The Broke Person’s Guide to Hanging With Friends

Don’t let your friends’ expensive tastes be the reason you rack up a pile of high-interest credit card debt—follow these expert tips instead!

You know what’s great? Friendship.

But occasionally friendship costs money. And if you have lesser financial means than your friends, things can get awkward fast.

Just imagine: one week your friends tell you that they’ve decided to go on a caviar bar crawl. You could maybe afford a single small tin, but they’ll be expecting you to try multiple tins at each new location! So you make up an excuse about having to stay home and wash your hair.

Next week they invite you out again. This time they’re planning to have a Mazzerati demolition derby and each of you will be expected to provide your own car. You OBVIOUSLY can’t afford this, so you tell them you’re still washing your hair and won’t be able to join them.

Week three rolls around and now they want you to join them in a game of space polo. You heard them correctly. They’re going to put a bunch of horses in space suits and then wear space suits of their own and ride the horses in space while trying to score goals by knocking a ball around zero gravity. Not only does this sound like animal abuse, but you definitely can’t afford it. You tell them you’re still washing your hair but now they’re just going to stop inviting you to hang out. Who wants a friend with such dirty hair after all?

So what can you do if you want to keep your friends but you’re on a tight budget? Short of taking out a personal loan to afford your social life, here’s what you can do.

Suggest the activities.

If you’re the kind of person who waits for someone else to suggest the group activity, maybe try being a slightly different kind of person. Just in that regard. You’re doing amazing otherwise!

“Suggest less expensive activities,” advised Leslie H. Tayne Esq. (@LeslieHTayneEsq), Founder and Head Attorney at Tayne Law Group (@taynelawgroup). “If your friends have a tendency to be a little lavish, consider suggesting less expensive or free activities. Days in the park, hikes, and bike rides are fun free things to do, especially in the nice weather. Find more reasonably priced restaurants around town and suggest those as alternatives to the pricier places.”

Kelan Kline of The Savvy Couple (@TheSavvyCouple) echoed the benefits of affordable physical and outdoor activities: “One of the best ways to hang with your friends and not break the budget is to choose an activity other than going bar hopping on the weekends. These tend to add up very quickly and before you know it you have dropped $50 on alcohol and a bad headache the next day.

“Instead, find some similar interests when it comes to physical activity. I’m almost 30 years old and still play basketball, racquetball, floor hockey, and ultimate frisbee with my friends on a regular basis. These activities are essentially free besides the gym membership. A good game night, campfire, or even a camping weekend can be very cheap entertainment with your friends.”

Have your friends over.

You can go one step further than just suggesting activities. You can bring the activities into your home! Hosting is a great way to offer something to your friends at little additional cost and when you’re done, you’re already home!

“Host at home,” suggested Holly Wolf, Director of Customer Engagement for SOLO Laboratories (@SOLO_labs). “I used this last week on vacation. Instead of going out to eat, we grilled lobsters at our condo. I made a salad, roasted asparagus, and offered refreshing libations. The dinner cost about $60 for four people. That’s a fraction of what dinner (and not a lobster dinner) would have cost in a restaurant. You can make a roasted chicken, salad, and baked potato for four people for about $12.”

And if you ask friends to bring some food and drinks, you can save even more!

Eat at home first.

Even if you will be going out with your friends, you can take some steps to guard against spending more than you know you should.

“Eat at home first,” recommended Success Mindset Expert Belinda Ginter (@unstoppablebelinda_). “If your friend group is going out to a nice restaurant for dinner or a pub for snacks and you really can’t afford it than eat first. Fill up, then you only need to chip in a few dollars to snack when you’re at the restaurant. This takes the pressure off. And if everyone is ordering an entree you can get away with an appetizer to be more cost-effective.”

Take advantage of general savings strategies.

General savings methods will also be helpful when it comes to hanging with friends on a budget. You just may have to do some research beforehand.

“Pretty much anything and everything is online somewhere, as are deals, sales, and coupons,” explained real estate professional Chantay Bridges. “Once you know what the plans are, do a little homework and find a way to do the same thing at a discount price. Whether it’s obtaining your tickets from a site that provides AAA, employee, or any other discounts. The trick is to find the same activity but do it for less.

“Discover ‘buy one get one free’ deals. Yes, they are out there. Whenever applicable, do buy one, get one free deal. You and a friend could split the cost of the one you buy or take turns getting the item that is free. Regardless of how you do it, your costs will be considerably less. If you’re going to an amusement park, Google ‘buy one get one free’ to wherever you are going and see what comes up. Don’t forget specials such as Legoland, when kids can go free with a paying adult pass. Be creative in your search and you’ll be surprised at all of the deals available at your fingertips.”

Be open with your friends.

At the end of the day, if these friends are really your friends, they should understand and be sensitive to your budget needs. It can be tough to be open about financial issues, but if you do, it can save you a lot of headaches and make your friendships stronger.

“Most of us have had the group of friends who always want to ‘just split it evenly because it’s easier,” empathized Tayne. “If you’re the one on a budget, those words may make your stomach drop. Stand up for yourself in those situations. If you only had a salad and a water, you shouldn’t have to pay for your friend’s filet mignon and Cosmo. It can be an uncomfortable conversation, but simply remind your friends that you had less and feel it’s only fair.

“It’s a good idea, then, to bring cash when you go out, because that can make paying for your portion of the bill simpler. Additionally, using cash will allow you to have a visual representation of how much you’ve spent, which can help keep you on track as well.

“It can be uncomfortable to talk to your friends about your financial situation. You certainly don’t have to give all the details of your finances, but if your friends continue to try to get you to do things you can’t afford, you may need to spell it out for them a little more. If they’re truly your friends, they’ll value spending time with you more than any specific activity.”

You may never be able to afford space polo. But when your friends understand your situation, they should be sympathetic enough to do some cheaper activities with you next time. And if they aren’t, maybe you need to start making some new friends. The last thing you want is a weekly game of space polo to leave you relying on no credit check loans, payday loans, and cash advances to get by.

To read more about saving money on everyday expenses, check out these other posts and articles from OppLoans:

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Chantay Bridges is America’s leading mogul, who utilizes her gifts and abilities in outreach to her community and world around her. She is an exceptional Realtor, (translation: the one you want to hire), Author, Speaker and a keen philanthropist with a strong business acumen.
Belinda Ginter (@unstoppablebelinda_) is an industry leader in Emotional Kinesiology, Success coaching & Mindset. She is a  trained emotional Kinesiologist certified in BET and Mindset Expert with over 5 years of experience with 6,000 plus clinical coaching hours, working with thousands of clients worldwide.
Kelan and Brittany Kline aka The Savvy Couple are two thriving millennials that are daring to live differently. They started their personal finance blog in September 2016 to help others get money $avvy so they can live a frugal and free lifestyle. Brittany is a full-time 4th-grade teacher and Kelan runs The Savvy Couple full-time and works as a digital marketer. You can follow them here: FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.
Leslie H. Tayne, Esq. (@LeslieHTayneEsq) has nearly 20 years’ experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Leslie is the founder and head attorney at Tayne Law Group (@taynelawgroup), which specializes in debt relief.
Holly Wolf is an executive with over 30 years of experience in banking and healthcare.

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