It’s tough to socialize on a budget – particularly because we have so many options to choose from in Vancouver. We’re a foodie city filled with new restaurants opening every month and plenty to do on weekends. But sometimes your bank account has other plans.
I want to be there for my friends, but when income is low I need to adjust my lifestyle to prioritize the bills that matter. However, saying “no” to your friends when they ask you to hangout can be a total bummer.
For example, some months can be busier than others with obligations on top of your socializing. Last month I had to forgo any social activity that was not a birthday or business meeting to ensure that I didn’t overspend. Instead I planned to see my friends the following month and they were very accommodating!
It’s not easy to switch up your lifestyle to cater to your funds, or lack thereof, but there are ways to adjust that won’t break your bank or your friendships. Here are a few simple ways that you can cater your lifestyle to your budget when friends suggest a social outing:
1. “Let’s hang out!”
Instead of scheduling in multiple activities with one friend at a time, plan a group activity like a group dinner or bowling. This way you can see everyone at once and it will be a lower cost not just for you, but everyone involved. This might take a little more planning, but will literally pay off in the long run.
2. “Wanna go out to eat?”
Instead of going out to eat, suggest meeting your friends for a coffee or invite them over. If you make them lunch or dinner, make enough for leftovers that can last you another day (I love to serve pasta because you can make a lot for little cost). This will be less expensive than a restaurant and it’s a more intimate setting with friends. Need tasty recipes? Check some out here.
3. “Let’s grab a drink!”
With so many restaurants and bars in our city, there are lots of Happy Hours to choose from. This is also a great way to visit a local business you haven’t been to before.
4. “Come work out with me!”
Fitness classes can be expensive, but you don’t want to give up your physical health because you can’t afford it. Lots of studios offer up free classes if it’s your first time or if you’re going with a friend who has a membership. Many local fitness-focused businesses also offer free community-based classes each week and this is a great chance to bring more than one friend.
5. “Are you going to the birthday?”
Sometimes we skip out on celebrations because we can’t afford the whole shebang! Instead, consider skipping the dinner and meeting up at the after party. If a birthday gift is what you’re worried about, then go in on one with friends and it can cut the cost down and give you brownie points for getting them something they’ll love. The INTERAC e-Transfer Request Money feature makes it easy to split the cost with friends.
Not all of these tips need to be implemented at the same time to fit your budget. Pick two to start with and go from there. Saying no to your friends can really suck in the moment, but I can guarantee that if you explain to them that you cannot afford something, they’ll understand and will catch you next time!