When we were younger; we couldn’t wait to grow up and have more responsibility. We’d spend our weekends throwing away our EMA money on booze in the local pub convinced that this is all that adults would do. Even if you bunked of school one day that week resulting in you having no money at all, you still went out and your friends would offer to get you drinks the whole night because that magical 30 pounds had hit their account that afternoon.
Now here we are, grown up with all the responsibilities and more money than we ever had back then but even when we scrimp and scrape, all that money will have disappeared by the end of the month. Between paying for this very expensive roof over my head, bills (did you ever think water would be so expensive?!) and food; there is hardly anything left over to buy an ALDI bottle of wine never mind to go out for dinner and cocktails with a few friends. Birthdays, weddings, house warming parties are inevitable, especially at our age but whenever I receive an invite, I can’t help feeling a bit anxious about how much it’s going to cost, what I’m going to wear (usually I panic about needing a new outfit) and what outgoings I have going out that month. Nobody wants to be the friend that can’t afford it.
I think growing up in the north played a major part in my naivety when it comes to money and how much things cost in the ‘real world.’ Going from under 2 pound for a pint to over 3 pound when I moved down South was pretty shocking and don’t even get me started on the house prices (honestly if you ever see me don’t talk to me about them, I could argue for hours on this very subject.)
So why are we so skint (sorry I’m talking about myself here and the majority of my friends, if you’re not skint…I take my hat of to you!) and how do we find the perfect balance of socialising and spending those precious pennies? I’ve got a few ideas…
Instead of going to a restaurant and spending what should be money for your phone bill on a 3 courses and a bottle of wine, invite a few friends over for some cheap grub and drinks. They are then likely to invite you over to theirs to reciprocate and say thank you so that’s two social evenings for the price of one. You’re welcome.
Be smart at the bar
If you know you’re going to be going up to the bar at least 3 times to fill up your glass of wine, buy a bottle; this may only save you a few quid but still, that money could be spent on lunch the following week. Also try and avoid rounds because it may seem like you’re all paying equally but when it comes to your round, it will be just your luck that everybody decides to do shots.
Mix up your wardrobe
We all know that new outfit dread ‘oh no I’ve got nothing to wear, everyone will judge me because I’ve worn this outfit before’ in reality, nobody is going care too much about your outfit, as they have probably spent all evening judging their own. But if you do have that sinking feeling when looking through your clothes and think ‘I’ve worn that too many times before’ mix it up, pair something with something else that you’ve never paired it with before. If this doesn’t work, hit the charity shops.
Find a social hobby
This is a great way to spend time with your friends without spending too much dollar. You’ve most likely got something in common, whether its films, walking, knitting or simply sitting around gossiping. Whatever you do, keep it simple, these often end up being the best days.
Cheap weekend get away
When you’re part of a close friendship group, one thing that tends to come up is holidays. Of course, we all want to swan off to the Caribbean with our besties, sunbathe on the beach and sip on coconut cocktails but sadly this costs thousands. Before things get out of hand, suggest camping (OK, not everyone loves to camp) but you can find amazing camp sites for super cheap nowadays; all you need is a travel BBQ, crate of booze and a tent. Plus, if you plan it for the summer, you’ll still be able to sunbathe and top up the tan! Everyone’s a winner.