How to have fun on a shoestring

5-6 minute read

Catching up with friends needn’t be a budget breaker. Not if you adopt cheap and cheerful tricks like the ones we’ve listed here. 


How to have fun on a shoestring

We’re big fans of financial wellbeing. And while it’s great to commit to a budget, we reckon your general wellbeing is just as important

So, rather than sacrificing socialising with family and friends because of the cost, consider these wallet-friendly options, then make a date.  

Happy Hour, happy bank balance

Check if your favourite restaurants, cafes or bars offer a Happy Hour, and plan your get-together for then. Same vibe, food and drinks, but for a fraction of the usual price. Makes a great evening out taste even better. 

See without spending

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. What they forget to add, is there is such a thing as a free experience. Many museums, galleries and other exhibitions don’t charge an entry fee. Beach or bush walks? They’re definitely free, not to mention good for your physical and mental health. You could create some fond memories while you’re at it (also free).

Make it movie night

Lights, sofa – and action! Oh, no wait. Popcorn. You’ll need popcorn. And maybe a scented candle or two, because it’s movie night. Invite your mates over for a night in and maybe ask them to bring a snack to share. Top tip: Agree on a movie beforehand to avoid going down the trailer rabbit hole.

Budget travel

In the mood for a break but your bank account says otherwise? That probably rules out anything involving your passport, but a holiday closer to home could still be on the cards. There are loads of affordable campsites in primo spots around New Zealand. Sleeping under canvas isn’t your thing? Try renting a holiday home for a night or two, or plan a few day trips. 

City events 

Keep an eye on your city council and local businesses, as they regularly host events and offer free or cheap entertainment options. Everything from outdoor movies, markets and pop-up art installations, to bargains like two-for-one deals. Google their calendars to see what’s on, or request notifications for upcoming events. 

Explore your transport options 

Want to get outside, but where you’re heading is a bit of a hike? Jump on a bus or train, especially if there are weekend rates to take advantage of. Maybe rent an e-scooter or bike? There are plenty of affordable options scattered around the country, only requiring a quick app download to use. E-scootering along the waterfront anyone?

It’s okay to say no

Save your money for the things you really want to do. If you’re on the fence about going to something, but feeling the pressure from family or friends to attend, let them know you’re watching your pennies. Invite them over for a catch-up at your place instead. They’ll understand, as we all have times when we need to hunker down a bit.

Staycations, no or low cost catch-ups, and being selective about what you say yes to. They’re all great ways to simultaneously boost your financial and general wellbeing.

Important information

This material is for information purposes only. Please talk to us if you need financial advice about your situation and goals or about our products and services. See our financial advice provider disclosure at