When you’re a student, there is a lot to manage. From lectures, essays, and seminar work to getting in necessary downtime and having fun with your classmates and housemates. At the same time, you’re also likely living by your own money, so need to throw budgeting into this delicate juggling act.

Balancing your budget with your social life is one of the most challenging factors, but it’s very doable when, as a group, you’re able to mix some cheaper days and nights of fun activities. A lot of the time, people find that the nights where they make-do and don’t spend money end up being some of the most memorable times of the whole student experience.

So here, we’ve compiled four ways for you and your friends to mix in a cheaper night to help ease your budget along.

Make the most of your area’s museums and exhibits

It’s essential to be able to utilise your spare time well, with museums and exhibitions set up around the country not only being enriching but also often being free or cheap. You’d be hard-pressed not to be able to find a local, general, art, or history museum near your residence, and spending a day to venture in and explore the exhibits with your friends can be a lot of fun. The topic of the museum may not be one of your favoured subject areas, and you may not retain a vast amount of the information, but with the right people, you’re bound to enjoy the displays. It’s also a great chance to take some photos.

Challenging the ‘too many cooks’ saying

Everyone has to cook and eat dinner at some point, and doing this for yourself can be not only dull but also be expensive. Most food items are packaged to be made for more than one person. So, to save some cash and have a bit more fun, shop for all of the ingredients to a bulk cook where everyone pays an equal amount, and then cook the meal as a team.

While following the top tips provided by Michelin Star chef Raymond Blanc is wise, the best way to go about a big team cook is to pick a meal which has many components, and would probably be too expensive to pull off on your own, such as a roast dinner. With a roast dinner, having someone to cover each segment gets everyone involved and makes the whole process much easier than having to do it all by yourself. At the end, you all get to enjoy everyone’s different styles and twists in one big meal.

Embrace the classic game night

For a game night, it’s a good idea to delve into some classic forms of gaming. Not only can the classics be cheap, but they can also use up plenty of time to fill an afternoon or evening. Board games are a natural starting point, with a focus on keeping your mind active as a student lending Trivial Pursuit and its many editions as a solid choice.

In a similar line of thinking, you want your game time to enriching as well as fun, with online slot games that evoke elements of history and mythology being excellent choices. The free games of Cleopatra, Zeus, and Spartacus are sound picks for the focus of a casino game night, with people going onto the slot titles and racing to get to a winning coin tally. Or, of course, there’s the classic poker night. You don’t even need a big buy-in as when the game starts, it comes down to chip count as opposed to money on the table.

Be creative and have some fun with temporary tattoos

This option can be a lot of fun and, depending on how you structure the evening, iconic. Making temporary tattoos is as easy as drawing with eyeliner and sealing with hairspray – which leaves a temporary tattoo for about 24 hours. Or, you could get some temporary tattoo paper, print images on, and then transfer them to each other. For an evening of laughs, set up two bowls, one filled with options for where to put the tattoo, and the other with everyone’s ideas and mock drawings. Then, you’ve each got to draw one ticket from each bowl and commit to those temporary inkings.

Having fun on a budget is easy, with these ideas hopefully spurring your imagination and leading to some exciting, cost-effective activities of your own.