Watching your money doesn't mean you can't have fun .

How To Be A Social Butterfly Without Breaking The Bank

By Alicia Kellebrew
The Village Financial Resource Center

You can maintain your budget and still have fun socializing with friends.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am quite the social butterfly. I love spending time with others and hearing their stories. After spending a weekend with my friends, it reminded me just how much we have a tendency to use eating out as our socializing time/entertainment. Unfortunately, as we all know, this can become expensive quickly. So what is a person to do?

Fortunately, I am the type of person who is not afraid to suggest an alternative because I figure that I am not the only one on a quest to keep my budget intact. I am always on the to do things the most economical way possible and would like to share some of my ideas in the hopes that they may spark some others. This is only a short list of ideas and suggestions based off my own experiences – but the possibilities are endless.

  1. The “What Do You Have in Your Fridge/Freezer?” Get-Together- There have been many times when my friends will say that they want to get together but then follow that up with “But I really can’t afford to eat out right now….” Our solution became calling each other up and asking what they had in the fridge or freezer. For example, they may say that they had burgers that they were going to grill up but no sides. So I would find some sort of side/dessert/drink to bring along with me to round out the meal.
  1. The “Let’s Relive Our Childhood” Get-Together – For this one you call up your friends and ask them to bring over their favorite game from their childhood. Chances are we all probably have at least one of them hanging around somewhere. I always found it fun to see what everyone else’s favorite was when they were little and every now and again you discover a game you didn’t even know existed. This would also work with games geared towards adults if that were preferred.
  1. The “Bring Your All-Time Favorite Movie and Have a Marathon” Get-Together – With this one, you may find out that one of your “tough” or “serious” friends has an interesting movie choice that may surprise you. You may also discover a hidden gem that you wouldn’t have given a second thought. Just don’t fall asleep like I always do!
  1. The “I Can Cook/Bake Better Than You Can” Get-Together- Maybe you have friends that like to showcase their talents and introduce a little competitiveness to an activity. Ask everyone to make their best creation, and then everyone in attendance can vote on their favorite. You could pool funds to offer a prize or could compete for bragging rights within your circle.
  1. The “I Am Sick of Eating the Same Thing” Get-Together- This one is similar to the one above but encourages the group to cook one of their favorite “outside of the box” dishes and bring copies of the recipes along so that a little taste testing and recipe swapping can happen. It may even help you break out of a food rut you have been in for a while.
  1. The “Let’s Get Creative!” Get-Together- Ask all of your friends to bring a project idea and part of their craft supply stash along and then co-create together. Maybe your friends can help you figure out just how to complete the craft if it’s complex, or maybe they will have supplies in their stash that you didn’t.
  1. The “Let’s Expand Our Knowledge” Get-Together- This one can be done a couple of different ways. First, you may ask your friends to teach the group how to do something they don’t know how to do such as some sort of craft or other specialized hobby. Or, you could have everyone show up with their favorite book and do a (temporary) swap. Again the idea is to expose yourself to something new that you might not have found on your own.
  1. The “Let’s Dance/ You Probably Don’t Want Me to Sing” Get-Together- Everyone has a favorite (or least favorite!) song or dance move. Why not share them with the group? You can spend your time together evaluating each other’s talent levels or reminiscing about favorite memories stirred up by what is shared. It could even lead to dance lessons or the forming of a band!

Bottom line: Maybe it is time to think outside the box when it comes to socializing and entertainment. Besides think of all the cool stories you will have to tell about these activities later!Watching your money doesn't mean you can't have fun .

About the author
Alicia Kellebrew is a NFCC certified financial professional with The Village Financial Resource Center.