Frugal Fun: How I Socialize with Friends Without Blowing My Budget
Written by Braelyn Rumble

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Whether it's over brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks, there's nothing quite like connecting with friends over a good meal. Although indulging in avocado toast never disappoints my taste buds, it does hurt my wallet, and it's not something a student like me can justify.

I've learned to keep an eye on the small things that add up, and being frugal is not only a great way to keep my monthly spending in check, but can also serve as a creative outlet. I've used the following ideas to get me out of the classic "let's do coffee" rut, and they've helped me connect with friends in inexpensive ways.

Creating a Space in My Home to Entertain at a Low Cost

While being frugal can mean cutting back on everyday things, it can also mean finding sustainable ways to cut back on costs long term.

When I moved into my apartment with my housemates, we made sure that we had a functional living space that was fit for entertaining. One of our favourite ways to get together with friends is to host a potluck night where everyone contributes a small dish to share. This ensures that we're all providing what we can and living within our means.

On a different night, we can use the same space to recreate a movie theatre night (stream a movie and make popcorn) or a host a candlelit games night. By having an area in our apartment to entertain, we save money as we don't have to constantly pay for transportation or the costs associated with traditional outings.

Turning Practical Tasks into Social Events

Calendars fill up quickly. I often have to choose between completing weekly tasks and spending time with friends.

But I've discovered meaningful ways to merge the two. Instead of making my weekly trip to the grocery store, I'll join a friend at the farmer's market and treat it as a fun excursion.

Other "to-do" list items can also be made fun. If I need a new pair of jeans, I'll make a fun day of thrift-hunting with my friend. I especially enjoy merging fitness and friendship by going for a scenic hike or bike ride in the warmer seasons, or by attending the same gym as my friends in the colder months.

Planning in Advance

I like to plan in advance, and thankfully many companies reward this behaviour.

If I'm planning to visit a friend, I'll book my train ride weeks in advance and take advantage of any discounts that might be available. If I'm splurging on a night out with a friend, we'll look for weekly specials. Many companies offer select deals on days or times where business is slower.

Even coming up with a rotating carpool agreement for the next outing is a great way to maximize time with friends, and minimize costs.

Being Frugal Isn't the Same as Being Cheap

I've found that there's immense empowerment in living within my means. Living frugally doesn't have to mean you're "being cheap" or lacking fun. It can inspire creativity and make you appreciate you what already have.

By suggesting these get-together ideas to my friends, I can fully invest my time and energy in our friendship without the guilt of spending money I don't have. For me, the peace of mind this creates is something I'll gladly skip avocado toast for.


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