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How to Balance Frugality with a Social Life

Your friends all want to do expensive things — hit the bars, take a beach trip — but you’re broke. You don’t want to be an antisocial hermit, but you can’t afford to spend $15 on a margarita. How can you maintain a social life when you don’t have any cash? Here are a few tips.

# 1: Join a club or group. Convert solitary activities into social events. If you like to read, why not join the local book club? If you’re interested in running, why not join a runner’s group? This helps you meet new friends and maintain a social life that’s not dependent on hitting the bars and dining at restaurants. Websites like Meetup.com can help you make local connections based on similar interests.

#2: Volunteer. Not only is volunteering good for your wallet, it’s also a great thing to do for your community. If you love animals, then offer your time and skills at an animal shelter. You’ll make new friends who care about the world, and even though you’re broke, you’ll appreciate how much you do have.

#3: Host a BYOB party. Host a party for your close friends, and tell each person to pitch in with snacks and alcohol. By throwing a potluck party, you can turn your home into the center of your social life without spending a dime!

#4: Try outdoor activities. Summer is prime time to get outside and enjoy the environment. Go for a bike ride, try hiking, or pack a picnic to a local park. Most cities in the US have beautiful parks that you can enjoy for free. You can toss a frisbee, kick around a soccer ball or just spend hours people-watching.

#5: Host a movie or TV marathon. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime provide low-cost alternatives to cable. If you subscribe to any of these services, invite your friends over to watch your favorite TV show or movie trilogy.  It’s virtually free, and a great way to connect with friends. Did someone say “Game of Thrones” marathon?

#6: Hit happy hour. What should you do if your friends insist on going to a bar? Suggest that you go only for happy hour, when drinks and appetizers are discounted, sometimes by as much as half-price. Alternately, split an appetizer with friends, or go to bars that feature Groupon, Amazon Local or Scoutmob deals.

#7: Shoot billiards. If your friends want to hit the bars until 3 a.m., suggest a location that has no cover charge and features pool tables. This will allow your friends to spend as much money as they want on alcohol, while you spend only a few quarters playing pool. Even though you won’t be drinking, you’ll get to spend time with your friends.

#8: Take a fitness class. Do you go to the gym? Does it offer free fitness classes? If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, invite your friends to join you at a fitness class, or make an effort to befriend someone new at your gym. You would be surprised how many friends you can make just by working out.

Kennedi writes about fitness and beauty on a budget at Face & Fitness. 

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