Cheap Hangout Ideas

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Summer is in the air and you’re ready for some fun with friends after a long semester! Summer time is always great for family vacations, road trips with friends, and other big, exciting adventures. However, sometimes you just want to have fun without spending lots of money! Here are some great ways to spend your time hanging out with friends that don’t break the bank.

Game Night
Having a game night with my friends is probably the cheapest and most frequent activity we do. It can also be an inclusive activity especially when you have friends with kids (hello twenties). Board games don’t have to be boring, so we usually opt for different games every week such as:

1. Mafia – this card game can get pretty intense especially if your friends are great at being secretive! Essentially, you are assigned a card and given the role of either a detective, a doctor, a mafia member (the killer), or an innocent civilian. The purpose of the game is to find the killer before everyone else gets killed. Find all the rules here.

2. Murder Mystery Games – with this game, you can either go all out or play it casually. There are hundreds of free downloadable online if you don’t feel like paying for a pack. Here is a website with 9 free ones you can look at right now!

3. Heads Up! – this app is great for a large group of people. The purpose is to get someone to correctly guess the word that is on the screen, either by singing, miming, or giving clues. The app is free to download and has tons of categories to choose from!

Picnic/Barbequeben-duchac-66002-unsplash
When the beautiful spring and summer weather hits, take advantage of pretty days by having a picnic or even a barbeque! Like game night, this activity can also be pretty inclusive and if you plan on hosting, there’s no shame in making it a potluck/bring-your-own-food outing. The great thing about picnics is that you can host it at pretty much any free place. Bonus points if it’s at the beach or a lake!

Exploring
This category is pretty broad, but exploring your city is always an option. You probably would take the option to travel instead of staying home, but what allures us to hitting the road is the notion of experiencing new things and seeing new places. If you live in a pretty big city, chances are you haven’t seen everything. Try out that new coffee shop or go to a restaurant you’ve never been before. You can even use this opportunity to sharpen your photography skills! If you live in a pretty old city, there’s probably a bunch of historic places that offer guided tours.

Try a New Recipe
This may be hit or miss with some people, but at the end of the day, eating is essential. Pick a recipe that aligns with your cooking experience and try it out. If you’re new to cooking (or think you’re terrible at it), get someone who has experience to help you out. You can do this with friends, your significant other or even do it to bond with your family. Plus, this will give you an opportunity to try out all those recipes you’ve pinned on Pinterest!

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In the age of DIY, there’s plenty of how-to videos floating on the internet. Don’t be afraid to get artsy and try something new! You can try pretty much anything, from crocheting to woodworking. Put on a Bob Ross video and paint with your friends! You can even plan crafting events around holidays and birthdays like card making, pumpkin carving, and gingerbread house building.

Mini Golf/Bowling
Not every city has a TopGolf or a Main Event, but chances are, there may be something similar. There are also tons of other options like indoor skydiving, VR arcades, go-karting, ice skating, and roller skating. Check out your local entertainment spots to see if they offer discounted evenings, or browse Groupon for some deals to save money!

Escape Rooms
Escape Rooms are hot right now and they keep getting better and better! The most expensive we’ve seen was $30/person, but there are some rooms that go for around $15. Do your research and pick the best one that suits you and your group.

Live Musicbogomil-mihaylov-519207-unsplash
You don’t always have to pay for a concert. So many restaurants, lounges, and even coffee shops have live music. And if you’re feeling bold, some places even have open mic nights! A lot of downtown areas carry events like this almost every night, so check out their calendars and see what sounds best to you and your friends!

Use some of these ideas or brainstorm your own, and go have some fun this summer!

Co-habitating Harmoniously

Living on your own is an exciting first step into adulthood but chances are, you’ve probably got a roommate – and that’s okay! Having a roommate around isn’t such a bad thing when you actually make an effort to make it work. First and foremost, having a roommate helps you save on rent and with rising living costs, that’s a pretty big bonus. Having a roommate also adds an extra sense of security and mostly keep the anxieties of living all by yourself at bay. Did you forget to turn off your straightener before rushing to class? Locked yourself out? Heard a weird noise outside your window? Cultivating a healthy relationship with your roommate can help ease those worries, especially if it’ll be your first endeavor living away from home.

