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having a social life while saving money??
Old 06-10-2019, 12:11 PM   #1
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having a social life while saving money??

hi all!

this is definitely my biggest weakness, the whole "social/fun" category, which to me includes travel, concerts, drinks out, and spending time at my favorite place in the world, Tarjay! (Target)

I live in a sort of high cost of living city, and I struggle on how to save money. I groupon and stuff, and I've learned to travel hack some too, but looking at my spending this weekend (for the first time in a long time), I felt sort of ill realizing how much I spend just to entertain myself.

any tips on how to get this under control?

newbie here, so please be kind!
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:22 PM   #2
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any tips on how to get this under control?
Every time you are tempted to spend, ask yourself "Do I really need this?" Then think of your long term goal and decide if this helps you get there or slows you down.

And learn to entertain yourself in ways other than shopping. There are plenty of low/no cost things you can do that can be very enjoyable.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:24 PM   #3
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Going to Target for socializing doesn't sound like a recipe for success. I recommend a different hobby (biking, running, etc).
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:28 PM   #4
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Going to Target for socializing doesn't sound like a recipe for success. I recommend a different hobby (biking, running, etc).
to be fair, a few of the cashiers might just know me by name..so that's socializing, right?
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:32 PM   #5
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Every time you are tempted to spend, ask yourself "Do I really need this?" Then think of your long term goal and decide if this helps you get there or slows you down.

And learn to entertain yourself in ways other than shopping. There are plenty of low/no cost things you can do that can be very enjoyable.
we have parks, and I like taking walks, but so many of my friends have babies it sorta changes the vibe lol...

and I've been to our museums, and I like potlucks, but really everything else costs money (paint and sip places, ball games, going out dancing) I just try to look for deals.

what free things do you do for fun?
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:40 PM   #6
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You don't have to give up shopping just switch to garage sales and thrift shops. Outdoor sports and clubs with used equipment can be cheap, like a hiking club or kayaking club with a used kayak. For concerts you can look for free outdoor concerts. Many museums have free days or activity nights, or you can buy a year long membership. Many venues like zoos, garden and museum have reciprocal free entry privileges with similar venues throughout your state. Our local parks district usually has 40 or so activities every week, many are free and the rest are usually modestly priced.

Facebook is can be a good tool for finding out about nonprofit and park events and discount specials. I follow all the local park and rec departments, tourist boards, regional theaters, our favorite local bands, etc. and usually more stuff pops up on there that looks fun and cheap each week than we have time to do.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:43 PM   #7
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I would think about what can happen that causes me to lose my income.

With my car repossessed, the landlord or the bank serving an eviction notice, my social life is going to be in the dump.

That never happened to me in my working life, but was it because of luck, I dunno. But just thinking about it kept me on my toes.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:45 PM   #8
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I tend to be an introvert/recluse, so I don't have the temptations you apparently do. Instead, I have cultivated hobbies that have a byproduct of something useful, and many of these yield low cost opportunities for socializing, I garden, cook, hunt, fish, brew, took up leathercrafting, etc. No that my hobbies don't cost me money, but they often yield savings as well. This time of year I buy relatively little produce (mostly fruit, garden is going), haven't bought eggs in a year (keep quail), buy almost no meat (freezer is still pretty full after getting a deer, small game, etc.), the firewood I collect and process means my heating bill is de minimus, etc. At this point, my beekeeping is cash flow positive between sales of bees and honey.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:45 PM   #9
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While many here will recommend specific frugal activities, it's also entirely possible to keep doing what you like, but just budget better.

If you allow yourself say $X for a weekend of activities, then you can plan accordingly vs. having regrets after. If you go to Target with a shopping list vs wandering around and buying what you like (not saying you do), or with a planned "mad money" amount, same thing.

If Groupon means you try new things that you wouldn't do anyway... is that even a bargain? Probably not always.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:59 PM   #10
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You need to look at your priorities and be intentional on a daily basis on your long term goals. As other said, make a budget including what you can spend and stick to it. Include some fun money in the budget just make sure your fun money isnt derailing your goals.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:03 PM   #11
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While many here will recommend specific frugal activities, it's also entirely possible to keep doing what you like, but just budget better.

If you allow yourself say $X for a weekend of activities, then you can plan accordingly vs. having regrets after. If you go to Target with a shopping list vs wandering around and buying what you like (not saying you do), or with a planned "mad money" amount, same thing.

If Groupon means you try new things that you wouldn't do anyway... is that even a bargain? Probably not always.
This.
I have always had a "mad money" fund. I put all my non earned money into it. Credit card rewards, things I sell on sell on eBay, etc. I spend this money freely and without guilt.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:10 PM   #12
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wow, you all are giving me a lot to think about.

I think the honest answer might just be....the things I prefer to do are expensive.

I'm going to add up my "fun spending" for may and post it here, maybe tomorrow. then maybe I can come up with a plan for the rest of june.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:21 PM   #13
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Have kids. Problem solved. No time for social activities and certainly no $$$.

