Other social experiences that you pay a lot for include country clubs and Scientology.
I must admit this was very useful for me, too. Not just for making friends, but living semi-on-your-own, having some familiar but mostly new faces, and the excitement of certain activities.
Since you didn’t choose that road, don’t beat yourself up, but make friends in other ways. Do you have meetups nearby? Attend them if so. If not, create them and see who might want to attend. Even advertise at a nearby community college or other means if possible.
There are probably cheaper ways to make friends.