For young people especially, finding a balance between being financially responsible and still having a social life can be extremely difficult. Life and having fun is expensive, it’s simple as that. However, there are some things that you can do to make sure you’re still living a fulfilling life while also maintaining a budget. So, if you’re like most adults, constantly torn between enjoying yourself and saving money, you’ve come to the right place. Hopefully these tips will help you become more financially stable and make it look like you have your life together.
If you want to save money, you have to be a planner.
Create An Account Just For Having Fun
Instead of watching the money slowly but surely disappear from your checking or saving account, make a new account that is just for fun activities. By doing this, you can transfer money into that account each month so you know exactly how much you should be spending on your social activities.
This way, you won’t be wondering who’s been “stealing” money out of your account when it was you going out with your friends and getting a little ahead of yourself.
Give Yourself A Cash Allowance
If the whole separate bank account thing isn’t working out for you, there’s always the option of giving yourself a monthly cash allowance. Much like what your parents gave you when you were younger, once your run out, it’s over.
Having physical money might help you keep better track of how much you have to spend that way you can plan accordingly and not end up running out early on in the month.
Help Plan Activities
To stop going out entirely because of a budget isn’t the only solution when it comes to saving money. Another thing that you can do is to help plan the events you choose to go to. This means finding bars with a good happy hour, free events, or finding coupons and hunting for deals.
It’s probably not the best idea to have your friend who isn’t worried about money planning things because you may end up spending way more than you needed to. Make sure your voice is heard!
Check out some other suggestions other than going out.
Set A Nightly Budget For Your Group
While you might get some flak trying to set a budget for everyone, you’ll be thanked later. Nobody likes being told what to do with their money, especially adults, but everyone will be relieved when they wake up to discover that there was minimal damage done to their wallet the night before.
This way, everybody in the group knows around how much money they should each be expected to spend going out, so there’s no future surprises.
Sometimes, going out to brunch after a long weekend may some appealing just because of the lack of effort it takes. While bottomless drinks and delicious breakfast food sounds amazing, nothing will burn a hole in your wallet faster. So, try having your Sunday brunch at your or a friends house.
Cooking with your friends can be fun and you can eat and drink as much as you want for less than half the price. You can also stay there for as long as you want and goof around openly.
You Don’t Have To Go “Out” Every Night
Spending time with your friends, family, or significant other doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go out to dinner or a bar to socialize. Just like brunch, there’s a number of things you can do in the comfort of your own home that your bank account will thank you for.
You can host a pot luck, have a girls night with wine and cheese, or have the boys over to bring out the old gaming systems and fire up the grill.
Be careful when your friends are visiting.
It’s Important To Think About Yourself
As we get older, there are more and more events that you feel obligated to go to that also cost money. Whether it’s a friend’s birthday party, or happy hour after work, these all sound fun, but you don’t need to blow your budget in order to attend.
Maybe skip dinner with your friends, eat at home, and then meet them later. Or consider if you really need to grab a drink after work if you know you’re already going out later.
Utilize Social Networks
If you’re planning a trip out of town, things can get really expensive, very fast. There’s lodging, transportation, eating out, exploring, and events that you might want to do. So, instead of sucking it up and taking the financial hit, reach out to people on social media.
Post on Facebook about where your going and if others have recommendations. Sometimes you’ll get tipped off about a free event or even offered somewhere to stay. It doesn’t always work but it’s worth a try.
Set Boundaries With Out-Of-Town Guests
Having friends visit you from out of town is always great. However, it’s important to remember that they are on vacation and you aren’t. Most likely, they’ll want to go to nice dinners, do fun activities, and maybe even cut a little loose.
But that doesn’t mean you have to do everything with them. Set boundaries for yourself like maybe grabbing lunch instead of dinner and drinks or calling it early if you go out. If you’re lucky, they’ll maybe even pick up the tab once or twice for showing them a good time.
The Internet is a beautiful thing.
Keep Dates Simple
When dating someone, especially in a new relationship, you may feel pressured to go out for fancy drinks or eat at nice restaurants multiple times a week. This can be fun every once in a while, but doing it regularly will destroy your budget. Try keeping your dates simple. There’s nothing wrong with going on a nice walk, making dinner together, having a picnic.
