The more commercialized society gets, the harder it can seem to be social without spending what feels like a fortune. Of course we all want to go out with friends, eat delicious food, and live like YOLO. But, it’s right at these moments when YOLO’s evil twin, FOMO, creeps out it’s ugly head, keeping us from saying, “actually, you know what, I’m gonna have to sit this one out”. Instead, you to reach into your back pocket, pull out that wallet, and before you know it…BOOM! You’re back in that all-too-familiar, dreary black hole known as “broke AF”.
When it comes to avoiding FOMO and a bi-weekly financial beat down, #thestruggleisreal. But, all hope is not lost; there are some sure-fire, not lame solutions to spending fun, quality time with friends without going bankrupt.
Be straight up about your situation
First things first – you’re never going to get ahead in your finances if you keep up the façade that you’ve got all this Kanye money to blow. Even Kanye doesn’t have Kanye money to blow! I get it – not being able to participate in cool, fun activities or purchases like all the food and fashion bloggers on your Instagram feed do really sucks. But, you know what sucks even more? Still having to have a roommate as a grown-ass man with a full-time job because you can’t afford to pay rent on your own. Or, having to keep working that dead end job that you hate just to make ends meet. No amount of latte art is worth the feeling of having to pinch pennies of other pay day eve, and still not be able to make those credit card payments.
If your friends are always wanting to go to expensive hipster “eateries” (aka. restaurants), or gourmet coffee shops, don’t be afraid to raise your voice and let them know that you’re not about that life right now. Trust me, people might be annoyed about it for a second, but in the end, they’ll respect you and wonder how you got the balls to say ‘no’. It can be done, people!
Suggest alternative, less expensive hangs
We all have our YOLO preferences; my personal favourite is going out to eat. Whether that’s a “best kept secret” hole in the wall-type restaurant, or an upscale steak house, my idea of quality time spent with people is around the dinner table – any dinner table. That being said, lately my budget has been razor thin, so I’ve had to suggest less exciting places that my friends and I might dine together. Luckily my friends have been really good sports about this and have agreed to meeting me in food courts, Swiss Chalet, or Tim Hortons. Yes, Tim Hortons! Gasp! (a hipster just dropped dead somewhere in Trinity Bellwoods Park).
If elaborate hangs are simply not in your budget atm (as in, nothing comes out of the ATM when you put your bank card in), then have some less expensive options in the back of your mind that you can kindly suggest to your buddies. And, be sure to tell them exactly why you can’t hit up a $5 per taco spots just yet. Again, if they’re decent folk, they’ll respect you for it.
Revive the lost art of having people over
And last, but certainly not least, HAVE PEOPLE OVER, for God’s sake! Growing up, I don’t remember a Summer weekend where my Dad wasn’t behind the grill, beer in one hand, spatula in the other, waiting for his buddies to arrive with their families. My parents rarely ever went out for dinners with their friends. Perhaps having people over was just easier, given that all their friends had small kids as well, but I remember loving having a house full of fun, laughter, and the smell of grilled meat wafting through the air.
It might just be that I myself am rarely invited over, but I’ve noticed less and less of people actually opening their homes to entertain, feed, and spend time with friends; hanging out usually involves meeting some place downtown. Granted, cleaning and setting up your place for company is usually the last thing anyone wants to do on a Saturday or a weeknight, let alone prepare home-cooked food for a bunch of people. But, you gotta admit, nothing beats the intimacy and connection that’s found around a home dining table. And, of course, this is by far a much more affordable option for those of us who can get pretty creative with whatever’s in the pantry (Ramen noodles, anyone?),
Being broke AF should never be a lifestyle; at most, it should be just a temporary season in life. Be diligent about keeping an eye on your spending habits – it you’re finding that FOMO is burning a hole in your wallet, make the tough choice to say ‘no’ to yourself, ‘no’ to expensive hangs, and ‘yes’ to more affordable, less Instagram-able options. Not forever, but long enough that you can make it two weeks with more than $5 left to your name at the end of it.
Here’s to boycotting expensive hipster food joints on account of them rarely tasting as good as they look…