Whether you’re moving into a dorm or moving into your own place, moving in with your best friend, or moving in with a stranger – you’re still going to have to navigate through some pretty common roommate problems. Here are a few tips to help you resolve them and even avoid some of them in the long run!

Set clear expectations from the start. If you already know who you’re rooming or moving in with, that makes this first step a whole lot easier. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your roommate. After all, you two are basically gonna be living your lives within pretty close proximity of each other. Your best friend may already know and understand your quirks and weird habits, but you can’t expect the same from someone you just met.

Maybe you’re a night owl and your roomie’s a morning person, or you prefer study music whereas your roomie needs complete silence. Try asking people who have lived with you, maybe your siblings or even your parents, about little habits you have that you may not even have noticed you had. Talking about these things beforehand eliminates accidentally setting off your roommate and vice versa.

Here are some things you may want to talk about beforehand:

  • Sleeping habits and schedules
  • Bathroom habits (Do you steam up the shower? Take frequent baths? etc.)
  • Definition of what is considered to be clean and organized/dirty and messy
  • Eating habits (Are you a late night snacker? Vegan? Allergic to anything?)
  • Pet peeves

Talk about finances. This doesn’t just apply to rent and utilities if you’re getting your own place – this means talking about groceries, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and just about anything that two people need to purchase in order to live in their own place. If you’re moving into an apartment, maybe you need to talk about buying living room furniture or appliances and how you might wanna break down the cost. Maybe you absolutely want a coffee maker but your roomie doesn’t even drink coffee – it most likely isn’t reasonable to ask them to pitch in for a Keurig. Or conversely, if your roomie thinks it’s a good idea to get a toaster and you know you’re probably gonna use it once in a while – don’t expect them to foot the bill just cause it’s their idea.

Whether you split the bill in half on every communal item or offer to purchase different items with equivalent values, always remember to be fair. Also, keep in mind your roommate’s preferences when it comes to groceries. If it’s your turn to go grocery shopping, don’t ‘forget’ the almond milk when you know they’re lactose intolerant. Or if you know a certain laundry soap irritates their skin, don’t change it up all of a sudden. Be considerate and be mindful and make sure to communicate your needs too. Living with another person and creating a harmonious relationship with them means compromise. 

Here are some things you may want to talk about beforehand:

  • Groceries: will you shop together? is it a rotating schedule? how will you get reimbursed?
  • What are things you’re willing to pay for?
  • What are things you’re not willing to pay for?
  • If you’re splitting cost on certain big ticket items like a couch or a dining table, how do you determine who keeps what at the end of the lease?

Respect their stuff. This ties in with the finances talk you should’ve already had. If you didn’t pay for it, it’s not yours. Or even if you did at least pay for half, it belongs to both of you. Don’t use or ‘borrow’ anything that isn’t yours without asking and if it’s understood that it’s a communal item, don’t hog it. That’s just common courtesy.

Here are some communal items/things you may want to be considerate of:

  • TV time
  • Netflix, Hulu, and other shareable accounts (Just cause your roomie logged into the account on your smart TV, it doesn’t automatically mean you can use it. Ask first and offer to split the cost).
  •  Desk space/study space (Some school projects take up a lot of space, or sometimes you just need your notes sprawled out for reference, be considerate of where you choose to do so, especially if it’s in a communal space like the living room or dining room table).

Be mindful of guests you bring over. Your place is your roommate’s place too; your home is their home. Things can get especially dicey when you’re living in dorms and you’re sharing the same room. As a rule of thumb, always ask your roommate if you can have people over – or at the minimum, give them a heads up. If you know your roommate is feeling under the weather or has to cram for an exam, be considerate. Also, entertain the idea that your roommate doesn’t necessarily want to be around your friends (or significant other) all the time – nor do they necessarily have to like them.

