If you have friends with whom you have always spent lots and lots of money, going to the mall, out to dinner or taking expensive vacations, curbing your spending while in their company can be very hard.
I have found that many of my friends wish they would spend less money on drinks and partying, but they say something like ”I work like crazy in Paris, I deserve a break from my crazy job”. The job pays well, but you spend so much in fun and entertainment that at the end of the month little is left on your account. While I love meeting with friends, every time I come back home it is hard to go out with every one on a smaller budget than them.
I like inviting and being invited once in a while too, so if I am picking up the tab, I want value for the time I just spent. What I saw from my friends is simply that they are out of ideas when it comes to having a good time without busting your budget.
One solution is simply to offer alternatives to your expensive outing. Suggest a picnic in the park in summer, or a BBQ at home, if you want a change of scenery you can hike in a nearby national park or go to the swimming pool. In winter, a potluck dinner and board game night is very enjoyable.
Try to always have something in mind if your friends want to go out. They suggest a movie at the theater, why not rent one from Netflix and have homemade popcorn instead? I enjoy making pizza, and people enjoy coming over for pizza at my place. Have more social options listed too, like a music festival, or a museum you would like to go to. Staying at home all the time feels lonely. If you keep people entertained, they will not have the need to spend money on trips to the mall or expensive meals.
My ideas include and are not limited to:
If you are staying home
- Rent a movie and pop some corn
- Make a special dish, like sushi or pizza, for everyone
- Have a ”make your own pizza party” where you prepare some dough and then everyone puts the topping on his pizza, and you bake and share one at a time.
- Same thing for Pad Thai, sushi and any exotic dish that requires a bit of preparation, not too much cooking, and that friends will be glad to prepare together.
- Game night
- Potluck dinner
- Barbecue in the garden
- With kids, a night watching the stars and learning about astronomy
- With adults, a night about one’s passion, photography, card reading, anything that one can teach and the others can enjoy learning. One of my uncles is a specialist in oil-mining. Not a subject anyone would relate too, but he gave many family conferences over the years!
If you are going out
- Concert, talk or conference at a nearby university
- Check last minute tickets for theater and opera. When I was under 25, I could go to a booth in Paris for free same day tickets for a lot of cool events. Check your community’s agenda!
- Walk and enjoy a new neighborhood. Many big cities offer free guided tours.
- BYO wine and cheese to a scenic part of town. Again talking about my city, there are places with panoramic views or by the water where a picnic is very enjoyable. Bring fancier options than the usual PB&J to feel like you are on a cool night out!
- Bring a ball and have a game in the park before dinner.
- Look for special events and enjoy music, theater and art outside. They usually have pretty cheap drinks too, or would let you bring your own.
- Organize a cycle tour ending with a picnic in the park, or in time for the happy hour in your favorite bar. Exercising before going out will make you share with your friends before, and also go home early as you will be tired!Do you have other ideas?