I’ve invited friends over for a “Sack Lunch Social” – everyone brought their own lunch, whether it was fast food, PB& J or leftovers. I provided beverages and dessert and access to a microwave. I did it “open house” style (from 11:30 – 1) so even those with jobs could come when it worked for them. It was a lot of fun and cost me about $5 for a whole lot of fellowship.

  9. says

    Before kiddos, my friends and I would take turns hosting dinner. It was never anything fancy, just a way for us to all get together without breaking the bank! It was such a good way to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company! I will be staying at home soon, and I hope to do something similar for lunch with SAHMs in the area.

  10. Paige says

    I’m a member of MOPs (mothers of preschoolers) and highly recommend it to other moms looking for community. We meet at a local church for coffee, breakfast while our children are taken care of my volunteers. The meetings vary as far as what we do…sometimes more fun, sometimes more serious. It could be a craft, a speaker, something more active…whatever our leaders have planned for us. It is great way to spend time with other moms & to make lots of friends. Now I know so many women who I enjoy spending time with & my children enjoy spending time with their children! If anyone is interested you can check out the MOPs website, http://www.mops.org & find a group in your area.

  11. Sandy says

    For many years I would host DessertFest. I always held it on a Sunday in September, during football season, and would invite my family/friends/cooworkers. Every year I had more than 30 women attend. Each person would bring a dessert, the recipe for that dessert, and a large, empty storage container. It was an afternoon of girl talk and sweet indulgances. We’d all vote on which dessert was our favorite and the recipe which received the most votes would win 2 new cookies sheets, 2 cookie cooling racks, and 2 new hot pads. I’d spend about a week typing up the recipes and forming a cookie book which I mailed out to each woman who attended that year’s DessertFest. It was such a pleasant way to spend a fall afternoon. The men loved it for they got to dive into treats when their wives returned home. Plus, it was a great way to try all sorts of new recipes and pick the ones I wanted to serve at the up coming holidays.

  12. says

    Fabulous ideas! With preschoolers, I’ve enjoyed meeting other moms at the library for organized story times. It’s free, fun, and doesn’t depend on the weather outside!

  13. says

    My city’s Parks and Recreation department offers many free classes for children and adults. Volunteers teach the classes and you can meet great (and frugally minded) people when you attend. My 5yo takes preschool sports and art, and I’m about to start a free ceramics class.

  14. Ashlee says

    We joined a Moms group in my area. Its a lot of fun. Everyone takes turns hosting events and play groups. Its nice to be involved in a little something.

  15. says

    4 girlfriends and I started a “lunch bunch” that met once a week when we each had 1 infant. We nursed our kids, chatted, and each brought a dish to share for lunch (and we had great food!), and just hung out for a few hours in the morning. That was 5 years ago, and we have been meeting faithfully weekly that entire time, and grown our brood to 16 kids! Gone are the days of eating delicious lunches and having entire conversations, but we have shared and gone through so much together, our kids are great friends, and I would trust these girls any day with ANYTHING!

  16. Karen says

    My friend and I love to pick blueberries together every summer. We pick from different sides of the same bush and can carry on a conversation together.

  17. Amanda says

    I like that she included “walk the mall”. My boys think a trip to the mall is such a treat! They don’t mind me looking through clearance clothes as long as I let them ride the escalator and the elevator once while we are in the store. They’ve even sat patiently while I tried on a dress or two and I’ve patiently allowed them to play like we are “spies” as we go through the clothing area. On one occasion, Yankee Candle had a deal – buy one tart and get the other half off. We spent a long time just smelling all the different tarts and seeing if we could guess the scent (my three year old is blind, so he loved this) and then I let them each pick one out ($3 for the whole thing!). And if they are really good, I might let them spend a quarter to get some chocolate covered raisins out of the little vending machines. Cheap and so much fun! And sometimes I find a great deal, too!

  18. says

    I’m so encouraged by all these ideas! I just moved to St. Louis 2 months ago and am due with our first kiddo December 30th. You guys have given me so ideas on how to meet people and then how to connect with them later–WITH the kiddo! As a single I hosted brunches and invited my lady friends from all my different social/church/work circles so people could meet new friends. (any St. Louis first time mom’s out there? I’m in Maryland Heights and would love to meet you!)