Since going away to college, I have learned that coming home and getting the chance to see all my old high school friends is both a blessing and a curse. I love catching up with everyone, laughing as we share and relate to each other's experiences with college life, but planning such get-togethers is almost always a hassle. At school, making plans is always so easy-with my best friends living just a block away from me in a city where there's always something to do. But at home, it gets difficult, as half of us are broke, and there's only so much you can do in suburban Illinois with $12. Yet, with much trial-and-error, my friends and I have managed to "make things work" when we're all off on a break and have a good time without breaking the bank.

Here are some of my favorite ideas we've come up with/things we've done in the past, to help inspire your next Wednesday night hangout or Saturday afternoon adventure:

1. Plan an afternoon picnic/barbeque.

2. Go weekend camping: make a road trip out of it!

3. Have a bonfire.

4. Take a trip to the beach.

5. Plan a pool day.

6. Watch the sunrise together: or sunset, if the idea of waking up at the crack of dawn during the summer doesn't sound like the most fun thing to do.

7. Go thrifting.

8. Take a day trip to a nearby city.

9. Attend a festival/fair.

10. Go to a drive-in movie.

11. Go for a drive: roll the windows all the way down and crank up your summer playlist.

12. Attend a concert: discover local bands! Research "free concerts" near you and see where it takes you.