Author Topic: That urge to "go out and do something"  (Read 4691 times)

remizidae

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That urge to "go out and do something"
« on: June 30, 2017, 09:41:21 AM »
I find myself spending a lot of money on restaurants and bars ($200-400/month for two adults). It's not because we can't cook, but after a work week that is very routine (work/gym/home), I feel this urge to Go Out and Do Something. Sometimes I just want a place to sit and read where I can have some space from my spouse. Or else I'd like to do something fun as a couple.

How can I satisfy this urge for less/no money? So far I've thought of going to coffeeshops, the park or the library, but those places really only work during the day, and I sleep late and generally want to go out in the evenings. We also go hiking, bike and visit museums, but those trips tend to take a lot of energy and planning and going to the restaurant or bar down the street is the low-effort option.

I'd appreciate suggestions.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2017, 09:49:37 AM »
I like social, low-action community meetups for that point: board games; music jams; talking circles; book discussion; collaging; etc. In my last several communities, that was all posted via meetup.com   In my newer one, not so! So trickier to find stuff, but find the stuff I do, via community events section of local paper, Facebook groups, etc. I make a bunch of them too.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2017, 09:55:26 AM »
I used to have this exact issue!  It solved itself when I moved to a place with a 93 walkscore.  The move was for other FIRE/sustainability reasons, solving the "go out" problem was a side effect.  Now, when bored, I just get up and go for a walk.  Do some people watching along the way, maybe stop at the river or a park and enjoy for awhile.  Worst case, I stop for a cup of tea and spend two bucks for the coffee shop ambiance.

Dicey

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2017, 10:12:18 AM »
To add to the excellent suggestions previously given, may I gently suggest sleeping in a little less? Start with 15 minute increments and see how it goes. I get that you have a preference, but I-can't-do-X-because-I-sleep-late sounds both defeatist and complainypants.

privatevoid

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2017, 10:57:08 AM »
I'd say

1) You enjoy these outings, so let's see if we can make them more frugal. Have you considered bringing a flask if you drink alcohol, or eating more before you go out so that you don't have to spend a lot on food?

2) Getting involved in a Meetup group or some other free social activity might be a good substitute.

3) Any friends in the area you can impromptu drop in to visit? I love having game nights / dinners / drinks at a friend's instead of eating out.

Jrr85

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2017, 12:17:24 PM »
I'd say

1) You enjoy these outings, so let's see if we can make them more frugal. Have you considered bringing a flask if you drink alcohol, or eating more before you go out so that you don't have to spend a lot on food?

2) Getting involved in a Meetup group or some other free social activity might be a good substitute.

3) Any friends in the area you can impromptu drop in to visit? I love having game nights / dinners / drinks at a friend's instead of eating out.

I would second items one and three.  I would not bring a flask to an establishment that serves alcohol (good chance that's illegal but at the very least it's poor form), but we will have a drink for the walk and then get one drink at a bar and sip on it (or if you are a heavier drinker, have a drink at the house, a drink on the way, and then one drink at the bar).  When we are driving somewhere, we will often drive where we're going and then take a walk and people watch with a drink before going in anywhere. 

For food at restaurants, we'll often get get an appetizer with a drink at a happy hour, and then move with a group to somebody's house to cook and drink some more (or at the very least, pick up much cheaper and often tastier takeout and go to somebody's house).

And we do a lot of cooking nights at people's houses without any before or after time out.  Even when we do it at our house, it still satisfies our urge to "do something" and we feel like we've been out. 




 

honeybbq

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 12:27:03 PM »
While it still costs money, there's a definite cost-benefit here: You could join a gym and lift/swim/spin. Or just run outside for free.

Laura33

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 12:36:59 PM »
Honestly, this is just habit -- it is a learned behavior, and so you need to consciously unlearn it if you want to change it.  I grew up in a very frugal family, and we almost never entertained ourselves with things that cost money because we didn't have it to spend.  DH grew up in a family with plenty of money, so he learned to spend it freely.  After 20+ years of marriage, I too default to "let's go out to dinner/movie/bar" just because I want to get out of the house and do something different.  And when I try to think of free things to do, I totally draw a blank.

And yet, I know for a fact that there are free things that can be done and that are satisfying, because I lived that way for 18+ years -- and it's not like I was miserable!  I've just gotten lazy and trained myself to do the easy/obvious things, now that I have money to blow on them (and half the time those get boring anyway!).

