From time to time, saving money and living life to the fullest can begin to feel mutually exclusive. Whether we’re putting cash aside for a big purchase, budgeting for the next holiday, or just saving for the future, our social lives tend to suffer the most from our skimping, scraping, and sparing ways.
If we’re not careful, too much of that penny-pinching self-denial can begin to grind down our spirits, and lead to us feeling as though we are missing out on the best parts of life. The trouble is, striking a balance between saving and renouncing our social lives altogether is one of the most sustainable ways of adhering to a good budget; it enables us to benefit from those forty hours a week in the office now, and in the future, too.
Read more below about preserving your social life when you’re trying to save money.
Be Upfront with Yourself, and Others
Be realistic about your budget for socialising. Take another look at your finances and saving goals for the month, and work out how much you feel comfortable keeping aside for those optional extras. You may not always need as much as you think, and any leftovers can be added to your savings, or carried over into the next month.
Remember that ‘budget’ is not a bad word, and a frank conversation with your nearest and dearest is much better than coming up with countless excuses and white lies to explain your absence from social events.
There are plenty of fun, free ways to keep in touch with friends and family – and meet new, likeminded people from around the world – online. Joining internet groups based on your interests, or just video conferencing with your friends is a great way to feel connected with the world when gas, parking, meals out and drinks seem out of the question.
Similarly, online gaming offers an incredibly versatile platform on which to interact with other players, and stay in touch with the world. By setting your own limits, you can continue play your favourite games including Goblin Cave and other slots, without ever overstepping your own limits.
Embrace the Great Outdoors
Picnics, hikes, barbeques and outdoor events are all great options for anyone on a budget. Not only do you get plenty of fresh air and exercise, but you can also wile away the hours with your friends and family without needing to constantly order another round of drinks just to keep your table.
Even the odd meal out here and there can really undermine your finances. In fact, diners can spend thousands of dollars every year on eating out at restaurants, but packing a homemade lunch and walking to a great vantage point with friends costs only a fraction of that.
Research Your City
Fulfilling activities don’t always come with hefty price tags, and there are plenty of museums that are free to all. Some exhibitions tend to charge a small entrance fee, so be sure to check their details online before you head out there.
Exploring the city on foot will lead you to plenty of new places you have never explored before. Local events like art shows and farmers’ markets are typically free to walk around, and offer a brilliant opportunity to meet new people.
Learn How to be an Economical Host
Having friends and family to visit needn’t be a lavish affair. Arrange a potluck or put together a smorgasbord and invite everyone round for a movie or games night. Don’t bother with food delivery services – making pizza from scratch is incredibly easy, cheap, and another fun activity to do with your guests.
Money doesn’t have to call the shots when it comes to entertaining at home. Whether you’re hosting a low-key couples’ night or throwing a party, enjoying the company of good friends and family doesn’t need to derail your monthly budget.
If you’re interested in meeting new people, one of the best ways to get yourself out of the house is to volunteer at a local charity or organisation. Not only is it free, but it’s also a great way to give back to the community and experience life from a different point of view.