Every week, your friends and colleagues ask you to go out for a few drinks or dinner but you always make an excuse. Your parents are in town, or you’re too sick, or you have to dog sit. The reason you give these excuses is because you just don’t have the money in your budget. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.
For young professionals especially, budgets are tight, and sometimes it can be really difficult to find money to spend on socializing. But at the same time, you want to hang out with friends and have fun every once-in-awhile.
While socializing can definitely get expensive, you can still very much do it on a budget. Here are 5 tips that any young professional can do to have fun with friends without spending too much.
Find Happy Hour Deals
One of the most popular ways to socialize as a young professional is to meet friends or contacts for a few drinks. But drinks can get very expensive, unless you’re only having one beer.
Before going out, look for happy hour deals. Most bars will have some special between 4-7 PM, especially on weekdays. This will cut your drink bill significantly but you’ll still have a good time.
Do Lunch Instead of Dinner
If you’re getting together with friends, you probably meet most often at night for drinks or dinner. In order to save some money, consider doing lunch or an afternoon coffee, instead.
You can keep the meal light but also enjoy a glass of wine, especially for brunch on the weekends. Many restaurants also have lunch or afternoon specials. While lunch might not be as fancy as dinner, it’s certainly cheaper.
Drink at Home
In your college days you would pregame with cheap beer before heading out for the night. This same principle might apply here too! Before going out, have some drinks at home with your friends first. You’ll get a head start on the night and save at the bar when you get there.
You could also make the night into a progressive social occasion. Start out at your place for drinks, someone else’s house for appetizers, and continue moving through the group until you end up at dessert or a night cap. It’s a fun event and spreads the cost around.
Buy a Groupon
Deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial can sometimes get a bad reputation for lack of good deals, but don’t give up on them just yet. They often have really good food and wine options that pop up.
If you keep looking, there are good deals to be found when it comes to restaurants. Take a look at the Groupons available in your local area. You will almost always be able to find a coupon for food and drinks.
Host a Potluck
You don’t always need to go out to socialize. Consider staying in. It’s just as fun and you don’t have to dress up. Host a potluck with a few of your friends. Have everyone bring a dish and you can supply a couple bottles of wine. Just make sure everyone brings something different. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with five desserts.
Socializing can definitely be a budget killer. But with these tips, you can still enjoy some time with your friends without breaking the bank.
What are some other ways to socialize and network without going over budget?