So if you want to change it, give yourself a very strict "going out" budget, and stick to it.  Then spend some of those lazy mornings actively thinking/brainstorming/researching/trying other options -- looking for meetup groups, or checking out whatever free festivals or events your town has, or going out for a bike ride or to the park, or whatever.  This will feel uncomfortable -- changing habits always is, and at some point your brain will likely rebel at the constraints.  But if you can stick with it, your brain will adjust, and it will re-learn new habits along those more frugal lines. 

Tl;dr:  Your brain is always going to default to what is easy, what you always do, because that is what you have trained it to think about.   Changing that default requires mental discomfort:  you need to forcibly close off those "routine" choices in order to force your brain to think about other options.  But once you get over the hump, those more frugal options will become the automatic defaults and start feeling "normal."

le-weekend

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2017, 09:17:20 PM »
First a quick shout out for all the late sleepers out there!  I sleep late. I'm not complaining about it. I like it. I accept the consequences. The end.

Back to the topic -- I'd be curious to know what kind of area you live in. I'm in a fairly metropolitan area with some nice fake town center kinds of places where I can happily burn an evening people watching, reading a book on a bench etc and it still feels like I "did something." But full disclosure, those nights often involve a restaurant meal as well, albeit a budget one.  If you really enjoy it (and I understand that impulse) you can make it part of your budget without guilt knowing you're choosing it. Just get fewer drinks, cut out one outing per month, save the $$ you would've spent. Start small, it's ok!



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« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 09:21:16 PM by le-weekend »

alsoknownasDean

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2017, 02:54:10 AM »
Maybe get into playing some sport locally? Join a small local amateur team or whatever.

deborah

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2017, 04:17:33 AM »
Set a challenge for yourself and your wife to find low effort things in your neighourhood.

If you are in the northern hemisphere, you currently have really long days, so reading a book in the park is quite a reasonable thing to do - I'd be surprised if there wasn't light when the restaurants are starting to close. How many parks are close by? Can you have a small backpack prepared with a picnic rug, and whatever else you'd need? That way it WOULD be low effort.

You could also take advantage of the current late daylight to walk around the entire neighourhood and check out what facilities are actually available - if you gradually walk the entire neighourhood, you might work out that you can save yourselves your gym memberships (at least for summer). Look out for nooks where you CAN read - shopping centres often have benches in the mall where you could sit and read, or you may find that your library has a late night each week that you could use.

Look at your home and work out ways to change things around so you don't have the need to go out - a special nook in the garden might be doable, or rearranging furniture to have a nook inside. And if your house is so off-putting that you constantly want to leave it, there must be several projects you could work on to make it more inviting.

HipGnosis

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2017, 06:37:31 AM »
You don't give information about yourself, your spouse, your location or situation so can't give specific advise.
I'll start with the obvious; you ask for what you can do.  Finding what you can do is the obvious answer.  Go to the library and local grocery stores and check their bulletin boards. Ride to the not-so-local stores. Buy a local paper to learn what's going on in the community.  Schools have sports, music programs and plays in the evenings. 
Why do you assume the library and park are 'day only'?!?  Go to them in the evening.  Find out for yourself what they are like then.

"something fun as a couple" is TOTALLY subjective, so only you (the couple) can answer that.

GillyMack

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2017, 07:15:32 AM »
In our mid-sized city, there are great series of free or cheap concerts.  Several of the parks have free outdoor concerts weekly.  One of the museums has an indoor concert series for up and coming local bands which is free to members or $10 for non members.  We love these. We find the schedules for the season online and put the dates for interesting bands on our calendar. 

Noodle

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2017, 11:54:48 AM »
What's available to you will vary so much that we may not be able to be very helpful. For instance, towns with colleges often do have coffee shops that are available in the evening. College and university libraries are usually open in the evenings...whether they let the public in varies by institution, of course, but even those often have library cards available to the community for a fee. Schools with music departments have a lot of free concerts as the music majors usually have to put on senior performances, not to mention all the faculty and visiting musicians. Or if you live somewhere with a museum, get a membership and then you can drop in whenever the mood hits you.

What I can suggest is to keep a running list...any time you come across ideas of places to go or things to do, put it on the list. Coming up with ideas spontaneously can be really difficult!  Here's a list to get you started, http://www.thesimpledollar.com/100-things-to-do-during-a-money-free-weekend/.

ixtap

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2017, 02:37:43 PM »
Your local newspaper, chamber of commerce, or city/county government likely publish a community calendar.

remizidae

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2017, 03:37:39 PM »
Tl;dr:  Your brain is always going to default to what is easy, what you always do, because that is what you have trained it to think about.   Changing that default requires mental discomfort:  you need to forcibly close off those "routine" choices in order to force your brain to think about other options.  But once you get over the hump, those more frugal options will become the automatic defaults and start feeling "normal."

