As Christmas approaches, it is natural to be feeling the pressure to both socialise and watch our pockets so we can afford presents for our friends and family. We have to admit that we are no strangers to putting a round on the credit cards at times. But given we all need to watch the pennies, we came up with 25 Thrifty Ways to Socialise on a Shoestring.
Debt at Christmas time is a serious issue. One third of british households put Christmas on Credit, with many falling behind on essential household bills. The problem we found is that much of the advice out there says ‘ cut down on socialising’. Well Okay maybe you want to spend the Christmas season watching old movies in your pyjamas. But for those of us who like to get social, the current advice on being frugal is frustrating.
Follow our handy guide and enjoy time with friends without the fear of those awkward phone calls to your credit card company. Psst – We even have a little bonus tip right at the end.
Thrifty Theatre & Film Lovers
- Invite your friends round to watch a classic film at yours. Do what we do and get everyone to vote on what film they want to watch.
- Skip the popcorn and drinks bought at the cinema and take your own.
- Take advantage of discounted cinema tickets such as Meerkat Movies or look out for price drops earlier in the week. If you really want to see the latest blockbusters then click here.
- Go to a film festival. You get to see new and independent films and often the tickets are much cheaper than your standard blockbuster movies.
- Sign up for the mailing list at your favourite theatres and get notified when there is discounted tickets to big shows. The Lowry offers £5 tickets to locals, but you have to grab them whilst you can!
The Drinks are on Us.
- Have a wine and cheese party at home where people bring their own. Set the maximum expenditure as £10 and vote on your favourite wine.
- Head to a bar that offers a deal on your favourite tipples, look out for extended happy hours or bottles.
- Have a Cheap Challenge on any bar crawl. You set a budget for the evening and see how many drinks you can have within your budget. Winner gets any spare change, or a drink bought by the others. You would be surprised how competitive it gets!
- Have a mix and match party, get everyone to bring a spirit and mixer (again set a budget) and have fun making your own cocktails.
- Limit how much you have. It sounds simple, but just a one or two drinks followed by soft drinks means you get to socialise, keep a clear head and money in your pocket.
Frugal Food Lovers.
- Order water for the table. Drinking water helps curb your appetite and will save you pounds and calories from overeating.
- Share! Again another simple tip but ordering shareable dishes splits the costs. Alternatively, choose mini desserts alongside coffee to reduce the bill.
- Have a potluck supper. Winter is great for having an at home dinner party. Jazz it up and make it themed, or simply choose who brings what and relax and enjoy yourself.
- Dine out midweek when restaurants are offering low cost set menus.
- Host a murder mystery party at home. You can download kits and set the menu. It is good fun.
Culture without the credit cards.
- Art Galleries and Museums are generally free admission. Enough said.
- Look out for free events such as those offered by Quays Culture.
- Start a thrift book club. Set a theme, head to a second hand book store or download free titles from Kindle, and get discussing!
- Join in a PopUp Painting Event and give the artwork as a gift.
- Indulge your inner History Geek by joining a guided walk around the area.
Daylight Savings Time:
- Meet with friends for coffee and Grab a freebie using perks from apps and mobile phone providers such as O2
- Go thrift shopping. Set a budget and hit your local charity shops.
- Put together a picnic and head out to the countryside or park for a walk.
24.Grab your friends and head out for a day trip to another City to explore its culture.
- Get crafty. We love making decorations and cards with friends over snacks at home.
While these are simple ideas, they can have a big effect on your finances and happiness overall. The trick is to set a realistic budget for socialising and prioritise events accordingly.
In this way, saving money is a lot like trying to lose weight. You can absolutely have that pizza but it may mean you eat lightly for the rest of the day to ensure you stay within calories.
While you might not want to say you’re saving money, your more astute friends might notice that you’ve become a bit more resourceful. If anything, that’s a pretty awesome quality to have in a friend.
If you still like to go out and meet new people, then you could consider joining a social group like Social Circle. We offer hundreds of free events every, such as cinema outings and walks, every month from 65p per day. That’s less than a chocolate bar! You can even try an event for free!