Saving money and living a frugal life is tough – you’re constantly thinking about money and what you can and cannot afford. It can be pretty uninspiring… I know because when I’m trying to keep the spending down I have a habit of staying in and unintentionally breaking contact with my friends. Needless to say this isn’t good for you’re health.
My wife on the other hand is a literal hive of social activity. She makes the effort to stay in regular contact with her friends and is always organising some kind of social activity. On average she’ll she friends at least twice a week and I’m going to let you know how she does it without spending a great deal of money.
Sophie plays netball once a week and has done for nearly seven years. It’s part of a local network of teams in Manchester called SimplyNetball and although it’s not particularly competitive it’s a good way of meeting up with her friends each week. It’s pretty cost effective too. They pay around £40 at the beginning of each season and then a weekly cost of 50p.
There’s nothing much cheaper then inviting folk round for a cuppa and a catch up. Now admittedly this is easier for females and it’s something Sophie does regularly; either inviting friends round our house or going round to theirs. Buying in some biscuits and making sure you have plenty of milk and tea isn’t expensive to do.
In fact, in my opinion the night in is highly underrated, last week Soph and her friends had a Saturday night Twilight marathon in preparation for the release of the new film. Needless to say I made my own plans for the evening. The girls brought round their own wine and some nibbles and that was all it costs since we (unfortunately) already had the DVDs. In the past we’ve also done wing nights (deep frying a tonne of wings and eating with hot sauce to some sport), old school game nights, murder mysteries and themed parties.
One of my worst habits is declining invitations out because I can’t afford it and I imagine that there are a lot of people the same. The problem with this though is if you decline enough invitations eventually they’ll stop. However, my wife prioritises these kind of social activities even if she has little money – she simply chooses not to drink when she’s out, which I find quite difficult so I simply don’t go if I know I can’t afford to buy as many drinks as I’d usually. Which is kind of sad really.
What we’ll also do is make an effort to go out for meals and take advantage of special offers or voucher codes for places like Zizzi and GBK. I also occasionally get discount at Nandos as a former employee…
The real point here is not to let frugality cut you of from your social life. If you budget correctly then there’s no reason why you can’t indulge occasionally and within reason, rather than holing yourself up inside for the winter. Budgeting and saving money is about money management, so if you’re going to change your spending habits for good, you need to learn how to do the things you love on your particular budget.