Here are some things you may want to talk about beforehand:

  • How many people at any given time are allowed over?
  • How much notice do you need to give? Day before? Day of? A quick text before right before you and friends show up?
  • Where are your guests allowed? (If you have separate bedrooms, your roomie’s bedroom is a given ‘off-limit’ space but what about if you share the same room?)
  • Are there any days you absolutely don’t want people over? (Maybe you have an 8am class the next day or you have to go to work early the next day.)

Safety first! Again, your home is their home too. Always remember to lock your doors – you’re not just protecting your stuff, you’re protecting theirs too.

Set reasonable expectations regarding household roles and duties. This category includes the dreaded task of chores. But when you look at it from the glass-half-full perspective, if you lived by yourself you’d have to do all the chores yourself. Find a system that works for both of you – and keep in mind that just because you choose to do a task at the beginning, it doesn’t mean you both are locked into it forever. And most people understand that sometimes life gets in the way – times like that is when it’s especially important to remember to communicate and compromise. Being in college sometimes means that your days aren’t all the same; some days you work late, some days you don’t have class, and some days your schedule is all kinds of messed up. That’s okay, just make sure you let your roommate know when you can’t do a certain chore on a certain day but also offer a solution. For example, if Friday is vacuuming day but you’ll be gone from early in the morning to late at night, communicate that to your roomie and maybe offer to do it on Saturday or offer to switch tasks.

Be open to change. A harmonious home requires a lot of commitment from both sides. Most times this means creating a plan and sticking to it and reassessing the plan once in a while to see if it still works. Having a roommate is like being in a platonic relationship with someone – in a perfect world, partnerships are 50/50. But in reality, some days it’s 60/40 or even 80/20.

Own up to your mistakes. It’s one thing to do something you didn’t realize would bother your roommate; it’s another thing to do something you know would bother your roommate and not tell them. If you break something, let them know, offer to fix it, or even offer to replace it.

Fix the small problems before they snowball into big problems. It’s typically the little things that go unchecked that create the perfect conditions for harbored resentment. Roomie doesn’t finish their water bottles before starting a new one? Yeah, it’s mildly annoying, but one day you’ll wake up to a sea of half-finished water bottles in your living room and you won’t know how to cope. Do you choose to get upset over something as frivolous as water-bottles, or do you dump them all in a trash bag seething with resentment? Neither option is ideal, so nip it in the bud before they jump on your last nerve.

Often times, people don’t even realize their habits are slowly picking at you. Let your roomie know, but also be kind about it. How you say things is equally as important as what you say. If you come at your roommate with guns blazing over something that seems so insignificant, you can’t possibly expect them to take you seriously.

Be open to constructive dialogue. Communication is a two-way street. Yeah, you’re detailing all of your expectations and are quick to nip your roommate’s bad habits in the bud, but also give them the space to speak their opinions. If you’re bringing up your roomie’s water bottle habit, allow them to bring up any pet peeves they may have about you – like, say, leaving q-tips on the bathroom counter or wearing dirty shoes on the carpet.

Always remember the Golden Rule: Treat your roommate how you want to be treated. It may seem obvious to you what your needs are, but your roommate isn’t a mind reader. A healthy roommate relationship includes lots of communication, compromise, and commitment to making it work.

Fun Christmas Traditions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! There’s nothing better than getting to spend the holidays with your loved ones and as a college student, your time off from school is precious. Whether you spend the holidays exclusively with family you haven’t seen all year, attend back to back Christmas parties, or just bundle up at home with a nice cup of hot cocoa, it might be time to amp it up and adopt some new Christmas traditions this year to make the most out of the holiday festivities! Here’s a list of fun activities to test out with your friends and family – and who knows? Maybe it’ll find a place in your annual holiday traditions!

