When you spend time with your friends, what do you do?
Do you go to each other’s houses for potluck dinners, or do you go out on the town for dinner?
When you watch movies together, do you toss a DVD someone already owns into the DVD player at a friend’s house, or do you head to the theater?
When you have a party, do you try to outdo each other with expensive finger foods and beverages, or do you just enjoy whatever’s available?
When you’re bored and call up a friend for something to do, do you get together and play a board game or do some crafts, or do you head out for a round of golf or some shopping?
The answers to these questions aren’t absolutes, but your answers likely trend a certain way. If they trend toward the side of spending, you might want to look at rebooting your social circle a bit and find friends that will encourage you to have a lot of fun on the cheaper side.
How do you find frugal friends, though?
Your best bet is to go where frugal people would go. Look for social groups that don’t require a significant amount of money to be spent to enjoy the activity. Free classes at the community center is one good place, as are book clubs sponsored by the local library. Volunteer activities are another good way to meet people whose social activity isn’t necessarily focused on spending.
When you engage in these activities, look for people to build friendships with. Be outgoing. Get to know as many of the people there as you can. Look particularly for the ones that click with you in some fashion.
Then, engage in frugal social activities with those people. Invite them over for a potluck dinner. Or to watch a movie. Or to play a board game. Or to work on a craft project. Or to make a bunch of meals in advance. The number of frugal things people can do together and have fun is almost infinite.
Before you know it, you’ll have cultivated a social circle whose normal behavior is one that conserves money rather than a social circle that spends money. Not only will that save you money in terms of your social outings, but it will also save you money in terms of the social reinforcement of frugal behavior when you’re not around your friends.
This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.