Today’s mantra: If a friend hassles you for your frugality or pressures you to spend or doesn’t respect your financial goals, then they’re probably not a very good friend to have.
Today’s action: Evaluate how you spend time with your friends and make a list of frugal substitutes for anything that’s pricey.
I’m pretty lucky in that most of my friends are frugal, though we do differ in the areas that we like to spend money in. The hard part is when your values change and you stop spending money on certain areas that you used to. For example, one of my best friends is a movie fanatic and when I was single we would go to the movies all the time- and I mean all the time. Now that I’ve frugal-ed up a bit, I rarely go to the movies. It has to be something I really want to see, that I think is worth seeing on the big screen.
So, what do I do? Well, we have movie nights at my house with a Redbox rental, an old favorite one of us owns, or something from Netflix. What about those movies that I think are worth seeing in the theater? Do I just suck it up and pay full price? Um, no.
Our local theater chain has $5 Tuesdays, all movies, no matter how new, are $5. I’m a huge nerd, wanna guess what day I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi? The Tuesday after it was released.
What about popcorn? Oh, my husband and I hacked that too. Our theaters allow one refill on a large bucket of popcorn- but it doesn’t have to be refilled on the day it was purchased. So, we go to a movie and buy a bucket of popcorn, save the bucket and bring it back the next time we go to a movie. Yes, we’re those people.
The last way we save at the theater is cheating a bit. Whenever someone asks my husband or me for present suggestions, we always say theater gift cards. For the last couple years, we’ve gotten a gift card from my parents and from my husband’s grandparents for Christmas. We make those gift cards last all year. We’re still selective about what we go see, but when something good is out, we don’t hesitate, because we have a plan for it. It’s even more of a treat when you don’t have to pay anything for it!
Another thing I end up spending money on is going out to lunch or dinner with friends. Eating out is not cheap! And it can be hard to find good places to eat healthily. So, the last time I wanted to hang out with a friend, I invited her over and made dinner for us. It was just as fun, healthier and we both appreciated saving money. Plus, we didn’t have to feel guilty about chatting away and taking up space at the restaurant. The bonus is it encourages me to tidy up the house too!
What are some activities that you’ve frugal-hacked or found frugal alternatives to? When’s the last time you invited friends over for dinner rather than eating out?