Kidding... sort of. The amount of $$ I spend on them pales in comparison to even my worst year as a single lad.

You can go to a bar and drink water. I do it often. I once had a BW3 server get upset because I was watching the UFC fight and never placed an order. I didn't feel bad at all, my friends spent enough for all of us

I was happy my wife enjoyed shopping at Target as our house would be fairly bare and not very welcoming without.

It's hard for me to get me consumer friends to hangout "my LBYM style" I invite them for bike rides, tennis matches, dinner parties...but they would rather spend $$ on Uber's being shuttled from restaurant to bar and back. And exercise...lol yeah, right. They do 12 oz curls and that is about it. BUUUUT....been friends with some of them for over 20 years.

I go on ski vacations with them and I like to think of it as a game to see if I can save $$ and they seem to play a different game called spend $$$. Most of them do not have kids though. Right there that eats into about $30,000 a year I used to spend on myself.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:25 PM   #14
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We always had a balance. We were able to travel extensively while working but we always looked for value. It was less expensive to take our family to an AI in Mexico or Cuba than it was to go to Florida or Hawaii so that is what we did. If we took them to Disney it was on the west coast and we used airline points to get there. Or we did things like buying a last minute heavily discounted cruise with the four of us in one ocean view cabin.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:28 PM   #15
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Looking at what you spent on this week is a nice start.

I suggest try doing that for a month and from that information, estimate for a year to start and keep a budget. A budget can be eye opening. That doesn't mean you won't be able to do fun stuff, but just that you'd prioritize what's most important.

I've been keeping a personal budget a long time and find by doing so, seems like I have more dollars doing things most important to me as I pick and choose what to splurge on and what to scrimp on beforehand instead of having those expenses sneak up on me.

P.S. By the way, welcome to the board!
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:51 PM   #16
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Many library systems have free or inexpensive programs, for people with a wide variety of interests. Check out what might be available in your area.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:17 PM   #17
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So it is not easy. It helps if your friends and/or dates/spouse are also lbym. It’s not always the popular thing to do.

In our 40s we really were focused on retiring early. We lived in NJ and frequently went to NYC. We took the bus in (bought books of bus tickets for the discount) and joined the “seat filler” clubs so we could see shows for next to nothing. We ate at restaurants with prix fixe menus. We brought our own bottled water with us.

We both retired early, and are watching our boomer friends who spent every dime, still working and will probably work until 70. We are traveling and enjoying ourselves.

It’s great that you are trying. Keep it up, it gets easier as you make more money and buy less furniture and other basics.

Best wishes.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:20 PM   #18
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Going out to bars with friends? Pour a beer in a coffee cup (with lid) or your drink of choice. I donít like paying for alcohol markup but Iíll order something. Difference between a $15 tab and a $40 tab. Or order something to share with another person - nobody need to eat a full restaurant meal by themselves.

Most of the time people donít care what you order. Your early to mid 20ís is about going out - by 30 most people hang out around the house (with kids) and the only people I know who still go out frequently are childless and/or trying to cling on to youth. Trust me when I say after 30 all that fat/salt/alcohol will not be as enjoyable.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:21 PM   #19
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Have kids. Problem solved. No time for social activities and certainly no $$$.

Kidding... sort of. The amount of $$ I spend on them pales in comparison to even my worst year as a single lad.

You can go to a bar and drink water. I do it often. I once had a BW3 server get upset because I was watching the UFC fight and never placed an order. I didn't feel bad at all, my friends spent enough for all of us

I was happy my wife enjoyed shopping at Target as our house would be fairly bare and not very welcoming without.

It's hard for me to get me consumer friends to hangout "my LBYM style" I invite them for bike rides, tennis matches, dinner parties...but they would rather spend $$ on Uber's being shuttled from restaurant to bar and back. And exercise...lol yeah, right. They do 12 oz curls and that is about it. BUUUUT....been friends with some of them for over 20 years.

I go on ski vacations with them and I like to think of it as a game to see if I can save $$ and they seem to play a different game called spend $$$. Most of them do not have kids though. Right there that eats into about $30,000 a year I used to spend on myself.
haha not sure about the kids things, but yes my friends are a huge influence on me, just like it sounds like yours are with you, even if you resist the temptation to spend.

my single friends went to GO OUT. they are not down for potlucks or hikes or whatever. so when we go out, we spend $$$

my married friends with kids are usually fine with keeping it chill but honestly it gives me anxiety being in their houses with kids running around. everything is cluttered and sticky and just not my thing.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:38 PM   #20
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Is there a way to convert the 'spend money to go do something' to a revenue neutral 'be in the social place'. We have friends who are ushers at the football and basketball games. They get to hang out and, over time, get to know the regulars at those events. On top of that, there is some scratch money! I know folks that were bartenders even while they were working at megacorp.

I see a lot of folks that are spending a lot of money entertaining themselves. 'I'm bored, let's jump a flight to Las Vegas for the weekend!' Once in a while is OK, but the $ can really add up after a bit.
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