This is a guest post by Claire Anderson, a UK based debt adviser and personal finance expert.
Proper debt management etiquette would tell us that when struggling with juggling our bank balances, the luxuries go right out of the window. Yes, that includes your morning Starbucks, deli bought lunches, impulse purchases and the new jacket you really want but don’t really need at all.
You could argue that a social life is a luxury, to an extent. Yes, flashy nights out, expensive cocktails and dinners at high end restaurants with friends are extravagances that come firmly into the ‘luxury’ category. But surely debt shouldn’t mean that you essentially have to become a hermit until the day you day you paid off the last penny?
No, it doesn’t mean that. A social life is absolutely doable on a tight budget. Here are a few ideas!
Grab your friends, get a cheap bottle of wine and cook up a storm at home. Home cooked food is far, far cheaper than restaurant meals and you and your friends can have just as much fun chatting and relaxing at your house. Plus, you can’t sit in a bar in your PJs, can you?
There is usually always some sort of free event taking place relatively close to you. For the British, wherecanwego.com is a great way to find the free events taking place near your home. If you live anywhere else, typing “free events,” plus your local area name into the search engines will probably return results. These events can range from poetry readings, to music concerts, wine and cheese tasting events and pretty much anything else you can think of. But as well as saving money, trying something new like this might just be a refreshing addition to your social life!
Drinks with Friends
So nights in and free events are great, but sometimes all you want is to go for drinks with friends, right? Can you still do that and balance this with paying off your debts? You bet you can! Of course, it isn’t something you can do every weekend, necessarily, but as a treat once in a while, certainly. Why not arrange to meet up during Happy Hour at your favourite bar and make the most of the cheaper drinks deals that are on?
Yes, so movies at home are great, but the cinema can be unrivaled in terms of an experience. It is possible to get your hands on free movie tickets though. For those of us residing in the UK, seefilmfirst.com has regular cinema ticket giveaways. For US residents, the movietickets.com newsletter often sends out free movie ticket offers. Sign up for it!
Just because you need to tighten your belt and start managing your spending better does not mean you have to become a hermit, give up all your friends and live a long and lonely life! Far from it. It simply means being more creative in how you spend your socialising time!