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Last Updated April 4, 2020

Are you afraid that living on a budget means you have to cut out all the fun or having a social life? A lot of people say they have a hard time sticking to their budget because they just can’t say no when friends invite them out. Find out how you can have a social life, have fun and still save money—all while living on a budget.

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How To Still Have Fun While Living On A Budget?

First, you have to change the way you think about living on a budget. If you feel like your budget is restrictive and no fun, then you’re definitely NOT going to stick with it. You have to look at your budget as a spending plan. It’s just you telling your money where to go—and you can definitely send some of your money to the “fun” category.

The reality is you can’t do everything all at once, or afford the same lifestyle as some of your family or friends. But you can still have fun and get out of debt if you budget correctly. So, here’s how to have fun and still have a social life while living on a budget:

1. Plan For Your Fun Activities

Your budget is a spending plan where you tell your money where to go. You can allocate some of your money to fun things you know you like to do.

For example, in my budget, I have a section for entertainment and travel. Those are the two areas in my life I LOVE and enjoy the most. Because I know this, I make sure I allocate some of my money every month to those things.

Trip to Dubai living on a budget
My mom, sister, and I on vacation in Dubai

So if you’re the same way, you can make a plan that looks something like:

  • I will spend $150 this month on dining out with friends.
  • I can spend $50 this month on clubs and bar hopping.
  • I can afford to spend $1,200 this year on vacations. So I will put aside $100 every month.
  • I will spend $200 this month on anything related to entertainment

Planning for these things ahead of time, allows you to make a plan and still enjoy the things you love. You can have fun with your friends, and have enough money left over to put towards your financial goals.

Use this FREE Monthly Budget Printable if you’re just getting started with making a budget.

free budget categories checklist

If you have a budget, but you’re ready to take it to the next level, I recommend you use my Budget Templates.  It’s the system I currently use when budgeting, and it has helped me save over 50% of my income every month.  It’s very detailed and will help you make sure no spending category gets forgotten about.

Monthly Budget Template
My Monthly Budget Template

If you want to know step-by-step exactly how I use my household budget spreadsheet to manage my money you can read this detailed article “How To Use A Monthly and Yearly Household Budget Spreadsheet.”

2. Learn To Say “No”

Woman laying in bed with covers over her face (living on a budget)

When living on a budget, you need to say “no” sometimes. Once the money you planned to use for fun runs out, you have to decline invitations. No one is responsible for your future but you. No one is going to pay your bills or save for your financial goals but you.

So if you can’t afford to do something, you have to learn to say no. Your true friends will understand and support your decision.

I know it’s hard to say “no” to the upcoming Beyoncé concert (actually VERY hard to say no), but you need your money more than Beyoncé does. Don’t let the fear of missing out ruin your goals of financial freedom. There will always be another Beyoncé concert or girls trip.

Focus on what’s more important…and that’s reaching your financial goals.

Living on a budget

If you feel like the fear of missing out is getting the best of you, take a break from social media and everyone around you that’s putting you in this mindset. Keeping up with the Joneses is a budget killer. Give yourself a break from those things that make you feel like you just HAVE to have that new bag or take that exotic trip.

Also, stop caring about what other people think of you. A lot of the time, we find it hard to tell people “no” because we don’t want them to think we’re cheap, or worse broke. If you’re constantly trying to keep up with everyone because you want to appear rich, you’re killing your financial future.

You will always BE broke if you don’t get your financial priorities in order.

I get it, I was the same way! I bought all types of material things to impress people and to show my legal clients that I was a successful lawyer. And in a way, sometimes it’s necessary (no one wants to hire a lawyer that looks homeless…that must mean you’re not very good at your job, right?)—but I was taking it too far.

Having a BMW just to drive on the weekends wasn’t necessary. I sold that car. Now I walk, take the train, or an Uber wherever I go. Of course, a lot of people questioned my decision, but I don’t care what people think of me.

650xi BMW
My BMW that I sold

They’re not paying any of my bills, and I know I’m doing what’s best for me. You have to have this same mindset and confidence. Don’t get pressured into doing things just because your peers are doing it too.

3. Have Cheaper Alternatives

Sometimes you might be tired of constantly saying “no” to friend’s invitation to do stuff. So I suggest offering a less pricey alternative so you can still have fun while living on a budget.

If your friends invite you to a movie, suggest a matinee. Can’t afford a Caribbean vacation, suggest a quick trip to Miami. Money getting low for dining out? Say “Let’s do brunch instead of dinner on Saturday.” Or can’t afford to go out clubbing tonight, offer to host a game night.

When you offer a cheaper alternative, it lets your friends know although you can’t participate in what they invited you to do, you still want to spend time with them. Offering an alternative makes it easier to maintain your social life on a budget.

4. Hang Out With Likeminded Friends

Circle of Friends living on a budget

As millennials, the biggest influence on our spending habits is often our friends. If you hang out with likeminded friends that are trying to be frugal too, you will almost always spend less.

My best friend and I are on the same wavelength. I know she’s saving for a house (and I’m always saving for something…lol) so we both don’t have the desire to go out and blow a lot of money.

We’re okay with enjoying each other’s company going to the beach, watching a movie on Netflix, or going to a lounge where women are free before a certain time (and best believe we get there before that time so we get in free).

Now, I’m not saying you have to get rid of all your friends; but you should hang out with people who respect your financial goals, and has goals of their own. This way you can find ways to still hang out together that doesn’t break the budget.

There’s absolutely no shame in letting your friends know your financial goals, and hopefully, they have plans to become financially free too!

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You can still have fun while living on a budget. Just make sure you plan for the things you enjoy doing. If you need help setting up a budget fast try my FREE Budget Binder. It will help you set up a budget and organize your money.

If you spent all of the money you planned to use for fun, you have to learn how to say “no” until you have more money next month. Also, offer cheaper alternatives to your friends so they don’t feel like you’re telling them “no” because you don’t want to spend time with them.

Finally, hang out with likeminded people. They will respect your financial goals, and probably don’t mind having a social life on a budget.

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