If you’re a parent on a budget, you may feel your social life is a luxury of the past. But with a little creative thinking you can find a brand new approach that works just as well.
First and foremost, give yourself time without the kids. Ask your most trusted friends and family to babysit, and make sure you return the favour by doing something they’d appreciate: babysitting back, doing some gardening or baking them a cake.
Reliable, happy-to-do-it, free babysitters are crucial to a social life on a budget!
Next, remember you’re not the only one: if you spell out to people that you’re on a tight budget they are often very helpful and you can make some great savings.
You can also ask for social life experiences, such as theatre tickets, for Christmas or birthday gifts as another option to keeping your social life ticking.
When you start to think outside the box, you’ll find all sorts of budget socialising ideas that suit your lifestyle, but here are a few to get you started:
1. Home dining
Having a meal out with friends is a lovely way to spend the evening but it’s really all about good food and company. You can replicate this at home.
Invite a few good friends for dinner, ask one to bring a bottle and one to bring desert. Cook up a big lasagne or bowl of pasta that everyone will love to tuck in to.
You’ll have just as much fun and no taxi to pay for at the end of the night.
2. Coffee alternatives
Meeting friends for coffee and cake is another lovely treat but why not try replacing it with a walk in the park and a flask of hot chocolate to share on a picnic blanket?
Better for your pocket, lovely fresh air and still plenty of chance to have a good chat and a sweet treat.
3. Movie nights in
If you love the cinema for date night, try asking your friends what DVDs they have. Low lights, some home-made popcorn and a new- to-you DVD can be just as much fun.
4. Fitness partners
Hitting the gym may be a social life no-go area these days but that doesn’t mean to say this area of your life has to completely fall by the wayside.
Keeping fit is critical to being happy and healthy and sharing this with friends makes it all the more fun.
It’s worth checking out what classes your local leisure centre and church hall offer and think about signing yourself up.
There are other options – like power walking with a friend – that are totally free, as well as cycling, a fitness DVD or even a jog.
The key is to make a regular commitment and have reliable friends to do this with.
5. Activity deals
If you used to enjoy fairly expensive activities such as white water rafting, going to the theatre or visiting a spa, you may feel that now you’re on a budget these are a thing of the past.
If you want to keep them as an occasional treat you need to be dynamic. It’s well worth calling up venues to ask if there is away to get a reduction on events if you book in advance, last minute, in a group, or at a particular time of day.