Why Saving Money Means Changing, Not Eliminating, How You Socialise

Why Saving Money Means Changing, Not Eliminating, How You Socialise

It’s a well-established fact that other people can be a huge drain on your budget. While cutting back on expensive social events can be good for your wallet, it can also leave you isolated. Instead of focusing solely on eliminating costs, try to find free alternative ways to bring your group together.

Photo by Joseph Evangelista

As personal finance blog Frugaling points out, a lot of society’s favourite meeting places involve spending money: eating out, going to bars, attending conventions, watching a movie. When we’re budgeting, all of these things look like numbers on a page, but we forget they also represent groups of people and, more importantly, they represent the socialisation that we all need at some point:

When I first started saving money and becoming more frugal, I didn’t notice my removal from society’s consumptive catches… But over time, I started to feel this lump in my throat… That feeling of loneliness crept back in. With each effort to save, came losses in social situations. As much as I tried to build in free time with friends that was actually free, I realised that it was challenging.

Unfortunately, there’s not always a simple answer to the problem. You, as the frugal one, can suggest cheaper or free events to your social group and try to convince them to get on board. You can try going out to restaurants without eating. Perhaps you may even need to give yourself a budget you can blow on socialisation. However, eliminating social events just because they cost money can hurt you in the long run.

Congregation Without Consumption [Frugaling via Rockstar Finance]


  • I’m part of a board game group. We meet weekly at the local RSL and pay $2 each for the privilege. Sometimes we eat, but meals are cheap. The $2 is a fund for insurance of our games (in case of spills, lost pieces, etc), as well as to pay dues to meetup.com (it costs money to start a group there), as well as purchase new board games. It’s a great deal of fun, we have something new to play all the time, and sometimes people who are there for a whole other reason stop and look into what we’re doing and sometimes even join in. And it’s a very small cost. And bringing up Cards Against Humanity on a games night with your friends is always fun.

    Volunteering is another way to socialise without paying out of pocket. Lions, Rotary and more generally have weekly or monthly meetings, and there is usually no out of pocket expense. You get to see the same people all the time, you work together on projects, and you also get to have fun with them.

  • I usually invite friends over for dinner, and ask that they bring a bottle of wine, or dessert, or something. Cooking for 3-4 people isn’t that much more expensive or difficult than cooking for 1-2 people, in my experience. You can throw together a pasta dish for less than $5/head, easily.

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