Love getting together with friends but worried about how much those weekly outings are costing you? You don’t want to offer excuses that make you feel like a bad friend. And you don’t want to get yourself into debt by keeping up with all those dinners and nights out.
The good news is, you have options that will let you socialize while giving your wallet a break. Here are some real-world tips that can help you keep your social life—and keep more money in your pocket.
Try budget-friendly alternatives. Do your friends want to go to a movie? Suggest a weekend matinee, when tickets are cheaper. Or look around for a second-run movie theater near you. Do your friends want to meet for dinner? Suggest lunch instead.
Entertain at home. The next time your friends want to meet for dinner, suggest that you take turns hosting at your homes instead. Or start a weekly potluck where everyone can bring food they enjoy to share. These events can be just as fancy (think themed foods and clothes) or casual (board games and snacks) as you want. Plus, you can enjoy your friends’ company and good food without feeling rushed—or overcharged.
Shop around. Planning ahead and browsing for good deals can help you get the most out of your next outing. Sites like Groupon and Living Social can help you find discounts for restaurant meals, comedy clubs, spas, and many other fun activities.
Meet new people. Need a break from spendy friends? Try sites like Meetup to find folks who are interested in the things you like. Meetups exist for lots of interests, like videogames, hiking, and writing. The more social options you have, the less you’ll feel pressured to spend.
Be honest. Don’t be afraid to set your limits; once your budget’s fun fund is gone for the month, politely decline and explain that more outings just aren’t in your budget. Try suggesting one of the more frugal options above. You never know—some of your friends might be just as glad to save money as you are!
With a healthy budget, you’ll be able to do a little outside socializing. That way, you don’t always have to say no when invited to a night out or a ballgame. Instead, you can choose the events that are most meaningful to spend on, such as a friend’s birthday or wedding.
Best of all, those extra dollars that would have gone towards expensive outings can be put into savings or towards that new car you’ve been wanting. So get out there and have a fabulously frugal social life
This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation.