I am away with my daughter this weekend in Stratford Upon Avon. It is such a lovely place. She lives in Wales and so we met somewhere in between.
There is always that dilemma when you are away with family or friends (or even out for the night), I find. They often don’t need to be as frugal as you do, and you don’t want to appear boring, but you can’t spend money on meals out all the time, or go to lots of nice pubs etc. It is so easy to spend more than you can afford.
I have found with family and friends that it is best to be honest. Rather than scanning a menu feeling sick, desperately looking for something I can afford, I say when it is out of my price range and research on line before we go so that I know where there are nice places I can afford. Luckily my daughter is used to my frugal ways and we will often picnic or go somewhere that takes a blue light card.
Keeping connected with family and friends doesn’t need to cost lots of money. I will often go for a walk with my friends. We chat the same as we would in a cafe and yet we are getting exercise too.
When I first started on my frugal journey I disconnected with people and stopped going out. I thought I couldn’t afford to have a social life. Friendships are so important to mental health, as is connecting to family, and so it is about thinking outside the box to have fun. I once wrote a quiz and friends all brought their own drinks to the park one summers evening. We had great fun. The prize was some smellies I had got for Christmas but would never use. It was a cheap night out. I also often invite people round for a meal as it is cheaper than just one course at a restaurant. I then get invited to their home in return and get a free night out later.
As money gets tighter with rising prices, more people are watching their pennies, but it is important to keep those connections and to still enjoy life. How do you stay frugal but keep connected with those you care about?