Author Topic: Being social on a MMM budget  (Read 5784 times)

missbrooke

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Being social on a MMM budget
« on: March 06, 2014, 01:22:06 PM »
 Hi MMM Readers!

I have recently been inspired by this blog as well as a book I read by Ramit Sethi - they have many overlapping pieces of advice. Since then I increased my savings rate from 0% to 33% for my 401K and am stashing another few % for my safety net. I live in SF and despite living in the most expensive area in the country managed to decrease my rent from $1500/month (already low for the area) to $500/month (although not permanently due to a shaky lease) by being ruthless and persistent in the housing market. Now I've hit a wall.

I would love your perspective on a problem. I want to be super social and take advantage of all this city has to offer while not breaking my budget. Also, being a hermit isn't healthy:) The problem is, it seems like everything social comes with a pricetag. Tango lessons are $20/night, mindful meditation sessions at the church are a suggested donation of $10/session, along with almost everything else I would want to do. This adds up to $80-$200/month on social activities - and these are the cheapest things I can find. It seems like the only way to spend time with other people without breaking the bank is to sit at home or their house and watch TV, drink, or play cards. Hiking is an option too although always going hiking gets old. What do you recommend for meeting new people in a new city while working towards financial freedom? What types of activities would you recommend to keep building on those relationships? It's lonely having just moved here on my own, but everything I can think of to meet new people in SF comes at a high price.

I want to save even more than 33%, but I also think it's bad to be a hermit. I'm having trouble balancing these extremes. What do you guys think?

Thanks for your help!

lackofstache

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 01:32:48 PM »
I find that there are plenty of free social events where I live. The velodrome in the spring/summer/fall is a great Friday night activity for me & my family. Our Art musuem is also free, which comes in handy over the long winter. Over the years I've found friends that are also into doing things cheaply. We ride bikes downtown and park between a coupla museums and make coffee outside instead of going to a coffee shop. We go dumpster diving instead shopping together. We get together to butcher chickens/ducks/geese instead of going to the bar. We roast coffee together sometimes. Being social doesn't have to cost money, you just have to find the things you want to do and then find others who do similar things and then do them together rather than paying a 3rd party to host you.

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 01:37:21 PM »
Being social doesn't have to cost money, you just have to find the things you want to do and then find others who do similar things and then do them together rather than paying a 3rd party to host you.

I think this is the key. It's kind of like kid's activities nowadays - we used to just get some neighborhood kids together for a wiffle ball game, but now it's all organized sports and their associated fees.
Nothing stopping you from just getting some people together to do something. ;-)

swick

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 01:39:55 PM »
Hi MMM Readers!

I have recently been inspired by this blog as well as a book I read by Ramit Sethi - they have many overlapping pieces of advice. Since then I increased my savings rate from 0% to 33% for my 401K and am stashing another few % for my safety net. I live in SF and despite living in the most expensive area in the country managed to decrease my rent from $1500/month (already low for the area) to $500/month (although not permanently due to a shaky lease) by being ruthless and persistent in the housing market. Now I've hit a wall.

I would love your perspective on a problem. I want to be super social and take advantage of all this city has to offer while not breaking my budget. Also, being a hermit isn't healthy:) The problem is, it seems like everything social comes with a pricetag. Tango lessons are $20/night, mindful meditation sessions at the church are a suggested donation of $10/session, along with almost everything else I would want to do. This adds up to $80-$200/month on social activities - and these are the cheapest things I can find. It seems like the only way to spend time with other people without breaking the bank is to sit at home or their house and watch TV, drink, or play cards. Hiking is an option too although always going hiking gets old. What do you recommend for meeting new people in a new city while working towards financial freedom? What types of activities would you recommend to keep building on those relationships? It's lonely having just moved here on my own, but everything I can think of to meet new people in SF comes at a high price.

I want to save even more than 33%, but I also think it's bad to be a hermit. I'm having trouble balancing these extremes. What do you guys think?

Thanks for your help!

Sounds like you have made some big changes! I googled "Free things to do in SF" and came up with tons of results, I would start there!

