Lisa Dudson: Is money affecting your social life?

I had yet another client this week, who in their words described their social life as non-existent.   Are you someone who stays at home because you feel you don’t have enough money to go out?

From one perspective, it’s great that you are being financially prudent and you are not spending money you may not have by going out.  For many people, when money is tight they go the opposite way and keep spending what they don’t have and go further and further into debt.  This can make you feel great in the short-term - ignorance is bliss!   But of course long-term there are significant consequences that at some point will need to be dealt with.

From another perspective, staying at home and not doing things that you want can lead to other issues, mainly stress.   I have found that couples tend to fight a lot more.  I would imagine partly due to arguing about money and partly because they are under each others' feet all the time and suffering from a bit of cabin fever.

Maybe there is a middle ground.  Changing your mindset can make a difference.  Our default thinking is often “I shouldn’t spend.” “I can’t afford it.”  “Its too expensive.” Etc.  This can be a very negative way of thinking.  Change your thinking to “How can I afford it?”  “Can I do it differently?”  Is there another way to do the activity without costing so much?” 

For example if someone asks if you want to go out for dinner and you either don’t have the money available or choose to use your money somewhere else, an option could be inviting them around for a pot luck dinner.  A friend said they had gone to a dinner recently where each of the three couples did a course where they had to spend a maximum of $15 and they had tell the others what they had done.

Often we feel embarrassed because we don’t have the money.  I would expect that if you told your friends that money was tight for you and/or you were saving for something they would be very supportive of your decision and would be open to finding  alternative cost-effective options.  If they weren’t supportive you would have to wonder how good a friend they actually were!  You might even be surprised how much of a relief it might be for them to find a cheaper option.
 
If limited money is affecting your social life, get creative and change your thinking from “I can’t” to  “how can I?” and see what alternatives you can come up with.

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