How to Have a Social Life on a Budget

Life as a financially independent, stable adult means always being able to pay your monthly bills. When these financial obligations take priority, you may have to cut back on other costs that aren’t obligatory. For many people, these cutbacks can impede social life spending. But you can still easily have a social life on a budget – here’s how.

social life budget

Practice cost-free social life now

At the moment, the world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and cases continue to spread rapidly in the United States, especially among younger people. Since the safest thing to do during the pandemic is to stay home and avoid seeing friends in indoor settings, now may be the perfect time to practice staying entertained without leaving home. Try seeing your friends virtually via video chat or in an online game room. These options tend to be entirely free – and they won’t disappear when the pandemic does.

Set a social life budget

Another option for having a social life on a budget is to very literally set a formal social life budget. Some experts recommend setting aside at most 10 percent of your take-home pay for your social life. This spending category includes drinks, cover fees, transportation to and from social events, tickets to shows, and more.

Bring your social life home

If your friends want to meet for brunch at an expensive nearby spot, why not invite them to your apartment for a homemade brunch instead? Not only will you all save money by splitting the cost of groceries, which are much less expensive than restaurant food, but you’ll also get to spend time together in a quieter, more private environment where you have far more freedom to do and say anything you want.

Start a new hobby

Starting a new hobby to maintain your social life on a budget may seem counterintuitive: Don’t hobbies cost more money? For some people, though, funneling a modest amount of money into new hobbies can help to prioritize and streamline their spending.

Using new hobbies to maintain your social life budget works best if you find yourself struggling to stay within your social life budget due to boredom or simply a need for constant entertainment. Investing your money, time, and energy into a new hobby such as a dance club, sports team, or craft group is a much more deliberate use of your social budget: You’ll get to do something you enjoy with other people, and you can start your hobby alongside your friends or make new friends through your new group activities.

Make the plans

Perhaps more important than any spending tip or trick for having a social life on a budget is to be the person making the plans. When you organize social plans for your friend group, you have far more control over how much money you and your friends will need to spend than if you follow your friends’ lead. Choose activities that are both entertaining and affordable, and your friends might not even notice that you’re living your social life on a budget!

How do you stay within your social budget? Sound off in the comments!

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