As I embark upon my final blog for the time being, I thought it would be useful to do a little piece on how to get the most out of this summer if you’re on a budget (which most students are). I have a mixture of free and cheap activities and excursions for you, so keep reading!
Dine in – with a twist
If you can’t really afford to eat out but you want to jazz up your evening of eating in then how about a friends Come Dine With Me? Obviously this won’t be completely cost free, but you can set a spending limit. Gather a group of probably 4-6 friends, and pair up. Each pair will host a Come Dine With Me evening! If you’re trying to cut the costs then make it an alcohol free evening, otherwise you can’t go wrong with some Aldi wine! You could also choose to cut out the starter in a bid to save those pennies. Giving the night a theme could be fun – Spain, India, USA or whatever. After you’ve all hosted your dinner, you’ll do the vote to see who is victorious. Due to the budget, the prize will be pride. Or maybe a small box of chocolates from Poundland.
There’s lots of ways to spend a fun day out without splashing the cash. Most major cities are home to at least one free museum. Be it Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland, London’s V&A or British Museum, The Manchester Museum, or any of the hundreds of other free museums nationwide, you are bound to enjoy your day of culture. If, by some miracle, the weather is decent, then a walk or a bike ride is great. If you don’t own a bike, then I’m sure you know someone who does. Bike around the city or find a nature trail and explore the surrounding countryside. You could even find a biking group and join them on an adventure. There are often walking groups on Facebook who welcome new members. If you’re a dog owner then find some other pooch lovers and go on an exploratory walk!
If you are desperate to get out on the town but are worried about the cost, then how about looking for places that offer a good happy hour? Happy hour deals can be considerably cheaper than normal, often offering cheap beer or 2 for 1 cocktails. Likewise, most pubs and bars have special deals on any given night – e.g. Margarita Mondays. It doesn’t take long to find out what’s on offer where, and it can save you several pounds. Find a pub quiz – often free or cheap to enter – and if you’re lucky you might get a free drink or two out of it. The past few I have been to the minimum I’ve got is a free beer and once I won money to spend at the bar (what could be better?), but you might even be lucky enough to win more!
If you’re desperate for money but can’t find a job (or don’t have the time) then try offering dog walking or babysitting services. Put out a few flyers and see where it gets you. Babysitting isn’t for everyone, but if you have the time one or two evenings then you could be a lifesaver to parents who are in need of help. Often people will pay decent money for a dog walker, especially if they work during the day. Plus, who doesn’t want to spend time with a canine companion?!
Lily Whitcombe is a third year American Studies student on a Study Abroad programme at the Univeristy of Colorado, Boulder, USA.