Author Topic: Social time without spending as much?  (Read 3067 times)

norabird

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Social time without spending as much?
« on: April 18, 2014, 09:43:01 AM »
Ideas for how you spend time with friends while minimizing expenses?

I've read Your Money or Your Life and one of my values is spending time with friends, whether catching up with people I haven't seen in too long or putting in time with my nearest and dearest. We do sometimes do cheap things, like free concerts, board game nights, or dinner at one of our places, but often times it's attending a play or concert or going out for dinner. I love seeing these people, I love going to cultural events and going to dinner (I live in NYC where options for each are bountiful), and I don't look at the money I spend on those things and say 'this spending doesn't align with my values!', because it totally does. So for me the answer is not 'never spend on these frivolous expenses!'. But that said, I socialize a few times a week, and while I'm cutting back on drinks I buy and invites I accept, and trying to avoid the very spendy stuff, I know it adds up. I don't want to drop this expense (for instance, next week taking a friend out to a birthday dinner, the week after that a birthday brunch/going away party for another friend--both people I really don't mind putting my money towards seeing/celebrating), but maybe there are some tips on what you've done to pare down or redirect some of this.

I should say that I'm not focused on early retirement or saving a vast amount of my take-home; right now, I just want to pay down my credit card debt (a project that has been deferred for years), and then after that get a rainy day fund and start a small Roth IRA in addition to my 401k, which I contribute to at 10%, perhaps also helping my parents more with a mortgage they're taking out for an apartment I'm going to be living in. So ultra frugality is not my goal, rather it's about ceasing to live beyond my means and cleaning up the residual from when I was.

thanks all!

Thespoof

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Re: Social time without spending as much?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2014, 10:24:42 AM »
I would love to have more money free social activities. Everyone around here goes out for drinks. I was out last night and had three Guinness and a dozen wings - $45. Unreal. Makes me I'll to spend that kind of money just to literally piss/crap it away :-(

rescuedog

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Re: Social time without spending as much?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2014, 10:27:38 AM »
We do sometimes do cheap things, like free concerts, board game nights, or dinner at one of our places, but often times it's attending a play or concert or going out for dinner.

Perhaps you can suggest these things more to your friends, or be the person who organizes a monthly dinner and/or game night. 

My friends and I usually go for a trail run with our dogs, mountain bike ride, or cross country ski after work with dogs.  It's mostly an activity like that that I was going to do alone even if a person wasn't able to join me.  There are a lot of impromptu grilling out nights where you bring a side to share, your own meat and drink.  Or really whatever you have in the house at the time and we all share.  However, I'm in the Rocky Mountains, so getting outside for activities is kind of the norm.  Especially when restaurants here are ready to shut down at 9pm and there are only 3 seedy bars in town.  Night life does not exist outside of your home basically!
« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 10:46:25 AM by rescuedog »

norabird

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Re: Social time without spending as much?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2014, 10:36:28 AM »
Yes, drinks are totally killer! I am trying to just resist the pressure to get them, mostly. Have done so successfully twice in the last week or so! But have also bought two bottles of wine in that time and got sangria at dinner the other night...

I think the answer is partly to just steer away from going to bars. They're loud anyway! But, when important events like birthdays are held at them, and you for instance want to buy the birthday person a drink...it's juts not totally avoidable. And I don't mind it on occasion, but it hasn't in the past been 'occasional', which is partly how I got myself into debt unthinkingly.

Sometimes now I pretend to be getting over a cold when I don't get a drink (did that at a recent meetup event) instead of just saying I'm trying to save money by drinking out less. Like I think I'm going to be stoned for not ordering something?! It is definitely a pressure that I'm putting on myself, as long as one is physically there who cares if you drink. Yet there's still a feeling that I ought to be somehow.

All the outdoors stuff so accessible in the Rockies is just missing here, though organizing the monthly cheaper stuff is something I do want to get on top of. Definitely there is some locale-based lifestyle inflation happening here, especially since apartments are small and not necessarily able to fit larger groups. Yet I don't forsee moving, or want to (friends, career both based here), so I need to get some kind of control established.

Summer will be easier, with picnic possibilities and free outdoor movies, but in wintertime and the in-between seasons options are fewer.

eil

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Re: Social time without spending as much?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2014, 12:50:10 PM »
Resisting spending money on drinks in a social setting is easy, just say, "I don't drink anymore," and smile. 100% guarantee nobody will ask again or try to peer-pressure you into it.

The downside is that they will assume you are a recovering alcoholic.

(I have done this on occasion and it works. I was never an alcoholic, I just could never get used to the taste--or effects--and now choose to not waste my money on things I don't like.)

Then again, this whole plan would backfire considerably at the next open bar you and your friends come across.

spoonman

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Re: Social time without spending as much?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2014, 01:28:45 PM »
My wife and I have had to put our foot down recently.  A restaurant dinner and movie tickets can together run up to $50 for one evening.  Our closest friends know that we're about to quit our jobs, so the soon-to-retire mantra has come in handy.  These days we just have home cooked meals and watch recorded shows, which are an order of magnitude cheaper than going out.  Once you declare your restrictions and preferences, as eil pointed out, people tend to respect them.

starbuck

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Re: Social time without spending as much?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2014, 05:06:41 PM »
But that said, I socialize a few times a week, and while I'm cutting back on drinks I buy and invites I accept, and trying to avoid the very spendy stuff, I know it adds up. I don't want to drop this expense (for instance, next week taking a friend out to a birthday dinner, the week after that a birthday brunch/going away party for another friend--both people I really don't mind putting my money towards seeing/celebrating), but maybe there are some tips on what you've done to pare down or redirect some of this.

Are you going out with the same people several times each week, or is it a bunch of different social circles? Personally, I would not spread myself so thin and try and hang out with EVERYONE all the time. Cultivate and focus on the friendships that are most important to you, and don't feel guilty about declining invites to social outings with people that aren't close friends. This may not be for everyone, but I work hard at my relationships with a small core group of people and we've been friends for a decade now and are still as close as ever.

Step up your game and find those low cost outings and invite the people you want to hang out with - free nights at museums, free concerts/screenings, going for a run/walk with a friend, etc. And Groupon and living social are probably good choices in NYC.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Social time without spending as much?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2014, 07:26:51 PM »
Potlucks and board game nights are where it's at. We just did a 5 day family vacation for $200 including gas and one expensive outing with the kids because we stayed with friends and we took turns cooking.

If you want something more raucous, watch TV or a movie while doing a drinking game.

Otherwise, set a budget and stick to it. If your friends have issues with you not wanting to spend money, what kind of friends are they?