How to spend money wisely and have fun with your friends
Maximize fun with friends and stick to your budget. It's all about planning in advance for spending money wisely.
Getting together with friends is important and can be done simply and inexpensively with good planning. Everyone's budget and spending habits look different. Some friends might have more wiggle room for a spendy night out and others may not. When your friends hit you up, you don't have to say 'no' to everything to save money. You don't, however, have to bust your budget either.
Always consider where you can save without sacrificing on fun or saying 'no thanks' altogether. It's all about being aware and intentional about when and how you're spending. Here are a few strategies to consider that encourage balancing time and entertainment with friends while still meeting your financial goals.
Ideas on how to spend your money wisely
- Don't let extra fees add up. Ticket fees can rack up and no one wants to pay them. It might seem like a small amount but it eventually adds up, so avoid them if you can. If you're headed to a show and have time in advance, offer to swing by the box office to pick up tickets to avoid fees.
- Don't get stuck paying more than you owe. We've all been there: the check comes, its split evenly 6 ways and suddenly you're somehow paying the equivalent of 3 entrees instead of paying for the one you had. "Wait, how'd that happen?" Nip it in the bud from the get-go and ask the group to agree on separate checks before you order or ask the waiter up front for your own bill.
- Be the party planner. If you're on a budget and want to help your friends who are too, take the lead making a budget-friendly agenda. A few ideas include gathering for appetizers and drinks rather than a full meal together, having a potluck or cookout or meeting at restaurants that have reasonably priced meals. There are so many inexpensive options.
- Strategize for smart spending. Making events or get togethers more affordable, enjoyable and memorable for all may take some work since not everyone enjoys the same activities. Be sure to plan and discuss the options and voice your recommendations. When traveling or hanging out with friends, don't be shy about bringing up smart solutions with less cost.
Other ideas for fun things to do on a budget
- Go on a nature adventure. Look for parks or hiking trails close to where you live and spend the day outside with your friends. Plan for a picnic, a cook out or bring snacks from home so you may have a good time while sticking to a budget.
- Volunteer as a group. Volunteering is a great activity to do with people you enjoy spending time with. You have the opportunity to help others, get to know your community and it can be rewarding. Next time you want to have quality time with your friends, you may suggest getting together and helping others.
- Go to garage sales or thrift shops. If you enjoy shopping and want to spend money wisely, invite your friends to roam garage sales or visit local thrift shops. You might be lucky to find very affordable treasures for your home or closet along the way, while having a fun time with your friends and being environmentally friendly.
- Attend local events. Many towns and cities have music and cultural events at a very low price or even free. Get together with your friends and enjoy music, art or a flea market while supporting local businesses.
Balance is the key. There are strategies for budgeting that help. Being conscious of your spending doesn't always have to mean blanket cuts. If you're able to cut back in small places, you can start moving that extra money toward retirement, emergency funds and pursuing other financial goals.