But. . .they can also be a huge drain on your finances.
In your early twenties, you probably didn’t worry about this much because, after all, one of the main points of college (besides the education) is being social and having fun.
However, once you leave college and taking your first (possibly low paying) job and face your (possibly very high) student loan debt, you may find that you can’t be quite so free with your money.
If you’re friends are in a different financial situation or don’t care so much about paying down debt quickly, you may find yourself at odds. Your friends may still want to spend weekends at the bar drinking $8 drinks or eating out at the latest restaurant paying $40 or more per meal. What are people who are being mindful of their finances supposed to do?
1. Limit how often you go out
Rather than going out every weekend night, perhaps allow yourself to go out once a week with your friends. Yes, you’re still spending money going out, but you’re also having fun with your friends and relaxing and unwinding.
2. Suggest a different place to go
If your friends want to go to the latest sushi restaurant, you may have to pass, but you could suggest something that costs less. Maybe you could meet at a coffee shop to chat instead.
3. Ask your friends over
You and your friends may go out every weekend because that’s all you’ve ever done. You may be in a rut. Consider asking your friends over for a night in. A man I used to work with had game day (and night) once a month. Friends would come in and out throughout the day, and they’d play a variety of games. Another person had their friends over and had a BBQ and played volleyball into the night. A night in with friends can be fun.
4. Find more frugal minded friends
If you think you’ll be pinching pennies for quite some time, you may need to expand your circle of friends to include some frugal minded friends. These friends won’t pressure you as much to go out. Instead, they might actually pressure you the other way and encourage you not to spend money.
5. Find other areas of your budget to cut
If you still want to go out regularly with your friends, find other places in the budget to cut. Maybe you’ll take your lunch to work, or perhaps you’ll give up cable television and stick with a Netflix subscription. Maybe you’ll pick up a few extra hours at work to have extra money to go out.
If you find yourself spending (or saving) money differently than your friends, know that this is a typical scenario. Having different budgets doesn’t have to mean the end of your friendship if you’re willing to utilize some of the above tips.
Have you found yourself spending less than your friends? If so, how did you keep the friendship and your budget intact?