Whether our time spent catching up with friends involves weekend brunches, after-work drinks, nights out, or all of the above, maintaining a social life can be expensive. In fact, it can sometimes even feel downright impossible to spend time with loved ones without spending at least a little cash.
As a recent college graduate on a tight budget, I’ve experienced firsthand just how difficult it can be to find the perfect balance between having fun with others while also saving for the future. When friends invite me to test out the latest $25 fitness class or newest restaurant with them, for example, it can feel as though I have to choose between socializing and sticking to a budget.
The more I’ve sought to reconcile the two, however, the more I’ve learned that finding cheaper alternatives for spending time with friends is in fact both doable and rewarding. Just a few weeks ago, I met up with a friend at the local park and we went rollerblading together. It was such a fun (and free!) experience, and it reminded me that when we strive to honor both our budgets and our friendships, we become more intentional about each. If we start occasionally trading expensive activities for homemade dinners or hikes, for instance, our socializing becomes more about the other person and the time we’re spending together, rather than the event or thing we’re doing together.
We’ve all heard countless times that the best things in life are free, but so often we forget. In a culture that emphasizes more, sometimes a tighter budget can remind us to appreciate the simpler things and to cherish what we have rather than stressing over what we don’t.
How has budgeting affected your social life? What compromises or solutions have you found to balance saving money and spending time with friends?