When you’re on a diet – be it a money diet or a weight loss diet – you have to accept that some of your usual behaviours will have to change. No more flashy nights out slithering in and out of Ubers and dropping $15 at Lord of the Fries on your way home. No more mindlessly throwing items into your ASOS shopping cart while you wait for your $50 Deliveroo order to arrive. 

Try these 9 non-lame activities to sail through your weekends with dolla in the bank:

1. Have a Sex & The City Style Wardrobe Cleanse

Invite your pals round to help you sort through your wardrobe. Try on old outfits and throw it back to that year dogtooth print was cool, and identify items to keep, chuck or sell, and guzzle down some cheap wine while you do so.

Cost: as cheap as the wine you can tolerate!

2. Have a Pot Luck Dinner

Skip the spensy restaurant for your next get together and host a pot luck dinner. Everyone makes a dish (you can set a spending limit on ingredients) and brings it along to the host’s house. The result? A shed load of tasty food, an evening of laughs and not a bill in sight.

Cost: $20 max per dish

3. Make Your Own Winery

Can’t quite find the cash to spend hours grazing on overpriced cheese boards and pretending you can totally taste the oak notes the pinot noir? Fear not. Create your own winery at home by inviting your crew over and asking everyone to bring a bottle of wine with the label covered. Do your own wine tastings for each other and see if you can correctly guess the wine! Throw in a loaf of crusty bread and some Coles own brand brie and you’ve got yourself a winery in your lounge room.

Cost: approx. $6-10 per person for wine, $3 for bread and $3 for brie.

4. Host a Pamper Party

Given up facials and manicures as part of your money diet? Host your own pamper night with your own face masks and manicures. You can get sheet masks for as little as $2 from some Korean beauty stores like Innisfree and W Beauty, and I’m sure you can dig out some nail polishes from the days before shellac ruled the lands. Painting someone else’s nails is infinitely easier than your own, so you’ll spare each other the $40 salon cost and the smudgey, wonky right hand. Bonus!

Cost: $2 per face mask per person

5. Host a Murder Mystery Dinner

Another naff-sounding shit show that you wouldn’t be seen dead at – I know, I know. But again, give me the benefit of the doubt here. You can print out free murder mystery plans and scripts online, that can be played over dinner and drinks for 2-4 hours, like this Harry Potter themed one, or this Business of Murder one. You’ll get into the spirit of things quickly and soon be keen to know who the culprit is. Best of all – it’s totally free and is guaranteed laughs. Make your own dinner and BYO drinks and you’ve got a money-diet-friendly night in. WELCOME!

Cost: free + dinner

6. Join a Running Club or Local Sports Team

Okay I know but hear me out. While reliving your high school PE lessons might sound like hell on earth, you might actually find that you enjoy yourself. Lots of cities host free running clubs like the Nike Run Club or very low cost team sports leagues. It’s a great way to be social and active without spending a fortune.

Cost: free-$10

7. Start a Book-Club-Style Netflix Club!

Ok so book club might sound like something your Mum did in the 80s – when she wasn’t at Tupperware parties of course. Bring the good old book club into the 21st century, and instead of reading a book and discussing it in a group, decide on a Netflix or Stan series, watch it in your own homes at the same time and then get together with a bottle of whatever’s hanging out in Dan Murphy’s $5 discount barrel and dissect the plot and characters ‘til the wine runs dry.

Cost: cheap AF wine + snacks

8. Reorganise Your Bedroom or Lounge Room

If you’re a homewares junkie and you’re yearning to add to your ever growing collection of scatter cushions and pot plants, have a night in and rearrange your bedroom or lounge room. Move your bed to the opposite side of the room, switch up your couch and coffee table or switch up your dining zone. It’ll make your space feel fresh and new without spending a cent.

Cost: free

9. Create a Vision Board

Take time for a night in on your own and create a vision board for your future. Think about where you want your life to go, and quantify your goals with pictures. Include your financial goals, too – it’ll help you stick to your money diet by focusing on the long term benefits.

Cost: free