Accepting Social Invitations without Overspending

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?


Accepting Social Invitations without Overspending — 30 Comments

  1. If the main reason is to ge together, it should not matter wher eyou go. Many people socialize with drinks, but it is not a necessity. You can meet at your home and rotate to each other’s homes.

  2. I’m all for spending time with friends, but I certainly don’t let myself be put in situations I don’t feel comfortable in. I’ve told people that I will never go to a club (especially when someone mentions the idiocy of bottle service), and I don’t. I also won’t go to places like Capital Grille or Ruth’s Chris that I find to be way overpriced for the quality of food. But, I also hit up each time plans are being discussed, because let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to get $25, $50, or $100 worth of food for practically free? Plus I don’t mind presenting a coupon if it means spending less.

    • Sounds like you have a clear set of boundaries and guidelines you follow. That’s good because you always know what to do. You will never have to worry about compromising or doing something you are not comfortable with. I like that and respect that.

      This thing sounds cool. I wonder if there are any Canadian restaurants that use it?

  3. I think social spending is a major reason behind how we form friendships. There simply has to be some parity there or else the imbalance does cause friction, as you point out. If one group expects uptown cocktails and the other wants to spend a few dollars on pizza, that relationship is pushing it. Financial common-ground is a challenging balancing act.

    • I would have to agree with you on that. We have friends who fit into both descriptions. However it somehow seems to work. Sometimes we go out for pizza and other times we head a ritzy restaurant. As long as there aren’t extremes in either case, which never happens, everyone is happy and has fun. Our friends just like spending time with one another which to me is the way it should be. When we have declined things before politely we have never been given the gears about it. They just mind their own business and never push to know why.

  4. Real friends will understand budget sacrifices. I think meeting at a house is a great alternative, as is varying the meeting times and locations. You can value relationships and people without valuing outings that break your budget.

  5. If I don’t want to spend a ton of money. I invite my friends over or go to there place. Splitting the bill doesn’t work with everyone. We once had friends who bought more expensive items because they know we will split the bill. This ticked me off to no end. I say no.. or invite them over

  6. We discovered two years ago that leaving friends to arrange outings to dinner was not the best way to do things! We ended up paying a fortune for the two of us at an OK restaurant – OK but not sensational. (Whereas round the corner from us is a restaurant that is Michelin recommended and you can have lunch there for £5 – quite the opposite!).

    No, we realised that going to a restaurant was not only a waste of money but also it was far nicer to have a meal at home. So we started a routine of having folk round – and hoping this would be reciprocated (it sometimes takes quite a time for this to happen). Then you can eat at leisure, spend time without a waiter hovering over you to remove the plates, don’t suffer from the hen party at the next table and save a fortune! No brainer…..

    • We tend to entertain a lot at home for similar reasons that you mentioned. We like the relaxing atmosphere, the fact we don’t have to rush because someone needs the table and just the flexibility to eat whatever we want. Our friends love coming to our house and we always have a really good time. Glad you have started doing this too.

  7. This is a very interesting topic. I tend not to meet friends too frequently to save money. It is really expensive to have friends over for dinner. I end up spending about $100 every time I have guests. This has become a big social problem for me.

    • Social interaction is important. Don’t become a hermit. It is not good for you. Try having potlucks where everyone brings some food so you don’t spend so much. Or have people over for games or something. This costs nothing. There are many different things you can do that don’t cost money.

  8. This is definitely a weakness of mine. I always let my stupid male pride get the best of me. My dad was always the first to reach for the cheque out of generosity. Maybe at some point in my life I’ll have enough passive income to match this level of social spending, but right now it would definitely benefit me to put my pride in the back seat for a little while.

    • I can relate. I used to do something similar. I felt like I had to keep up with others or buy my friends so to speak. It is a difficult situation to be in for sure. I would say though that it is worth making an adjustment. Interestingly you find out who your real friends are,

  9. I feel this way about going out with friends all the time, and a lot of the time I really prefer to stay in instead. I love potlucks and feel they are vastly underrated. The food is always amazing in my experience (often better than restaurants), and it’s much cheaper for everyone, too.

  10. What a great post! I have friends who love going out to expensive places and get angry when I say that we cannot afford some of their chose places. It should not really matter where we get together, right? But some people see it differently. We actually switched to lunches and brunches. It is cheaper and still fun!

    • You are right. It shouldn’t matter but it seems that to some people the activity is more important that who they are spending time with. Backwards in my mind if you ask me. You are right- lunches are cheaper. Glad you have found a way to compromise and still have fun.

  11. I am surely a social butterfly with a tendency to invite people out for happy hours or dinners without giving a second thought to the cost. I always, however, make a point to get separate checks whenever possible to avoid an awkward moment.

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