Hanging out with friends doesn’t need to be expensive, and you can still have a good deal of fun on the cheap. If you’ve previously been feeling that you need to decline social invitations because you don’t have the cash to fritter away, stop hiding away! Here are some tips for spending time with friends that don’t need to cost a small fortune.
Meet at a cheaper time. Dinner is a popular time to meet but it’s also the most expensive. If you still want to catch up without spending much, suggest a breakfast or lunch arrangement instead. Because less people will choose to meet then, the atmosphere will often be a lot more conducive to catching up properly.
Make it obvious that you want to split the bill. Even if you were invited to the occasion (as opposed to initiating it yourself), don’t assume that everyone else will automatically be prepared to pay their share of the bill when it arrives. If you suspect that there is a possibility that one or more of your friends may try to duck out of covering themselves, ask if you can receive separate bills to make it clear that you’ll only be happy to pay for what you’ve ordered. This way, if you’re planning to order the bare minimum to keep costs down, you won’t be covering someone who has had a lot more to eat and drink than you.
Look for cheap or free entertainment options. If you know where to look, there are ways to enjoy yourself without stretching yourself too far financially. Have a look around and see if there are entertainment options such as free (or inexpensive) gigs coming up in your local area. If you prefer eating out, see if you can get your hands on any discount vouchers before you make arrangements and then base your plans around it.
Stay at home. If going out is just too expensive for your budget, why not entertain some friends at home instead? After all, the main idea is to catch up and spend some time together and that doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. Something as simple as eating pizza while watching a film could give you a great opportunity to hang out without compromising your budget. Sure, this may not be to everyone’s taste but if they are true friends, they’ll understand that your finances don’t stretch any further than this and if they are desperate to do something more exciting, they can always foot the bill! Taking it in turns to host a get-together can allow you to make a regular habit of this, which is great if not having the spare cash to get out is making you feel self-conscious.
How to Handle Friends Who Don’t Understand
Depending on your circle of friends, you may find that your reluctance to overspend causes friction, especially if you’ve been going along with their plans for fear of rocking the boat and have only just felt able to say that you no longer want to do so. If this happens to you, hold firm – don’t feel obliged to spend more than you can afford to just to keep up appearances. Good friends will have no problem with the situation once they realize that you don’t have the money to go out on a regular basis. For friends who can’t accept this, ask yourself whether they really deserve your loyalty.
Even if your budget is on the tight side, don’t feel that you have to neglect your friends. You may have to get creative to find ways to have fun without overspending but this can be half the fun, especially if you can get your friends on board with this.
So, have you ever felt this way? What kinds of things have you done to stay connected?