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Christmas Cookie Bake-off

Cookies: the versatile sweet snack. I’ve never met anyone who hated cookies because there is just nothing to hate about them! Have your friends and family bake up a storm (of cookies) and bring them to a cookie party! And at the end of the night, you can crown the Annual Christmas Cookie Contest winner.

Elf on the Shelf

This one’s a fun one for the “90s baby with a baby” crowd that our generation is heading into! Get the 101 on the Elf on the Shelf
here.

Collecting Ornaments

Collecting unique ornaments is a great Christmas time hobby! In my family, my mom adds a new unique Santa to the tree every year but the thrill of the hunt is the best part because that means I get to spend quality time with my mom! You’re out shopping for gifts anyway, might as well pick up a new tree ornament.

Decorating Ornaments

If your tastes are a little bit too niche for the Christmas ornament market, you can try your hand at making some yourself! This could be a fun activity for you and your family, friends, or significant other.

Christmas Cocktail Party

Wanna impress your friends this holiday season? Spice up your party drink menu with these Christmas Cocktails! You can even make an event out of it by teaching your guests how to make them.

Christmas Pajama Party

You’re never too old for comfy PJs, so settle into a cute Christmas pajama set, and enjoy a nice night in!

Christmas Movie Marathon

Bundle up with your loved ones and have a Christmas movie marathon! And I don’t mean the tried and true titles like Polar Express. New Christmas movies are released every year, especially on Netflix.

Decorating Christmas Cards

I can’t remember the last time I received a Christmas card! Sadly, traditional cards are being replaced by portrait postcards. Get in touch with your inner writer and take the time to decorate your own cards and hand-write a note inside. I’m sure the friends and family you won’t quite get to see this holiday season will appreciate the personal touch!

Learn About New Traditions

Over 2 billion people in 160 countries celebrate Christmas! Read up on how other countries celebrate Christmas and the meaning behind their traditions; you can even try some out yourself! For example, in some European countries, children leave their shoes outside for St. Nicholas Day so that he can come and fill it with goodies! Here’s a hefty list from Green Global Travel to get you started!

Black Friday Deals

Scarf down that last piece of turkey and head on out for Black Friday! Here’s a list of Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) deals and ads. Stay safe and shop on!

Black Friday Deals

Amazon – Black Friday has started early with Amazon’s 7 Days of Deals!

  • Amazon is offering FREE standard shipping for everyone (no minimum purchase required).
  • Amazon Prime members get early access to deals when they shop using Amazon Alexa. Just ask Alexa “Alexa, what are my deals?” to shop early access sales.  
  • Amazon is also offering great free trials and membership offers!
    • Get 3 months of Amazon Music Unlimited Membership for only $0.99!
    • Try 30 days of Amazon prime for free
    • Try Amazon Student Prime for 6 whole months for free!
    • Try Amazon Kindle Unlimited for 30 days
    • Get a 3- day free trial of Audible
    • Try Amazon FreeTime Unlimited for 30 days
  • Here’s a few notable Black Friday deals available now:
    • Buy 3 All-New Echo Dots for  $69.97
    • Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free for $99.99
    • Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote for $24.99
    • Ring Video Doorbell 2 (& an All-New Echo Dot add-on for no additional cost) for $139.00

BestBuy – Black Friday sale prices are valid from November 22 – November 24.

  • Here’s a few notable Black Friday deals to watch out for:
    • 50 in. Samsung Smart 4K UHD TV with HDR for $327.99
    • 2 Google Chromecasts for only $25
    • Apple Watch Series 3 starting at $229
    • Samsung Gear Sport for $179.99
    • Cannon EOS Rebel T6 Camera with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses for $399.99
    • Google Home Hub for $99.99
    • Google Home Mini for $25

Target – Stores nationwide open for Black Friday at 5pm local time on Thursday November 22nd until 7am on Friday November 23rd.