Also, if you haven't sit down and figure out your budget - make sure to include some money for entertainment. You don't want life to pass you by and in a new city it is important to go out and establish networks. Then use that money the best/ most effective way you can.  Also, if you have TV you could get rid of it and put that money into your entertainment fund :)

Gallery/art openings are also a great way to meet people, and usually offer free appetizers.

schimt

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 01:59:17 PM »
my list of social free things to do with friends that comes to mind

Free sports in parks: volleyball, tennis, fishing, bike riding, baseball ect
Go dancing, there are many bars and clubs that are free to enter, and your not forced to buy drinks
Swimming in the ocean or lake
Cook together and enjoy a great meal as a group
Exercise together, running, biking, swimming or at home exercise videos
Play games: pictionary, cards, Wii, ect.
Mud Wrestling: (had to throw one goofy one in)
Brew tour or Wine Tastings
Dog walking

StarryC

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 02:11:58 PM »
I am kind of surprised that a church would have a "suggested donation" for a spiritual event!  Maybe you need to look at some other churches/ spiritual organizations if that is what you are in to.   I see there are several labyrinths available for walking in the Bay area and they all look free, with no suggested donation listed on the web site. 

Libraries also frequently have free events- book talks, lessons etc. I'd also look at bookstores if you are interested.
Farmers markets have free presentations, often.
It looks like "Wild Oakland" has free classes near you if you are interested in nature.

I guess the question is, are you looking for things to do with existing friends that are cheap/ free or are you looking for places to meet people you don't already know?  It's easier to do the first for free.  The second can be done for free, but you need to take the initiative to be friendly and try and meet people at events that aren't exactly organized for that purpose.

missbrooke

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2014, 11:28:13 PM »
Thank you everyone! You have given me some great ideas. It's overwhelming thinking of restructuring my life in this way, but I know it will pay off. Some of my friends would be open to these things and I know others would definitely think I was being "cheap." Still, this city is very diverse and I know I can meet like-minded people - I just need to start putting myself out there.

@StarryC, I was surprised by that too, but it just seems like everything in the bay comes with a price.
@schimt and @serpentstooth I just went wine tasting with a friend last weekend and I'd love to start volunteering. Thanks for the ideas!

expatartist

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2014, 11:49:50 PM »
Some ideas I'm floating for later this year, for cheap, fun weekday evening entertainment with like-minded friends:
* Attend homebrewing events
* Throw sourdough/rye bread parties, where friends take their own fresh bread home afterwards
* Pool together $ and purchase bulk ingredients for healthy cleaning supplies (laundry detergent/citrus spray etc), make together while having a glass or 3 of wine
* Ditto for body/lip balms, body products

Also, you're in the heartland of west coast culture! Take advantage:
* Art jams (google it! Loads of fun: acrylic painting and wine)
* Art openings - a glass or 2 of free wine, nibbles, interesting people-watching opportunities
* Book readings at bookstores/libraries

OldDogNewTrick

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 07:16:56 AM »
We bicycle every weekend in season with a group of like-aged individuals, (only one rule--no spandex). We all bring packed lunches and enjoy a communal meal either mid or after ride. They are modest rides, 15 to 20 miles round trip. Social and healthy. It does take a certain talent for pulling together groups like this, I don't necessarily have that talent, but you might, or you can ask around if anyone knows of any similar gatherings.

In my area there are a series of free music events held outdoors at various venues. You can bring a lawn chair or blanket. We will sneak a small rum runner flask in and enjoy our rum and cokes in the fresh air. Plus, every metro area has a 'Creative Loafing' type magazine... check yours out for budget activities.

windawake

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2014, 08:09:39 AM »
When I feel the need to get out of the house I go to coffee shops in my neighborhood and work on useful projects while there. It's good to choose a small shop with friendly baristas who seem to know everyone, because then they'll introduce you! It's only about $5 to buy a drink and hang around for a few hours. I'll also occasionally go to the nearest bar/restaurant to my house to watch hockey. It's easy to meet people sitting at the bar, and you only need to by one beer or so. I prefer to stay in my neighborhood when doing these activities since then I meet my neighbors and end up running into them later.

