How to Deal With Friends That Don’t Save Money
For most people, it is a lot easier to plan a budget and stick to it in the winter months. There is something about a sunny day and warm evening that just begs us to get out and enjoy it. But, it is easy for one night to turn into a weekend and one fun weekend into another. Before you know it, your budget has started its own early migration out of your wallet.
This is especially true if you have friends that can enjoy a beefier entertainment budget, or not as concerned about saving as you are. It can be hard to say, “no” when the alternative is pasta night at home alone. Especially when no one event seems to be that expensive, but in the summer months, the sheer number of activities can break any budget.
If your budget is feeling the pressure, here are 8 ways to mind your friends while managing your budget:
1. Plan for it. First and foremost, accept that you should enjoy your life and that entertainment is going to be a part of your life, and budget, so plan for it! It doesn’t need to be as big as your mortgage payment, but you need to plan to spend enough that you will not feel guilty about going over and ruin your fun.
2. Make suggestions early. If you wait until the last minute or don’t have a plan at all, it is easy to end up at an expensive restaurant. Be quick to suggest cheap or free activities early so that people can prepare for them. You might find that your social group not only appreciates your initiative to plan lower cost events, they also will enjoy a wider variety of activities in the process.
3. Enjoy home cooking…at home. Groceries for a big dinner can cost as little as 20% of the same meal at a restaurant, but who wants to do the dishes. One alternative is to buy the food and prepare it yourself, then hire a couple of neighborhood kids to serve the meal and clean up the dishes afterward. Why spend $150 extra at a restaurant when you can have better food at home and have it all cleaned up for less than $30 extra?
4. Potluck or pitch-in meals. If you are willing to host a meal, invite everyone to bring their own dish. Make assignments such as a salad, dessert or a main dish for everyone that will attend. If you don’t have someone who can host it, plan to meet at a local park and make it a picnic potluck. Not only do you enjoy a meal together, you can avoid babysitting costs by hauling the little ones in tow.
5. Enjoy your friends expensive tastes. You likely have at least one friend that likes to show-off their money or buy expensive vacation homes and toys. If they invite you to their cottage, go. If they offer to take you out to dinner, let them. People who buy expensive things, usually like to share what they spend their money on, so let them do it on you. Just make sure you show your appreciation in other ways like offering to babysit for them, mowing the lawn at the cottage or watching their pets while they are away on vacations.
6. Plan a night in. It might be fun to get out and enjoy yourself the whole summer, but it can also get tiring. Planning a night in with the family not only is good for the budget, it can also be a nice way to plan a night together. You might designate one night off per weekend or one weekend off per month. Either way, you will find it makes the other nights out more enjoyable.
7. Avoid peer pressure. There will activities that you don’t want to go to or that you just can’t afford. If that happens, don’t be afraid to just tell your friends that you won’t be going. “It sounds fun, but it really isn’t my thing. I hope you have a great time, but I am going to sit this one out.” Don’t lay a guilt trip on them for planning an event you won’t enjoy. You are an adult, so just be direct and let them know that you won’t be going this time.
8. Tell people you are trying to stick to a budget. Most people are trying to save money and will respect you for actually succeeding it. Tell them about your dreams and goals and you may be surprised at how much they will try to help you reach your goals, even if they don’t put effort into saving themselves.
In the end, your relationship with your friends is going to be the most important thing. When they are ready to go and splurge, don’t be afraid to make the right decision for your family and future plans. But make sure you plan ahead to spend money on entertainment and suggesting low-cost activities you avoid putting under stress on your relationships.
Featured image credit: PEXELS