This seems like great advice, thanks, Laura. I'm thinking of going cold-turkey and just committing to zero restaurant or bar spending for a month or two. My husband is a great cook, we can live without the restaurants, and maybe that can help break the habit.

remizidae

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2017, 03:45:50 PM »

Why do you assume the library and park are 'day only'?!?  Go to them in the evening.  Find out for yourself what they are like then.

It's not an assumption, the library closes at 6. As for the park, yeah, I could probably go in the evenings.

remizidae

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2017, 03:46:59 PM »
I used to have this exact issue!  It solved itself when I moved to a place with a 93 walkscore.  The move was for other FIRE/sustainability reasons, solving the "go out" problem was a side effect.  Now, when bored, I just get up and go for a walk.  Do some people watching along the way, maybe stop at the river or a park and enjoy for awhile.  Worst case, I stop for a cup of tea and spend two bucks for the coffee shop ambiance.

Thanks! That does sound appealing. My walkscore is only 74, but hell, there's got to be something to see along the way.

AZDude

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2017, 04:02:17 PM »
How late do you sleep? Parks are usually open to at least 6pm if it a regional official park and usually to 10pm if it is a local city park. So... I'm not sure I buy the "I sleep late so I can't go the library/park/whatever".

If you just do not like doing those things... that is OK, just be honest here. You can go to the park and sleep in late. Ditto with the library. There are usually tons of festivals and other stuff going on, all of which are still going on past mid-morning. You can often check out free passes to local museums and other events from the library as well, all of which are also open past 11AM, which is about the latest I can imagine a person with a normal working schedule sleeping in on the weekend.

If you just like going to bars/restaraunts/etc... that is OK, but again, admit it and budget accordingly. Lots of people have expensive hobbies, even on here, it is just that yours will rub people the wrong way because it is often part of a lifestyle that drags people into debt.


spicykissa

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2017, 06:56:43 PM »
I get the same urge sometimes, and we sometimes end up going to a 'fun' restaurant (Korean BBQ where they cook on the table, fancy brunch with bottomless mimosas, etc). I try to make it more of a special treat, not an every weekend thing.

Also, I work night shifts, and the bare minimum earliest I ever get up is 1pm, even when I've had the night off. No judgment here! I have wanted to try our local farmer's market for YEARS, and it is just not ever going to happen with the hours they have.

We still make good use of the city parks in the late afternoon/early evening, although it's harder in the winter when it gets dark early. Also matinees at the movie theater can be pretty cheap. We also do a lot of walking after dark in 'city center' type places, just without eating--we might get an ice cream or a coffee, but not a whole meal. We've even been known to go to the mall to walk, play with fancy electronics, "test" the massage chairs, ogle the funny t-shirts, and  . . . leave. Without buying anything. Satisfies the itch!

remizidae

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2017, 07:00:53 PM »
How late do you sleep? Parks are usually open to at least 6pm if it a regional official park and usually to 10pm if it is a local city park. So... I'm not sure I buy the "I sleep late so I can't go the library/park/whatever".

If you just do not like doing those things... that is OK, just be honest here. You can go to the park and sleep in late. Ditto with the library. There are usually tons of festivals and other stuff going on, all of which are still going on past mid-morning. You can often check out free passes to local museums and other events from the library as well, all of which are also open past 11AM, which is about the latest I can imagine a person with a normal working schedule sleeping in on the weekend.

If you just like going to bars/restaraunts/etc... that is OK, but again, admit it and budget accordingly. Lots of people have expensive hobbies, even on here, it is just that yours will rub people the wrong way because it is often part of a lifestyle that drags people into debt.

The libraries and museums in my area close at 5 or 6. So, I'm not trying to claim that it would be impossible to go there, but it would not be convenient considering my sleep schedule (you must be a morning person if you can't imagine sleeping past 11) and the fact that museums are at least an hour away. Plus, even if I can get to the library before 6, I'd get kicked out when there are still at least 6 hours left in the day...

Going to the park in the evening is something I will try!

charis

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Re: That urge to "go out and do something"
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2017, 07:37:47 PM »
What? Being a "morning person" doesn't mean someone who wakes up at some point before noon. Working on your sleeping schedule seems like a low cost, viable solution to this "problem."