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Socialising on a budget

Posted on 21 September 2022


With ever-increasing costs on all fronts, socialising may be the last thing on your mind. However, it is human nature to be social, and we thrive when we are part of a community. Our happiness is largely influenced by the relationships and friendships we maintain, as is our overall wellbeing. Read on for tips on how to socialise on a budget, you don't have to break the bank to have a good time.  

Staying in is the new going out 

We’re on the cusp of cosy season, a time for snuggly nights in front of the TV or getting back into reading. If you're feeling social, why not invite your family and friends over for a game night? It might also be a good idea to invite people over for drinks, food, or barbecues. Bonus: eating in is almost always cheaper than eating out. Costs can be kept down by cooking yourself, asking friends to bring drinks and dishes, or taking turns hosting. Staying in also gives you the chance to have an intimate gathering. 

Check for discounts 

You may be able to access retail and leisure discounts as part of your employee benefits. These allow you to save money on restaurant meals, cinema tickets, travel, and family days out. Many are available as e-vouchers on your mobile phone, making it quick and easy to save while you shop. Speak to your line manager or HR team for more information about your rewards and benefits discounts you have access to through your work schemes.  

Spend some time in nature  

With national and country parks dotted everywhere, we’re never too far from green spaces. Before the cold crisp of winter sets in, head off for a long walk or hike and explore the great outdoors. You could even collect leaves, acorns and other autumnal staples to craft something special with the kids. Being outdoors is great for your mood, physical health and overall wellbeing. Did you know a brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories.  

Divvy up the bill  

If you do decide to hit the town, don’t let the joy of eating out be overshadowed by the thought of what your share of the bill will be. A study by The Economic Journal showed that diners spent 36% more when they knew the bill would be split equally, instead of just paying for what they ordered. 

Bill-splitting apps like Tricount or Tab are a great way to remove the tension of divvying up. On Tab (iOS only) you take a picture of the receipt, the app reads the items, and everyone joins from their phones to claim what they had, with the tip divided proportionally. 

Keep an eye on your cash 

If you don’t want to overspend on a big night out, withdraw the money in cash beforehand. It’s easy to run up a big bill using contactless payments, but there’s nothing like handing over coins and notes to register quite how much you’re spending. 

The same holds true in everyday life. Seeing where the money is going will help us decide whether a purchase is worthwhile. 

Be honest   

This can be scary to do. When people are planning big events that you know you can do without spending on, don't be afraid to speak up and/or suggest a cheaper alternative. Never put yourself under pressure to spend more than you can afford. Be upfront with your friends if you’re on a budget - with the coming winter and expected energy bill increases, you may find they’re keen to save too. Money is infamously difficult to broach with friends or even family members, but it doesn’t have to be. For more on this, read our article How to talk money with your family. 

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