I’ll pretty much go to anything that gives me a reason to dress up. At first, I spent tons of money blindly going out and was blowing money like a clown at a child’s birthday party. Is it safe to say that we all have places to be, friends to see, parties to attend and events to celebrate? All those little expenditures add up so fast. Before I knew it, I dreaded seeing the horrific credit card bill and had to ask myself if all of those things were really worth it.
I wanted to still be everywhere but not break the bank. I always want it all – heck, we all do! Tired of feeling like I wasn’t trying enough to save, I made a conscious effort to be smarter about the way I spent when I went out. I immediately made some good changes and spent a lot less when going out. Don’t get me wrong, there are many events totally worth splurging on, but if I’m going out for fun and it’s not for a celebration or big event, I make an effort to scale back. I’d rather save some of that money or put it towards a trip than blow it all on something trivial. If that sounds good to you, here are some of my personal tips below.
Below are my Tips on How to Have that Social Life Without Breaking the Bank
1) Changing the Way You Dine: Before, During or After the Party
Going out for dinner can all get really expensive really fast. Once in awhile when my friends want to go out for a meal, I have a snack beforehand and select something lighter on the menu, like an appetizer. Not only is this better because I can choose something I like at home, but it’s kinder on the pocket. Plus, when I’m starving, I tend to order more than I can eat anyways. Sometimes, after my friends and I are done at an event/movie/party, we end up having a late night meal, so I join for company the first time and have that midnight indulgence instead.
2) Midday Happy Hour & Late Night Menu’s
Just a couple of weeks ago, I ended up dressing in this all black outfit to spend the evening with friends for happy hour at a beautiful spot in the city. In high school, I wore all black often, but rarely wear this much black at once nowadays, so I thought I’d just go for it. I opted to have something to eat before I left the house and didn’t end up drinking or eating much at the restaurant, but it was all about enjoying the company of others! Going out with good friends is something to enjoy, and don’t be afraid to dress up a little! One of my favorite things to do is hit a restaurant during happy hour. Even though I don’t drink much, it’s a great way to source restaurants, order delicious food at a much more affordable price. If you’re like me and don’t drink, there’s usually a select list of snacks, appetizers or items you can order for less, so while you order something small, your friends can order both food and drinks at happy hour price. It’s a win-win situation. Don’t forget there’s also some great spots with late night menus (usually at the bar). If you all drink, just make sure you are responsible and take uber or have a designated driver who will not drink that night. No party is worth the risk.3) Carpool or Take the Extra Walk
Okay, I actually like wearing high heels for long periods of time when I walk, but I know not everyone actually likes that. However, a short walk or carpool is worth it if you need to pay for parking a lot and want to save. I was downtown all of the time back in Toronto and parking gets expensive fast especially in the Entertainment District, so I would park a 5-10 minute walk further away and pay less than half or nothing at all. If you go with friends, you can all walk together. Otherwise, carpooling is a great way to split the fare or take turns paying. If you spend $10 per day and go downtown 5 days a week like I did, your savings add up fast, and I was originally an Economics major, so I’m all about the opportunity cost. It’s $200/month (or $2400/year!) I’d rather spend on a meals, clothes or trips.
4) Free or Low Cost Events
There are plenty of events that happen in a city, and tons of free activities like outdoor markets, hiking, bike paths, free tickets to shows, discount days at art galleries, street festivals, and the list goes on. If you want to hang out with your friends, but don’t want to spend a fortune, be the person to search for these local events and great spots.. This allows you to have more control over what you want to do and how much you’re willing to spend.
Either way, don’t let a tight wallet keep you from going out to enjoy and see your friends. If you can’t attend something, reciprocate with another invite & ask them to join you at something that’s less damaging on the wallet on another day.
If you have your own suggestions, I’d love to hear! I love to spend on great events and fun outings, but all about saving on a more regular basis so that I can book those incredible trips on my list!
Photo credit to my one and only, Rise Again BJJ