5 Ways to be a Broke Twentysomething With Style


All Groan Up is honored to welcome Joanna — a 25 year old administrator/marketer/general office problem solver trying to battle through a quarter life crisis. She writes at joannamuses.com and tweets at @joannamuses.

Being newly all groan up can do terrible things for your fun levels if you aren’t careful. No longer do you have access to all the cheap or free stuff happening on your college campus and your budget can’t quite accommodate $80 concert tickets. As depressing as these deprivations are, here are five ideas to be a broke twentysomething with style.



1. Act Like a Tourist

You don’t have to wear those ugly tourist t-shirts (unless you want to), but imitating a tourist in other ways can pay off. If you live in a city that tends to attract tourists, it is likely that there is free tours or activities that are targeted at them but open to locals. From reading the local tourist department website, I discovered a free tour of famous local architecture that turned out to be really interesting and that entry was free to some museums in the area.

2. Be a Little Bit Hipster

Going to the super popular concerts or events can be pricey. Instead, watch out for the musicians, exhibitions or events that aren’t as well known yet. You probably won’t like every unknown you check out, but chances are you’ll find some incredible stuff. You might even discover the next big thing, giving you the legitimate right to brag that you knew about them before they were cool.And what could be more hipster than that?

3. Go to Lectures

I’m not suggesting you sneak back into the Math 101 classes at your local college (unless of course this is your strange idea of fun). Instead, look out for the public lectures or workshops on topics that interest you run by local community groups or industry associations. Often these are free or have a very low entry charge. It is a great way to have fun, learn about things you wish you did at college, meet like-minded people and find something interesting to talk about at dinner parties.

4. Be Strategic with your Spend

Just because you have to spend money to do some things doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay full price. Some cinemas have cheaper movie tickets on certain days of the week or on movies that have been showing for a while. Sometimes you can get concert or theater tickets cheaper on the day if you are willing to take your chances on getting whatever they haven’t been able to sell at full price. It might make scheduling a bit harder, but being flexible can allow you to stretch your dollars much further.

5. Stay Home

Eating out is easy, but going out for anything other than underwhelming and unhealthy fast food is often too expensive. Instead, throw a dinner party at your place. With a bit of planning you can throw a great party for not much money. If cooking everything is a bit too overwhelming, ask everyone to cook and bring one item. Of course this occasionally results in some weird food combinations, but what could be more hipster than that?

What other ways have you found to have fun on a little budget?



  1. Kristi-Joy

    If you’re not too concerned about hygiene (and, come on, something’s got to be sacrificed – we’re at the right age for it to be health), get a group of friends together, go to McDonalds, buy a small refillable pop (that’s soda to the east-coasters) and keep refilling and passing it around. Try different combinations of flavors. Add a large fry and some playing cards, and you’ve got at least a couple hours of fun lined up.

    I’ve never been kicked out for this. Yet. But it’s a cheap. So it’s worth the risk!

  2. Sandy

    My friend and I do “Lunch and a bookstore” on a budget by bringing a bagged lunch to Chicago’s largest library. We load up on good books and have a picnic!

    • Joanna

      Sandy, that’s a fantastic idea. Libraries are so underrated.

  3. Nalini

    Loved this article!! Great information with just the right touch of humor. So timely! I would add that a great way to spend on a tight budget is thrift shops and yard sales. Really good stuff here on All Groan Up. Keep it coming!!!

    • Joanna

      Thrift shops are extra fun if you go with other people. You can turn it into a game of who can get the best (or worst) outfit within a certain budget.

  4. Amy

    I LOVE all the ideas everyone has! I love having picnics too, but at the park with some board games. If it’s cold out though, then the library would be my first pick for a picnic too.


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