I’m broke. I mean, I’m obviously not *actually* broke, because I earn a decent salary and I have a nice house and I go on lovely weekends away, so I really shouldn’t be allowed to complain. But I have no spare cash month-to-month, I have no savings and I have a lot of credit card debt.
I know I’m not alone. Many of my friends are in similar positions, spending money they don’t have and wondering when they will start budgeting like grown ups are supposed to.
The problem is that we live in a world of the internet. (Actually, the problem is that I have no self control, but after that, I blame the internet.) It’s easy to buy things at the click of a button, it’s easy to kill time browsing through pages and pages of things you don’t need, and Pinterest alone creates an unobtainable world that pushes envy and lust to a whole new level.
In fact, my Pinterest boards are basically an advert for the life I wished I live. Perfect clothes, hair, home, food and beauty – all of which need money I don’t have and, even then, I know there would always be something new to aspire to.
But try as I might, even when I think I’ve got this whole saving malarkey sorted, there’s always something going on which requires money. And, apparently, the phrase “sorry, I can’t afford it” just isn’t acceptable. The hen do, the baby shower, the wedding, the 30th birthday, the weekend away, the brunch, the dinner… if you say you can’t afford it, your friends assume you’re being a bitch. Being sociable seems to equate to being poor.
I need to save money, but I don’t want to check out of my friendships for a year. So, how do I do both? Here are my top 5 things to do for free.
1. Tea and cake at home
Instead of going out for lunch or dinner, invite friends over for tea and cake to catch up at home. It’s even better if you (or *ahem* someone in your house) can bake a delicious cake for the occasion.
2. Games night
Save money by inviting friends over for games night. Everyone can bring a bottle and you can spend the night in with a little bit of friendly competition.
3. Read more
When I think of how to spend my free weekend, it often involves ‘doing something’ or ‘going somewhere’, but why not curl up with a cuppa and a good book? It’s good for those less physical as well, and a great way to relax.
4. Free museums and galleries
Going out and doing something doesn’t have to cost money. Meet friends at your favourite museum or gallery and spend the afternoon catching up surrounded by culture.
5. Bring the holiday to the house
A few weeks ago, a group of friends and I decided to go to Paris. We got all excited and picked dates, then realised we couldn’t actually afford to go to Paris. Instead, we’re bringing Paris to my house in a couple of weeks; croissants, baguettes, cheese, wine, striped tops, hell – maybe even a beret or two.
Happy saving, folks.