No one wants to feel left out, and it can be difficult to say no to expensive activities when your friends are going and you know that you will miss out on a good time. However, if you are trying to save money or cut expenses, it’s important to determine how to maintain relationships without spending more money than you want to (or than you can afford). Some friends will understand if you simply say that you don’t have the money, but some won’t.
On top of that, some of us are not comfortable talking about money or admitting that we are trying to cut costs. It can be difficult to resist peer pressure spending, or simply spending because you don’t want to miss out. Fortunately, you don’t need to cut out all your fun just to save money; there are ways to save on your clothes and your activities without missing out completely. Here are five tips to try.
1. Bring the party inside
If your friends are planning to go out for an expensive night that includes dinner, a concert, and a bar hop, you are probably already seeing dollar signs in your head. If your friends are set on seeing the concert, then you might not be able to negotiate that aspect of the evening. But you can save money by inviting your friends to pregame (or hang out after the concert) at your house. You don’t need to mention that you want to save money. Even ordering dinner in will probably save your wallet from going in the red. In general, if you are able to encourage your friends to hang out in a low-key setting more often, you will save money but still be able to get together.
You can also consider hosting a guys’ night at your house just to make the idea of staying in a bit more organized. Grilling and beers, poker (you don’t have to have high stakes), playing sports, or a video game night are just a few ideas from Fearless Men.
2. Dress for the future
If you like to be a sharp dressed man, and your group of friends also dress well, it is probably important to you to maintain this part of your lifestyle. According to Real Men Real Style, it’s important to have quality shoes that fit well. Leather shoes can be expensive, but they can last you for years. If you are willing to invest in a few quality pieces that will last for a long time, you actually can save money instead of purchasing imitation clothing that needs to be replaced often. You can also help your clothing to last (and therefore save you money) by using quality hangers for your suits, shoe trees for your shoes, and by being careful with the way you wash your clothes.
If you really need to purchase clothing on a budget, try waiting for sales, shopping at stores that offer discount name-brand clothes (like T.J. Maxx), and even consider high-end thrift stores.
3. Limit your spending
If you don’t have a budget, make one. A budget is essential if you want to save money. Once you determine how much you can spend on eating out and other fun events each month, stick to it. You don’t need to share your budget with anyone; you simply need to keep on track. If someone invites you to an event that isn’t in your budget, don’t go.
If you’re worried that missing out will distance you from your friends, then find a way to get together that does fit in your budget. If you can’t attend an expensive dinner, then ask about getting together to watch a game at a friend’s, or at a bar if you have a little extra money for that. You will be in a strong financial situation if you are able to limit your spending, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on time with your friends.
4. Just say no
It’s important to know what you really want. If you’re spending money simply to keep up with your friends, but you couldn’t care less about the movie they are going to, then skip it. Save your money for the things you really want to go to — that way you will save money and enjoy yourself when it matters most.
If you are truly worried about losing face in front of your friends, you can always come up with an excuse. You don’t need to share your financial goals or worries; simply say you are busy or that you really are not interested in going.
5. Adjust the cost
If you are set on going where your friends go, and you don’t want to miss out once in a while, then you will need to figure out ways to make your plans cost less. If you are meeting friends at an expensive restaurant, choose to eat first sometimes. If you eat before you go, you won’t be tempted to order expensive food just because you are hungry and your friends are eating. You can also discreetly use coupons at a restaurant as well (try websites like RetailMeNot or search for the specific restaurant on a search engine). Consider heading home after an event instead of facing an expensive bar tab, or if possible, walk to where you are going instead of sharing a cab or paying for parking.
Saving money doesn’t have to be embarrassing or force you to miss out; it is possible to dress well and have fun with the guys without spending too much money.