Broke, but not a hermit
September 11, 2010 6:12 PM   Subscribe

How can I get out and meet people with -zero- financial cost?

For the next month or so, I have zero expendable cash - Assume I can only pay gas (and not a ton of that). I have an effectively nonexistent social circle right now. What things can I do to go out and meet other people and make more friends, without spending any money? This is in North Atlanta, if it helps with specifics.
posted by frwagon to Human Relations (10 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: - library book club or other library programs
- volunteer at food bank or other nearby do-gooder place [animal shelter? senior citizen residence? hospital?]
- walk a neighbor's dog to some local dog park
- freecycle some stuff
- put up a flyer that says you'll do 30 free minutes of [thing you are good at] in exchange for a sandwich
- go to church
- walk around a local park with a sign saying "free english lessons" and advertise w/ flyers at local community colleges w/ ESL programs
- attend a softball or other athletic event at the high school
- host a BYO meetup at your house or a clothing swap, or a game night
- lots of runner groups on and other stuff in your area
posted by jessamyn at 6:22 PM on September 11, 2010 [15 favorites]

Best answer: Volunteer! I'm not sure if there are any spots left, but Hotoberfest might be a good place to start.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:23 PM on September 11, 2010

lots of runner groups on and other stuff in your area

Also hiking groups.
posted by smackfu at 6:27 PM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You don't say what your interests are, which makes this a bit tricky...

- you could look into volunteering at a local charity
- has lots of groups - you may find something interesting there
- local stitch&bitch / craft circles or book clubs could be good if you're into that kind of thing.
- local political / activist groups will have regular meetings
- get a local newspaper and look out for free gigs / book readings / free events of any kind
posted by finding.perdita at 6:32 PM on September 11, 2010

jessamyn's ideas are all good ones.

Also - get to know the neighbors.

If you already have some friends but would like to make more, what about throwing a party? Make it a potluck, and BYO of course, and ask people to bring their friends - you could even explicitly tell your tiny social circle that you're throwing a "meet n greet" or "friends swap" party because you want to widen your social circle. You should of course provide a little food, but it's easy to do that within the bounds of your monthly grocery budget.

Religious activity. There might be a Unitarian or Secular Humanist community in your area, if you are not otherwise religious.

If you have a hobby you otherwise do, what about looking for local [whatever] circles or groups based around that hobby? Here in New York there are quite a few knitting circles, maker fests, crafting get-togethers, game nights, LAN parties, cook-offs, etc etc etc. Most of which charge nothing to participate.

Hang out in the local park. Pickup basketball? Maybe put up a flier looking for a tennis buddy (assuming you can snag some paper and copies from work)? Or if you're not sporty, what about bringing a guitar or other musical instrument? For that matter, if you are at all musical, what about putting up a flier in a local cafe looking for people to jam with?

Cafe open mic nights? Bar trivia? How loose is "free", and how cool are you with acting non-awkward in a situation where you are expected to buy something but opt not to do so?

Go to an art gallery. These are usually free. If you sign up for their mailing list, they will send you emails when they're having an opening. Which is a great way to meet people. Ditto for readings in bookstores (or wherever else there are readings in Atlanta). Your local alt weekly will have info on this sort of thing.

Become politically involved. A lot of organizations have envelope stuffing parties every once in a while, which is a great way to meet like-minded people.

Is there an Atlanta equivalent to the nonsense list? The one in New York has become mainly a list of parties (some of which now cost money), though a few years ago it was more "free artsy randomness" type events. Maybe an Atlanta equivalent of The Skint is more likely to exist and have what you want.
posted by Sara C. at 6:37 PM on September 11, 2010 [4 favorites]

Here's a list of 100 Free Things to Do on a Money Free Weekend from the Simple Dollar. Some of these are solo activities and others are social.
posted by CathyG at 8:01 PM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I've signed up for HOToberFest - that looks awesome! Lots of good suggestions here, I could pretty much mark them all as best answer. Thanks everyone!
posted by frwagon at 9:00 PM on September 11, 2010

Go to the nearest University. There are usually recitals, lectures, and other free cultural events. The newspaper, which you can read at the library, lists events, some of which will be free. The museums probably have a free evening. See if you can be an usher at a theater or concert hall; you get to see the event, and the other ushers are a fun crowd.
posted by theora55 at 4:58 AM on September 12, 2010

I've signed up for HOToberFest

Yay! We'll probably be there for the free portion.

Other things that might be fun for you, depending on how much tourist-y stuff you've done in ATL. Not all of them are guaranteed social events, but they could still be fun to do yourself. The Boy and I might be up for some museums/hangout times as well, depending on our schedules.

-Do a Civil War tour: Visit various battle sites (Peachtree Creek, Battle of Atlanta, list of sites that I know nothing about), Oakland Cemetery and the Cyclorama. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is free. There is also the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, but it's $7.50.
-Oct. 9-10 is the Pride Festival in Piedmont Park.
- If you're into film, Atlanta Film Festival hosts Eat, Drink and B-Indie every third Tuesday at Manuel's Tavern. (You should be able to get by with just a soda or one beer.)
- Wander around with a camera. L5P would be good, or check out the graffiti in Inman Park.
- Fernbank Science Center is free.
-On the first Saturday of every month, the High welcomes Fulton County residents to the Museum for free.
- Photo ID and any valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card gets you free admission to certain museums on the first full weekend of every month. In Atlanta, it's the High Museum and Atlanta History Center. In Cartersville, there's Tellus Science Museum and Booth Western Art Museum. You can also sign up for alerts for this.
- is having a book swap in North Dekalb Mall on Sept. 18, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Bring 2 books to trade in, take 2 with you. Bring 10, take 10.
- I haven't made it there yet, but Drinking Liberally is held each Thursday at Thinking Man in Decatur.
- It'll soon be cool enough to hike again. Red Top Mountain is easy, close-ish, and it's $5 to park. 60 hikes within 60 miles of Atlanta.
posted by runningwithscissors at 7:08 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

get a job (part-time? temporary?) where you have some interaction with co-workers (most jobs do).
posted by sninctown at 8:39 AM on September 13, 2010

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