How To Have A Social Life AND Save Money
Saving money can be lonely and boring and hard. Saying ‘no’ to weekends away with mates, or not being able to afford big fancy group dinners can leave you feeling isolated and disillusioned with this whole ‘being a responsible adult’ thing. So is it possible to save cash without turning yourself into some kind of social pariah? The answer is a resounding yes. Get your mates *involved* in the saving process and you won’t just make life a little more fun for yourself – you’ll probably end up making them some sweet cash as well!
#1 Host a cocktail party at home
Instead of hitting up the latest, trendiest – and likely most expensive – new bar in town, dig up a book on bartending and get shaking. Find someone with a decent blender, source fresh ingredients from your local fruit and veg shop and ask all the guests to bring a bottle of spirits (probably best to co-ordinate this a little bit so you don’t end up with 8 bottles of Midori.) For the price of one or two drinks at a fancy venue you’ll have a rollicking night in with your besties, learn some drink-making skills and be able to play your jams (Shake It Off anyone?) on the stereo all bloody night long.
#2 Organise a clothes swap
Dream big guys, this could be the closest you’ll ever get to experiencing one of those 80’s movie dress-up montages. First things first, go through your wardrobe and pick out the stuff you haven’t worn in yonks/doesn’t fit anymore/was stolen from past boyfriends. Next step: encourage a big group of mates to do the same thing. Arrange for them all to bring this clothing gold to your place one afternoon with some chip and dip, and it’s time for an old-fashioned clothes swap. You’re sure to end up with some excellent and free new outfits, as well as a hilarious day of dress-ups. Donate any quality leftovers to Vinnies for some extra life acheivement points.
#3 Set up a market stall
This is a plan best co-ordinated with one or two like-minded mates. Dig out all your unwanted stuff – from clothes and jewellery to homewares and pot plants – then set up a stall at your local weekend markets. Most venues will charge a modest fee to stallholders but this is easily offset by sharing the cost with those aforementioned buds. Turning your trash into someone else’s treasure can be suprisingly profitable (make sure you’re open to some haggling) and is also a great excuse to sit somewhere sunny in deckchairs with friends. Extra bonus? You’ll probably declutter your home a wee bit too!
#4 Arrange a cooking bee with buds
Ladies and gentlemen start your slowcookers! Work out which of your friends has the largest kitchen (chopping space will definitely be at a premium) and head over armed with a recipe, tupperware containers and ingredients for one large batch/low cost meal. We’re talking vegetarian chilli, slow-cooked pulled pork or some kind of epic bacon-based soup. ( Over a glass of wine (or two…) everyone cooks their own meal and then portions it out for the other guests to take home. You’ll likely end up with a week’s worth of delicious and different homecooked meals for the cost of one simple recipe.
#5 Start a fruit and veggie co-op
This plan does involve a high level of commitment from you and your mates – but only for maybe one week out of every 8 or so. Organise a group of 8-10 mates who are keen to get access to low-cost fresh produce, then nut out exactly what ‘staples’ you want every week and what the weekly spend will be (say $30 per person for a decent weekly box.) You then take it in turns to head out to your city’s fruit and vegetable wholesaler and take advantage of the cost savings that come from buying fruit and vegies in bulk. Divide that big shop into boxes that your mates then come and pick up. It can be super fun to suprise each other with one really unusual buy each week – and challenge each other to use it in a recipe – dragonfruit crumble anyone? There are also plenty of online options, which can lean towards the pricier end of the scale (those delivery fees) – but if you get a bg box and share with flatmates or friends, you could end up saving some cash and time.
#6 Two words: Adventure club
Like too many millenials I sometimes forget that there is a whole amazing natural world away from my computer/phone screen. My mates and I have been trying to amend this by starting an ‘Adventure Club’ to organise camping trips/bushwalks/snorkelling days/soccer games in the park (yes we’re using Facebook Events to coordinate this one but come on, we’re really trying to de-screen here.) The only criteria is that the activity/adventure must be free and outdoors. Realising you actually adore hiking truly is priceless – and cuts down on those pesky gym fees!
#7 Board game night
If you haven’t gathered with a bunch of your besties and cry-laughed your way through a game of Cards Against Humanity then I am sad for you. Equally, if you haven’t worked out which of your mates is a potential dictator through a round of Risk I fear for you. Boardgames will show off the best and worst traits of your friends, turning a night in into a night of proper personality analysis. Kudos if you actually *play* a round of Mousetrap as I’ve never met anyone who got past the ‘setting up’ stage. It’s a cheap night at home (unless you end up in huge Monopoly debt.)