Your writer sitting on a cow outside the Philly Art Museum- which is free on the first Sunday of each month

We all have crushing fears that when we look back on our high school years there’ll be nothing but awkwardness and boredom to remember,* so I’m sure all of you would like some guidance about how to make this fleeting time count. To this end, I’ve compiled a list of ways to spend time with your friends without spending all the money that I’m sure you’d rather save for drugs or a college education. So without further ado, let’s start.

*That’s not just me right?  

  • Find free museums in your area

Depending on where your live, some art museums may be free, pay-what-you-wish, or have certain days that are free/discounted. I would suggest that you do some research about your area – I don’t know where you live! That would be creepy! – and plan a trip to an art museum with your most artsy friends.

  • Have a picnic

Okay so this is a little clichéd, and probably a bit childish, but I promise, it’s fun too. All you need is a picnic location, maybe some food and at least one other friend so you don’t look lonely and sad. Not counting the cost of the food, this is an entirely free activity that I promise will be fun. Maybe not when it’s snowing, but on a warm spring day, there’s nothing that I like better than lying in the grass with my friends.

  • Go window shopping

So this suggestion may seem childish too (are you sensing a pattern? It’s because I’m emotionally stunted), but I promise that there must be some part of you that would like to pretend to a be a wealthy and unapproachable heiress who can afford four pairs of those $200 shoes (and probably a lot more). So gather a group of friends (or go alone-you are an unapproachable heiress after all) and find a store with all the most beautiful things that you just can’t afford. You’ll find that you really aren’t ever too old to play dress up. Or honestly, just go to Target and enjoy looking at that aisle with all the decorative stationery and stuff.

  • Utilize student discounts while you still can

Remember what I said about your teen years being fleeting? Well they are, okay? Enjoy the fact that many stores, museums, parks, events, and probably a lot of other places have student discounts. You won’t have this kind of opportunity again until you’re a senior or a veteran, and I don’t think going to an amusement park will be nearly as fun with a walker. Spending a day with your friends finding all the places in your town that offer discounts to teens could be fun and possibly rewarding.

  • Watch a movie (Not that I’m suggesting that you illegally download it!)

Literally any movie. Be pretentious and find some depressing German films to watch (ask my brother, I’m not smart enough to know) or watch a rom-com, or a critically acclaimed drama, or a dumb comedy or any other genre. You could watch a “good” movie and you and your friends can talk about the excellent cinematography OR you could watch a really shitty movie and ask yourself why someone allowed The Room to even be made. I even have some suggestions for you:

  • Heathers (please just watch it! This is a fantastic movie)
  • Doctor Zhivago
  • Any eighties movie with John Cusack in it
  • Troll 2 – easily one of the worst movies ever
  • I Am Here…. Now or any other Neil Breen film
  • The Omen (the 1970s one, of course)
  • Carrie
  • Rosemary’s Baby
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • Vertigo
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Clueless (bonus points if you watch this instead of reading Emma)
  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

Remember, everyone loves movies! So, have fun with your friends and make some popcorn!


Seriously! You and your friends are sure to enjoy a hike near whatever beautiful outdoors you live near. I mean, I live in a state sometimes referred to as “America’s armpit” and I can find  beautiful places to hike. So look online, find your nearest National park or ask some outdoorsy people where they go. Then, pack some food and enough water and take a hike with your friends! It’s free, unless you’re going to a national park.

  • Explore your town/neighborhood/city/rural area with creepy corn maze

So this is similar to the above suggestion except it’s for people who don’t like to hike. I guarantee that there are places in your area that you haven’t yet visited, and instead of being bored with all the same spots, wander around with your friends until you find a new spot.

  • Visit your local library (no really!)

Libraries aren’t just for books! Ask your librarian what services they offer to help you save money. This may include free book/movie downloads, free tickets for museums or subscriptions for online dictionaries like the OED. If you haven’t aimlessly searched for curse words in the OED, this may not seem very interesting to you, but I can promise that it’s actually pretty cool (although I’m really not very cool so you probably shouldn’t trust my judgement)

  • Drive around aimlessly like the angsty teen that you are

Obviously, for this suggestion you need a valid driver’s license, and unless your parents are good enough to pay for your gas, you’ll need to pay for that, so it isn’t entirely free. Nevertheless, I can tell you from experience that this is a really excellent use of your time. Gather your friends, choose some loud and angsty music (I would suggest The Pixies’ Surfer Rosa) and go on a drive. I like to find some sort of country road that leads out of town and drive along it until we get to somewhere else. You really can’t commit to the spirit of of this suggestion unless you don’t use any maps.

  • Befriend the rich kids (kidding of course!)

Yeah, no, I am kidding – make friends with people you like. Although it would probably be convenient if they were wealthy and could lend you fantastic clothes every so often and take you on their family vacations to the Bahamas or Jamaica and if you’re really lucky, pay your college tuition. But hey- definitely not imperative to fun.


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