Saving money for any big event is a balancing game.
You cut down your spending to the bare essentials and put all of your extra money towards one goal, ours as you know is a year of traveling. The balancing game comes when you have to continue your ruthless savings while maintaining all of the relationships in your life. Whether those relationships are friends who want to grab a drink during happy hour every week, family members who want to meet you for brunch or co-workers who go out to lunch together every day. When do you say no and how do you budget to still see everyone and keep everyone happy…and why do most events involve food and spending money? Let’s get creative people!
In the past 6 months one of our main savings strategies was to stop eating out altogether. We will only go if it is with friends or family. This has worked out quite well and usually we plan to go out once a weekend with a group in Chicago. As our departure date nears we want to see everyone and have drastically increased our eating out budget from once a week to 3-4x a week with different groups of people. Each time we go out we love the company and we know it is worth it, but it does quickly start to add up and take away from your savings!
How we have managed to best save money and still enjoy our time with friends and families:
1. Offer to eat at home
Either host guests at your own house or go to theirs and all bring an appetizer or entree and a bottle of wine.
2. Plan to meet at a coffee shop or cafe
Instead of sitting and catching up over a big meal, meet at a coffee shop and you can get away with only spending $2 on a coffee and you end up focusing more on the conversation than on what you are eating.
3. Skip the surf and turf
You don’t have to order the cheapest thing on the menu and end up hating your meal, but you can sacrifice a little bit and avoid the best cut of steak or catch of the day.
4. Share a meal
Most of the American portions are made for 2 (or 3). If you are able to compromise and both leave with happy stomachs then consider splitting the meal between the two of you.
5. Believe it or not, not all events have to involve food or money
Meet in the park if its warm or walk around the mall if it’s not. There are so many public places you can go to tell stories and catch up to maintain the relationships you have without blowing off your budget.
How do you balance your relationships with your savings goals?