The cheaper options are endless. However, opting for less expensive options isn’t being cheap either, it’s dating smart.
Have Transparency With Your Partner
Being open and honest about spending habits with your partner is another great way to help save money. Whether it’s a new or old relationship, if you are both on the same page about how much money you each are comfortable spending, it will make everything much simpler.
Having these conversations can also help you realize who is right for you financially. Someone that is okay spending $100 a night on dinner and drinks might not be someone you should be dating seriously.
Use Internet Deals To Your Advantage
In today’s world, finding amazing coupons and deals in right at our fingertips. No more cutting out coupons in magazines and newspapers (unless you’re into that). Try checking out sites like Groupon or Eatdrinkdeals.com for a great way to save money on just about anything.
Before you commit to anything, it never hurts to do a quick search and see if maybe there’s a deal for you and your friends. You would be amazed by some of the deals that are available!
Remember that thing called walking?
Be Weary Of Festivals
Festivals have become extremely popular events for younger crowds to attend during the spring and summer months. While they are undoubtedly a blast, they are one of the easiest activities ways to put you into serious financial danger. So, if you find yourself buying a ticket, make sure you do the enough research on the festival so you can prepare accordingly.
Bring your own food, water, and stay away from buying any merchandise. Give yourself a spending limit while attending, so you know exactly how much money you have when you return home.
Try BYOB Restaurants
Yes, there are some restaurants where you can bring your alcohol. There are probably more out there than you may think. While food is always expensive when going out, what really busts the bank is the alcohol. So, find a place where you can bring your own.
There’s probably a corkage fee, which won’t be anything compared to how much you would have ended up spending on alcohol at the establishment. All you have to do is a little research and find one in your area!
A Little Walk Never Hurt Anybody
Especially with the rise of companies such as Uber and Lyft, people have turned their backs on walking somewhere entirely. If you have some time to kill before an event or aren’t in a rush maybe walk there.
If you’ve ever seen how much money you’ve spent on Uber and Lyfts for no real reason, it may surprise you just how much money you’re actually spending. There’s no such thing as a cheap Uber of Lyft, but walking is free.
When you’re out with friends grabbing lunch, dinner, drinks, or whatever, see if anyone is willing to share a plate. Entrees are usually too big for one person to eat anyway and there’s a chance that the leftovers will never make it to your fridge.
By sharing a plate with someone or multiple people, it will keep some extra dollars in your wallet and you’ll get to try different flavors. Usually, there will be at least one person in the group to take you up on your offer.
Have A Drink Before Dinner
If you have plans to go out to dinner, invite the people you’re going with over for some pre-dinner drinks. Often, one glass of wine at a restaurant cost almost as much as a bottle at the store, so why not save a little money.
Not only will it take money off of the dinner bill, but its also a great way to share some alone time with your friends before going out in public. Rarely do people turn down a relaxing drink before heading out.
Pre-Game The Bars
Now, if having one glass of wine before going out to a nice dinner might sound a little elderly to you, there’s always pre-gaming before the bars. If your destination is going to the bars and not a restaurant, it’s time to drink like you’re in college again.
Maybe have some people over, turn up the music, and get your buzz on with the company of your close friends. This way, when you go out, you won’t need to buy nearly as many drinks or any at all rather than if you had come to the bar sober.
Look For Volunteer Opportunities
For many festivals, events, concerts, etc., there is an option to volunteer for part of the time to either has free access or a discounted price after your shift. This is a great way to get into some of those higher-priced events while also helping to make them happen.
Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people and is easy to do. Just go onto the events’ website and find the volunteer page. There’s usually some kind of deal whether it’s free merchandise or even a free ticket!
Bend The Rules Sometimes
We’re not talking about stealing anything or doing something highly illegal, but there are loopholes sometimes that will help you save money. Going to the movies? Maybe stash a few candy bars in your pockets before walking in.
A candy bar at a regular store may cost a dollar while at the movie theater it could be triple the price. In some cases, it’s better to think smarter and not harder, even if that means bending the rules slightly on occasion.