  • Here’s a few notable Black Friday deals to watch out for:
    • Free $150 Target GiftCard with a qualified activation of iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X on Verizon, Sprint or AT&T
    • Free $250 Target GiftCard with a qualified activation of iPhone XS or XS Max on Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T
    • PlayStation VR bundle for $249.99
    • Roku Ultra for $49.99
    • Roku Streaming Stick with Enhanced Voice Remote for $29.99
    • iPad starting at $249.99

Costco – Stores will be closed on Thanksgiving but will be open on Friday at 9 am local time.

  • Here’s a few notable Black Friday deals to watch out for:
    • Canon EOS SL2 DSLR Camera 3-lense Bundle for $679.99 (online only)
    • Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera 2-lense Bundle for $499.99  
    • Bose On-Ear Bluetooth Wireless headphones for $99.99

GameStop – Black Friday deals are available in-store on Thursday from 3 pm to 10 pm and will resume on Friday at 7 am.

  • Here’s a few notable Black Friday deals to watch out for:
    • Free $50 GameStop gift card with a purchase of any new Nintendo Switch. Xbox One or PS4 console
    • Xbox One X 1 TB Robot White Special Edition Fallout 76 for $429.99
    • Various games ranging from $27 to $38 like Call of Duty Black Ops 4, FIFA19, Madden 19, Assassins Creed Odyssey, NBA 2K19.

OTHER CATEGORIES

Beauty

  • All cosmetic, beauty and personal care gift sets – BUY ONE, GET ONE 50% OFF at Target
  • MORPHE Set 502 – 9 Pc Vegan Brush Set – $19.50 at ULTA
  • URBAN DECAY Naked Petite Heat Eyeshadow Palette – $15 at ULTA
  • URBAN DECAY Naked Smoky Eyeshadow Palette – $25 at ULTA

Homegoods

  • Keurig K-Mini Single-Serve Coffee Maker – $49.99 at Target
  • Nespresso VertuoPlus Limited-Edition Bundle – $129.99 at Target
  • Wondershop™ 6-ft. Alberta Spruce Artificial Tree (Multicolor or clear pre-lit tree) –  $30.00 at Target

Electronics and Software

    • Samsung 38″ 4.1 200W Soundbar – $169 at Walmart
    • Apple iPad (6th generation) – $249 at Walmart
    • Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S Camera Bundle – $55 at Walmart
    • Google Home Mini – $25 at Walmart
    • Toshiba – 43” Class – LED – 2160p – Smart – 4K UHD TV with HDR – Fire TV Edition – $329.99 at BestBuy

Gaming

  • Razer Chroma Gaming Bundle – $95 at Walmart
  • Sony PS4 1TB Slim Spider-Man Bundle – $199 at Walmart, Target, GameStop and BestBuy
  • Xbox One S 1TB Minecraft Creators Bundle – $199 at Walmart, Target, and BestBuy
  • Nintendo – Switch with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Neon Blue/Neon Red Joy-Con – $299.99 at BestBuy

Other Retailer Black Friday Ads
Amazon
Walmart
Target
BestBuy
Microsoft
ULTA
Kohl’s
Home Depot
Macy’s
Samsung
JCPenney
For more deals and ads, visit BlackFriday.com

Earning Quick Cash Just in Time for the Holidays!

The last few months of the year can get pretty busy with a slew of holidays and with finals just around the corner! Whether you’re too busy with school to worry about picking up a seasonal shift at your local department store or just wanna make a few extra bucks to splurge on Christmas gifts this year, here’s a list to help you through!

Blog - Earn extra money

*all descriptions are taken from official websites*

Google Adsense – If you have your own blog, website, or business, this may be for you! Google AdSense provides a way for website owners to earn money from their online content. AdSense works by matching text and display ads to your site based on your content and visitors. The ads are created and paid for by advertisers who want to promote their products. Since these advertisers pay different prices for different ads the amount you earn will vary.

Amazon Mechanical TurkAmazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a crowdsourcing marketplace that makes it easier for individuals and businesses to outsource their processes and jobs to a distributed workforce who can perform these tasks virtually. This could include anything from conducting simple data validation and research to more subjective tasks like survey participation, content moderation, and more. MTurk enables companies to harness the collective intelligence, skills, and insights from a global workforce to streamline business processes, augment data collection and analysis, and accelerate machine learning development.

