Once a week some university friends and I used to get together to cook something fun to eat before watching a movie or playing a game. The cooking together was as much fun as the movie or game. No one had much money, so we all pitched in with the ingredients for the meal. When we made pizza the host or hostess for the night made the dough and everyone else brought a topping ingredient. It was a lot of fun creating pizzas or preparing other meals according to one or more recipes that we thought sounded good. Sometimes we spent a whole evening just cooking, talking, laughing, eating and, of course, washing up. One time a friend brought a friend who taught (or tried to teach) us how to salsa dance after our dinner. Other times people brought guitars, bongos or other instruments and we had jam sessions. Good times!
In the years since graduation I've been fortunate enough at times to have friends who enjoy getting together like this, but not recently. Since moving a thousand miles away to a small town we have been a bit lonely. I think that I need to follow my own suggestion and ask some people over for an evening of cooking, eating, music and a game of some sort. It will be a good way to get to know the people better.
I'm glad that you posted your question about inexpensive activities because you have helped me as well as yourself and maybe others.