Stick to a Budget (and still have a social life)

October 17th, 2018

Life is for living and money is for spending! While this philosophy sounds great, a carpe diem mindset does not bode well for finances. To live within your means involves taking the time to measure your income against regular expenses, and then crafting a plan on how to best use your money. And while managing your money can be tricky, trying to maintain a social life on a budget is even trickier ~ but not impossible! You can still experience all New York has to offer, without breaking the bank. Read on for a few tips on how to keep both your wallet and social life full. Plan Ahead When it comes to maintaining a budget, preparation is key. Last minute events can throw off a week’s worth of financial planning. One way to avoid this situation is to become the social ringleader in your circle of friends! Offer up free or inexpensive ideas when brainstorming your weekend plans. Opt for a picnic in the park, a movie night, or host an in-house brunch (to avoid spending way too much on those “unlimited” mimosas). You’ll still get to spend time with the people you care about, without breaking the bank. Scale Back the Booze It’s no secret that a bar tab adds up quickly, which can make sticking to a budget pretty difficult. And while you don’t have to go completely sober, knowing your booze limits ahead of time can help keep spending to a minimum. Look into restaurants that offer a BYOB option, for a more affordable dinner. Scope out happy hour deals to avoid overpriced cocktails. And if you’re in an all night party situation, consider alternating boozy beverages with seltzer. Both your body and wallet will thank you in the morning. Coupons! This old-school way of saving money still exists in the digital age, and it’s much easier to hunt for relevant deals. Companies like Groupon or Livingsocial can help you save cash while sparing you FOMO. Everything from restaurant deals to salon bookings to fitness classes. It’s worth taking a look at these websites before scheduling any major appointments. Get Creative There are plenty of opportunities to take in all the creative life New York has to offer… without spending a fortune. Most museums in the city have specific days designated to free or pay-what-you-can admissions. If you’re a theatre buff, make sure to check out the TKTS discount booth in Times Square, for same-day Broadway tickets at half the cost. Love nature? NYC also offers affordable entry to its many gorgeous, botanical gardens. Volunteer Donating your time is a great way to socialize, while giving back to the community. Plus, you can link up with organizations and causes that are important to you! If you love movies, check out New York’s film festivals ~ they’re always in need of extra hands during the event and many times you gain free entry as a result. Do you enjoy practicing yoga but can’t find affordable classes in your neighborhood? Many local studios host a work-study program to make yoga accessible. And if you’re looking to get involved with social and political causes, there are plenty of opportunities to work with organizations that share your values. So while living on a budget may mean that you don’t always have spare cash, there are plenty of opportunities to donate your time and meet like-minded people!