FiverrFiverr is the world’s largest marketplace for digital services. So, if you have a talent, you can share that talent with our buyer community and make money while you are at it. Whether you are a graphic designer, programmer, content writer, translator, or voice over artist, Fiverr has a place for you.

ScriptLance (Freelancer)We have jobs available for all skills. Maximize your job opportunities by optimizing your filters. Save your search and get alerted when relevant jobs are available. Put your best foot forward and write the best pitch possible. Read the project and let the clients know you understand their brief. Tell them why you’re the best person for this job. Writing a new brief for each project is more effective than using the same one!

SwagbucksSwagbucks.com is the web’s most popular rewards program that gives you free gift cards and cash for the everyday things you already do online. Earn points when you shop at your favorite retailers, watch entertaining videos, search the web answer surveys, and find great deals. Redeem points for gift cards to your favorite retailers like Amazon and Walmart or get cash back from Paypal.

MyGiftCardsPlus –  MyGiftCardsPlus, powered by Swagbucks, offers electronic gift cards to hundreds of your favorite retailers. Your gift cards will be delivered electronically to your email within 1 to 2 business days or later. With every gift card purchase you’ll earn valuable Swagbucks. To ensure you receive SB points, you will be asked to link your existing Swagbucks accounts to your MyGiftCardsPlus account during the particular purchase. With the Swagbucks you earn from your MyGiftCardsPlus purchases, you can choose FREE gift cards from over 80 popular retailers at Swagbucks.com.

PerkJust like getting rewards for using your credit card, Perk rewards you for what you are already doing while on the Internet like shopping and searching. Perk Points are earned by shopping at our partners stores and through web searches using Perk Search. You are then able to trade those points for things you love: Cash, Gift Cards, Airline Miles, Electronics, or make a Donation. Shop, Earn, Perk!
TopCashBackWhen you make a purchase from a retailer features on TopCashback after clicking through from our site, the retailer will give us a commission for sending you to their website. We pass 100% of this commission back to you as ‘cash back’ which is added to your Earnings page, and once the commission is actually paid by the retailer, then we’ll make your cash back ‘payable’ to withdraw and spend.
Zoombucks (Grabpoints)GrabPoints is a free, mobile based app that allows users to earn points by completing offers & surveys, watching videos, entering free promo codes and much more! Refer your friends and earn even more points. When your referrals earns 100 points, you will earn an additional 50 points. It’s a fun & easy way to earn gift cards for yourself, friends or family.
FushionCash – You just register (for free) and pick your favorite way of earning cash. We have paid surveys, paid videos, paid radio, paid to click, paid tasks, cashback shopping, paid to search, and more. Then, after meeting people to provide feedback on their products and services and they are willing to pay people like you to do just that. You can also earn money on CashCrate by completing offers, referring other members to our program, playing games, watching videos, and more.
InboxDollarsAdvertisers pay InboxDollars to reach consumers like you. Through programs ranging from paid online surveys to PaidEmail, InboxDollars shares the revenue we receive from advertisers with our Members. Your time and participation are valuable, so join now to be rewarded!
MyPoints – Shop online, take surveys, watch videos, read email and more to earn Points. Shop over 1,900 popular retailers through MyPoints and earn Points for your purchases. Get alerts + coupons for MyPoints partners with our extension so you don’t miss out on shopping. Earn Points per dollar for your Groupon and LivingSocial goods and voucher purchases. BonusMail offers great deals to earn Points, and many have 5 Points just for clicking! Answer market research surveys and earn up to 400 Points.
Extrabux Retailers pay us commission for referring you (a shopper) to their stores; we keep some of it and pass the rest of the cash back to you. Everything works smoothly if you visit Extrabux before you visit the store (and therefore before you’ve added any items to your shopping cart) and if you don’t delete your cookies or click on any non-Extrabux links or use non-Extrabux coupon codes.