14 Tips for Going Out While On a Budget
There’s no greater buzz-kill to your social life than, well, not being able to afford it. And sometimes when you’re trying to turn your financial ship around, that’s the reality you face.
Social events, going out, and even just hanging out with friends can get pretty expensive pretty fast. But your social life shouldn’t suffer just because of money, so follow these simple tips for going out while on a budget:
Dinner Party > Potluck. Throwing a dinner party gets e.x.p.e.n.s.i.v.e. But there are so many occasions in life that call for a little celebratory feast. Involving guests in the planning, preparing, and bringing of dishes to pass is a great way to not only save money but experience someone else’s favorite foods.
Spa Day > At Home Pampering. Luxuriating the day away at the spa with your best friends is sure to be relaxing, but the stress will surely hit when you see the charges on your credit card bill. Instead, suggest a day at home pampering yourselves with inexpensive yet luxurious at-home options, like essential oil aroma therapy, manis and pedis, and facials.
Movie Theater > At Home Marathon. If you’ve been to the movies recently, you know the exorbitant expenses you’ll rack up there. Between tickets, drinks, and popcorn, you’re looking at least $25 just for yourself! Next time you talk about hitting up the theater with your friends, suggest an at-home viewing instead. You can affordably rent movies via Redbox or Netflix and pop yourself a ton of popcorn at a fraction of the cost.
Gym > Hiking. Many friends bond over breaking a sweat and pumping iron. But gym memberships can get costly. Opt for the great outdoors instead, hitting a hiking trail or other similar recreational sport that will get your heart pumping for free.
Sold Out Show > Concert in the Park. Many towns and communities host free or affordable events at local parks during hot summer months. You can usually find free music concerts, movies, and similar events weekly. All you have to do is look up your local events calendar and gather up your best pals.
Waterpark > Mountain Lake. Hot summer months tempt us to hit up expensive water parks or community pools that charge entrance fees. Save a couple bucks by loading your friends into the car and heading to the nearest lake or beach. You’ll enjoy the outdoors, good company, and refreshing water all at the same time.
Hotel > Camping. Road trips abound this time of year, and likely your friends will want to flee the confines of city life and work to travel and visit new and exciting places. But hotel accommodations get costly, even when sharing a room, so suggest camping instead! You can rent a tent site for nickels on the dollar in comparison to hotel rates. (Plus it’s more fun and adventurous!)
Biking > Driving. Save money on gas and pull out the bikes the next time you want to meet up with friends. Encourage them to join you as well, taking in a little extra daylight and savoring the long days of sunshine.
Grocery Shopping > Gardening. Starting a community garden with your best friends is a great way to connect and bring home fresh, inexpensive produce home. Plus, there’s a magical bond between people who’ve come together, worked hard, and accomplished a shared goal.
Comedy Show > Open Mic Night. A lot of new, aspiring comedians participate in open mic nights at a fraction of the cost compared to an amped up comedy show that charges pricey entrance fees. Support local, emerging comedians by gathering your friends and hitting up these open mic events.
Dining Out > Eating In. When your buddies suggest grabbing grub, invite them over instead for those world-famous tacos or mouth-watering BBQ you’ve been ranting and raving about. It’s a great way to control what you’re eating and also save some money at the same time. (If it’s going to be a large group, refer to suggestion number one. Ask people to bring side dishes and drinks to even out the cost.)
Shopping Mall > Secondhand Store. Secondhand is all the rage right now and everyone, from luxury and name brand lovers to deal hunters, can find a solution that helps their wallet. Next time your friends are getting together to shop, suggest adding in a secondhand store or two. You can save cash while finding incredible deals.
Full Price > Specials and Deals. You know you get together with your pals every third Saturday. Why not plan ahead and find the best deals? You can use sites like Groupon for activities, events, entrance fees, and specials at a greatly reduced price. Everybody wins!
Sporting Events > Game Night. Sports are America’s favorite pastime… and they’re also one of the most expensive events to go to. Instead of paying a crazy amount for a football game ticket, suggest having a game night at your place or a local park. You can stream the game while hosting sports and games, both indoors and out.
All in all, your friendships are important, but they shouldn’t cause your finances to go in the red. You have to stay focused on your budget while still cultivating meaningful relationships. A final few tips:
- Set your limit beforehand. Know how much you can afford before even confirming plans.
- Be open with your friends. Tell them you’re focused on your budget and that particular suggestions are outside of your financial goals.
- Always have more affordable suggestions.
- Don’t be a downer. Don’t let money be the one thing holding you back. If your best friend’s going away party is at an expensive 5-star restaurant, find a menu option that aligns with your budget.
What are some of your suggestions for going out while on a budget? What other activities do you find both fun and affordable and great for groups?