When 2014 began, I decided to make a conscious effort to stick to a budget. What I hadn’t realized is that the biggest area where I could save money is food, specifically eating in restaurants. Once I realized this, I started cooking for myself and eating at home more than I have in the past, which is usually more healthful and always more cost effective than eating out or ordering in. However, there is a social aspect to going to restaurants with friends and I really enjoy good food, which is how I used to justify my eating out habit.
January has been an adjustment period for me; I’ve had to be more creative when I plan meals with friends so that I’m not blowing my food budget for the week on one nice dinner downtown. What has worked best for me is meeting friends for lunch at places where I can bring a packed lunch from home or doing a potluck style dinner at somebody’s apartment. I’ve come to the understanding that while I’m not always going to be able to join friends for meals out, every once in a while it’s okay to splurge. I’ve also found that my friends are respectful of my choice to be more budget focused and are happy to do activities with me that don’t involve spending money.
Everygirls, how does budgeting impact your social life? Do you feel like you have to choose between saving money and spending time with friends? Have you come up with any creative ways to get around the issue of wanting to socialize but not wanting to go over budget?