If you're trying to pay down debts, it can be embarrassing to say you're on a budget when your friends want to hang out. Instead of making up excuses or trying to lie your way out of it, own up to the truth.
Like with anything else, the first step towards tackling your debt problem is to be clear about it -- to yourself and to people who want your company. As The Simple Dollar puts it:
If I can't afford to do something, I tell the person why, even if it makes me uncomfortable. I think that owning up to the debt is a better long-term plan than pretending it doesn't exist, as many of us tend to do in this country. You only have to look at this recent article in the Atlantic that details a middle-class man's "secret shame" about living paycheck to paycheck to see how common it is to feel bad about your financial standing. Our culture is one in which you're looked down upon if you aren't "living the dream."
You don't need to go into the gory details of your financial structure. A simple line can do wonders. Just tell your friends, "Sorry, I have a budget to watch." Once they know your budget, chances are, they will be fine going somewhere within your price range, or hanging out with you at home.
The bottom line is, debts aren't something to be ashamed about. Don't pretend they don't exist. Acknowledge them and find solutions.
Four Strategies to Stay Sane While Battling a Student Loan [The Simple Dollar]