living cheaply http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/16086/all en-US How to Be Frugal (Without Becoming a Hermit) http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-frugal-without-becoming-a-hermit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-be-frugal-without-becoming-a-hermit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4901428689_352e57e109_z.jpg" alt="friends on bikes" title="friends on bikes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t afford it.&rdquo;</p> <p>You probably hate saying that, right? Heck, I don&rsquo;t even like hearing it. It spells a dead end, no fun &mdash; and there&rsquo;s a little bit of shame that goes with it, too. Saying it aloud sometimes feels like not being picked for the dodge ball team; there you are, standing out there by yourself. It can be enough to make anyone either suck it up and pull out the credit card or retreat to reading library books and watching whatever TV channels come in for free &mdash; alone. But don&rsquo;t toss out your social calendar just yet. Fortunately, there are other options. But there&rsquo;s also a catch &mdash; being frugal among spendthrift friends may take a shift in thinking. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">47 Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend</a>)</p> <h3>Be Honest</h3> <p>Turning down invitations to dinners or vacations with friends with &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t afford it&rdquo; may be honest, but it also frames your lack of funds as a sort of affliction to which you&rsquo;re forced to submit. Instead, try saying, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m trying to save money.&rdquo; Then follow it up with an invitation to something you <em>can </em>afford later in the week. This way, it sounds like you&rsquo;re making the decision rather than letting your bank balance lead you along like a petulant child. I also find this phrase strikes a different note when you use it. Rather than feeling sorry for you, people tend to nod emphatically, tell you that&rsquo;s a good idea, and say they should really be getting into that saving business, too. Plus, by matching your rejection of their invitation with an invitation of your own, you can avoid looking like a jerk.</p> <h3>Remember That Fun and Money Aren&rsquo;t the Same Thing</h3> <p>If you think you need to spend a lot to have a good time, you&rsquo;re missing the boat. Don&rsquo;t believe me? Think back to your college days. A lot of people count those as some of the best times of their lives, despite the fact that many students barely get by. But they also live it up every weekend at parties without invitations or matching silverware &mdash; and they have a blast. If you&rsquo;re feeling like a shut-in, maybe it&rsquo;s time to get creative and host a party of your own. Pick a theme, and ask guests to bring drinks or snacks. If you have great company, the rest will take care of itself. You&rsquo;ve probably forgotten everything you learned in first-year algebra by now. Who would have thought that knowing how to party would be a lesson that would pay dividends in the real world?</p> <h3>Find Frugal Friends</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m not saying you have to throw your friends overboard, but if you have friends or are only willing to meet over an expensive dinner or a round of golf, you might need to add some new people to your social circle. Because while you might be able to have a grand ol' time dancing in your living room or walking the neighborhood, not everyone is going to follow your lead. And that&rsquo;s OK. Maybe they can afford to live the way they do, maybe not. But if they&rsquo;re never willing to meet you in the middle when it comes to getting to together, you might be forced to choose between their company and your capital. And when it comes down to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-driving-your-less-frugal-friends-crazy">friends who are this inflexible</a>, you&rsquo;d be better off choosing the cash, because friendships like that are likely to dry up as quickly as your funds.</p> <h3>Don&rsquo;t Feel Sorry for Yourself</h3> <p>Remember Michael Jackson? Of course you do. He sold millions of records, raked in hundreds of millions of dollars, and died barely solvent. The point is, money is always finite; no one can afford everything. When we have more money, our tastes tend to expand to accommodate it. When you have a financial plan that involves saving money and staying out of debt, it often means less money to spend. But that isn&rsquo;t really the same as not being able to afford things. Think about it as making better choices &mdash; your kids&rsquo; college fund rather than a Caribbean vacation, a contribution to your retirement plan rather than a restaurant meal, an extra payment on the mortgage rather than a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">fancy dinner party</a> and, most importantly, living it up rather than just laying it out.</p> <p>Those aren&rsquo;t easy choices, and it&rsquo;s possible that some of your friends won&rsquo;t buy in to any sort of frugal fun. But if you have to buy friends, you&rsquo;ll have pay to keep them, too. Now that&rsquo;s a relationship you really can&rsquo;t afford.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-frugal-without-becoming-a-hermit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-things-you-can-do-this-weekend-for-under-10">18 Awesome Things You Can Do This Weekend for Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-old-school-things-that-make-summer-summer">10 Old-School Things That Make Summer SUMMER!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-spend-a-night-out">Cheap Ways to Spend a Night Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-thrills-that-actually-satisfy">Cheap Thrills That Actually Satisfy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment cheap fun friends and money living cheaply Tue, 26 Jun 2012 10:00:13 +0000 Tara Struyk 935912 at http://www.wisebread.com