Mostly I enjoy free activities. I have a dog so we do lots of walks and dog park time. I like to cook and bake with friends. I have a weekly poker night I go to ($5 buy-in, and after 3 months I've probably made some money). I used to be in a book club, which was fun. I'd suggest checking MeetUp.com and see if there are any groups (hiking, biking, card games, etc.) that you might be interested in joining.

wealthviahealth

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2014, 08:51:05 AM »
When going out for a social dinner; fast that day or greatly cut back on food, box half of what you order, eat less/fast the following morning. This also helps me with my health goals which can get greatly sidetracked if I am not careful during social events such as these. I have found much more happiness and blance by using this method as opposed to avoiding social events or "going all out " and not planning ahead.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2014, 10:48:36 AM »
Check meetup.com for groups in San Fran.  There are tons of groups in my city.  I've met some great people through it.

CrochetStache

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 06:20:23 PM »
Check meetup.com for groups in San Fran.  There are tons of groups in my city.  I've met some great people through it.

+1

Tai

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2014, 09:15:55 AM »
What about doing some volunteer work for a cause that you're interested in?

onehappypanda

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2014, 09:26:34 AM »
If you already have friends that you'd like to see more of, my suggestion is bring the party to your house. Pick something fun that you all enjoy and create an at-home version. My friends and I like baking (and eating) so we host baking parties at my house where we pick a few recipes, everyone pitches in on the ingredients, and we pick up some snacks and wine to share. It ends up being a ton of fun and cost-effective as long as everyone is sharing ingredients/snack/wine costs.

You could do that with any number of activities - old-school video game night, crafty party, etc. Whatever your crew is into.

When I visited SF I was surprised at bowled over by the food and drink prices - that said, I still found inexpensive places, mostly ethnic or off the beaten path. If eating out is your thing, I would just saw make it part of your budget and keep the costs reasonable by seeking out the cheaper options. You can always splurge on a single craft beer at a bar with a show/dancing/etc. and it's still ultimately cheaper than getting tickets somewhere. There seemed to be a lot of great comedy nights while I was there.

That, and outdoor activities seemed abundant when I visited SF last April. I spent a couple days just hiking and biking around, and that's ultimately free or low-cost depending on what you do about food. You could always plan a hike and picnic outing if your friends are into that.

onehappypanda

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2014, 09:28:40 AM »
Adding: Not that you should base your friendships on how to spend money, but I HAVE found that having frugal friends makes frugality so much easier. If you have friends that aren't into the idea of staying in or looking for less expensive options, I'd consider whether their friendship is really valuable enough for you to work your lifestyle and savings goals around. As I try to save more, I naturally gravitate toward people who spend less and enjoy less expensive activities - our lifestyles just seem to mesh a little better.

Elaine

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2014, 10:03:27 AM »
-I play pool for fun- if you go during the week (at a lot of places) it's either free if you buy a drink, or $5 an hour. Some places are quarter tables ($1.50 a game). That's pretty good fun value in my book.

-Lots of museums have cheap or free nights

-Make fun at home: theme parties, learn to make sushi night, dinner parties, appetizer's only parties, board game nights, dress like your high school self party, margaritas & taco bar night

When I was first adjusting to MMM style living it helped to just modify the things I was already doing. Now I'm comfortable being even more frugal, but here are two good consumer/moderate examples:

Consumer Saturday-
Coffee in the Morning, Out- $4
Brunch With Friends- with drinks and food $18
Shopping With Friends- $50
Movie Theatre- $15
Dinner Out, with appetizers and drinks- $40
Bar- $30
TOTAL- $157

Sane Saturday-
Coffee at home- $0 (because it's in the grocery budget)
Eggs any style with home fries at home- $0
Skip Brunch with Friends, meet up with them after!
Shopping With Friends- $0 (don't buy anything!)
Movie Theatre with Friends- $15
Appetizer and One Drink Out- $16
Drink And Party At Your House- $7 (bottle of wine or beer)
TOTAL- $38

expatartist

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Re: Being social on a MMM budget
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2014, 08:00:15 PM »
Elaine I love how you broke it down. It really makes things clear, and makes room for small indulgences (the best kind)!