Managing Finances

No matter what we do to prevent it, the dollars start flying out the door the second the temperature starts to rise. It might be very cold now but plan ahead and budget for all of known expenses, the extra expenditures still add up — and hurt.  Spring will come!

A coming cost can be the spring clean-up — mulch, new plants and flowers, and vegetable garden start-up. And then there is the rest? It’s all social — neighbors inviting us over for cookouts, dinners out and card parties. Warm weather stuff.

Nice thought as we all shiver and huddle by the fire.

Entertaining as the weather picks up, and even now while it is so cold can be enjoyable. It is fun to have people over for dinner and no one wants to say “no” to social gatherings or dinner nights when you feel lucky to get an invite in the first place.

Still, most of us need boundaries if we truly want to live within our means and stick to our savings goals. And most of us have at least one set of expensive friends — or sets of friends — to deal with.

And, that’s fine. Obviously, other people are entitled to spend their money how they want — even if it is on events or purchases others might see as frivolous. Paying $100 for dinner is enough to make some people puke, but not everyone feels that way.

How to deal with expensive friends

 

Here are a few ways we cope with expensive friends while still maintaining friendships:

Offer to whip up a fancy dinner at home.
We celebrated a special occasion with friends the other night, but instead of going out, we made an epic dinner at home. I’m talking crab legs, avocado egg rolls, spicy cauliflower, and all the extras — and all for less than $30 in ingredients.

That’s a lot for one dinner, sure, but the same meal could have easily cost $200 or more in a nice sit-down restaurant. Splurging is okay sometimes, but it costs a lot less to splurge at home.

Plan a pitch-in.
As long as someone is willing to host, a pitch-in is the perfect way to hang out and enjoy a meal with friends. Not only can it lead to huge savings, but you can also take your time instead of rushing out of the restaurant once you are done. And since we bring our kids with us to cookouts and pitch-ins, it also helps us avoid hiring a babysitter.

Suggest activities first.
This is my favorite trick when it comes to dealing with expensive friends. Any time we have tentative plans with someone, I’ll suggest an activity first. My go-to suggestion is something cheap like a pitch-in or cookout and, of course, I offer to host. Most of the time, it works.

Pick a weekend night to stay home.
Sometimes the easiest way to save money is just to stay at home. Easier said than done when the weather is beautiful, but it is a good strategy nonetheless. I actually find it rather exhausting to have plans every weekend, so we have been trying to stay home at least one weekend night — usually Fridays. Not only is it nice to save money, but it is also nice to have a family night with the kids.

Say “no” when you really don’t want to do something.
There will probably come a time when someone invites you to something you really don’t want to do. It could be a sporting event, an expensive dinner out, or something else. It doesn’t matter. Occasionally, you just have to stick to your guns and say “no.” We have done it before, and it hurts — but it was definitely the right thing. Our noes usually involve invites to expensive restaurant dinners that are late at night. I hate eating at 8:00 p.m. and can’t fathom the idea of overpaying for a meal I wouldn’t enjoy. So when a situation like that arises, I just have to say “no.”

Tell other people about your financial situation.
You don’t have to spill all of the gritty details. However, if you are truly trying to save money, it can help to let your family and friends know. So tell them. Explain your budget situation and tell them about your dreams and goals. They may not share your enthusiasm for frugal living; but if they are real friends, they will understand.

Dealing with expensive friends without losing friendships

For the most part, I tend to believe that it is all about striking a balance. You know you don’t want to be that family — the one that never has the money to do anything fun. But you also don’t want to go off the deep end and spend in a way that undermines your short-term and long-term goals.

For us, it is all about being selective and having fun in the most frugal way possible. It’s not always the easiest choice, but I know it’s the best one. Life isn’t all about having fun today; it’s about saving for tomorrow too. And sometimes, you have to bow out and make the right decision for your family.

How do you deal with expensive friends? What strategies do you use to try to keep the cost of social events down?

Waller Realty is committed to helping our readers save and achieve their financial goals. Savings interest rates may be low, but that is all the more reason to shop for the best rate.

Source: Get Rich Slowly

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