With today’s economy, it is no secret that times are tough and it is even more difficult to stretch a dollar these days than it used to be. You don’t need to be rich in order to maintain the “richness” among your relationships. Read on for ways on how to keep your relationships, without having to break the bank:
- With your date: Find a bowling alley that offers discount nights and fill up on food prior to going so you won’t be tempted (or desperate enough) to purchase nachos or a hot dog while at the alley. Get tickets to a Sunday day baseball game— tickets can be as cheap as $7 and with a hat and some sunscreen, you will be well on your way to a great, cheap date! Make dinner at home and rent a DVD. Make a game of going through your refrigerator and finding out what leftovers you can put together to create a meal. Myfridgefood.com is an excellent tool where you plug in ingredients you already have in your refrigerator and it creates recipes based on the given ingredients.
- With another couple or a group of people: Plan a progressive dinner for the people on your block-decide which households will provide main courses, which will provide appetizers and salads and so on. It is a great way to get to know your neighbors, while also getting to sample many different menu items. The last house should provide dessert, after dinner drinks and coffee. It is also fun to see how your neighbors decorate the interior of their homes! You could also plan a dinner party with a group of close friends. Up the ante by designating a theme-say Italian, and have everyone bring a different Italian dish. The host could serve bottles of an inexpensive Italian wine such as Prosecco and for dessert, biscotti or tiramisu. Set a maximum cost for each couple to spend so one couple doesn’t spend an inordinate amount of money and then feels slighted. Another great idea is to invite another couple over for game night. Set the time for later in the evening; say 8:00, so dinner won’t be expected. You can serve small appetizers and make a big batch of margaritas. This will recoup the cost of serving individual drinks and will prevent interruptions by not having to get up for constant refills. There are many games available for adults now, from Scattergories to Taboo, that will provide many hours of entertainment for not a lot of money.
- With your girlfriends: Most restaurants and bars have happy hour nowadays with everything from “Taco Tuesday,” to “Wednesday Wine Night,” to “Ladies Night.” A little research of your local watering holes may provide some enlightening information and a way to obtain some good, clean fun for cheap. Another thing you can do is plan a walking date with your girlfriends. Grab your dogs and head out for a long walk on a sunny day. Afterwards, go to a dog friendly outdoor cafe for a latte or a glass of wine. Plan a clothes swap party. Invite about 10 girlfriends over, all shapes and sizes. Have them each bring between 4 and 5 items of clothing (and/or shoes) that they no longer have a need for, but are still in good condition. To increase the cost-saving factor, have each friend bring either an appetizer or a bottle of wine. At the end of the night, every one will be able to walk away with a few new items and hopefully will have had a great time! Of course, any leftover items could be donated to a favorite charity or needy shelter.
People understand that not everyone’s bank account looks like Donald Trump’s. The idea is to be able to regularly see the people in your life that make you happy, but not go broke doing so. With a little research and some creativity, you can have a lot of fun, even on a small budget.