Having taken a hiatus from work twice in my life, I know the struggle of balancing friendships and saving. No one wants to be a wet blanket when it comes to socialising.
The truth is, we don’t have to be out of a job to feel that our social life is hurting our budgeting goals. All the dinners, drinks, and weddings can set us back by more than we can comfortably afford.
So, how do we break out of this trap? Try these tips that everyone can act on right away.
1. Be the planner
If you want to have control over where the group goes and what they do, volunteer to plan!
Look for free events or activities that don’t compromise on the fun. Or go healthy by organising runs after work or inviting friends and colleagues to free fitness activities. They would certainly be more interesting than the usual dinner and drinks.
The Health Promotion Board runs many free activities like Sunrise in the City (for morning workouts with colleagues), i-Run (weekly running sessions), Sundays @ the Park (for family-friendly fitness), and Mall Aerobics. Take your pick! Visit HealthHub for details and registration.
Also, plan lunch instead of dinner dates as those are usually cheaper. Some restaurants offer great deals during lunch hours. For example, Paradise Hotpot gives 30% discount on ingredients before 2.30pm and 40% discount on ingredients from 2.31pm to 4.15pm daily at the time of writing!
2. Tell your friends you are on a budget
There’s nothing wrong with telling your friends and colleagues that you are on a budget. Most likely they are too! Unless it’s a special occasion, most people would welcome budget-friendly suggestions.
You can say something along the lines of “Been spending a lot these past weeks. Let’s budget a bit!” and “I don’t really want to spend so much on dinner. I heard XYZ is cheap and good. How about we go there instead?”
Related: 52 Ways to Save Money in Singapore
3. Just do drinks
As we already know, dinners are expensive. Hence, you may want to propose a drinks session or a coffee session or only join your friends for drinks.
You can even invite your friends over to your house for games or movies and drinks to save more money!
4. Learn to say “no”
Being able to say “no” without offending anyone is an important skill in life. It’s necessary if it protects your wellbeing and wallet.
Is a colleague you don’t really work with inviting you to her wedding? Consider declining politely. Are your friends asking you to go on an expensive vacation? Tell them it’s out of your budget or it’s not a good time.
5. Leverage on apps that help you save
There are so many mobile apps out there that can help us save money that we wrote a whole article on it! Make use of apps like Entertainer, Eatigo, Fave, Eatsy, Chope, and Chug for savings on dining and drinks.
6. Use the right credit cards
Using the right credit cards can offset your spending with cashback and rewards. Here are some articles on the best credit cards to use for spending related to socialising: