Slowly but surely, we are headed in the right direction to getting back on track with our normal lives. The weather is warming up, COVID restrictions are being relaxed, and people are being vaccinated – just in time for those summer events to start picking up.
Whether it be a family gathering or adult outing, the costs can add up pretty quickly if you’re not prepared. Plenty of resources online offer advice about throwing events affordably, but very few discuss how to not break the bank attending these events. This week, I’m sharing my go-to cheat sheet on how to save money on your outings this summer.
Share a meal
Dinner parties are officially back and if you’re like us when we go out, we really try not to have a bunch of leftovers, get uncomfortably full or end up with a huge bill.
As long as neither of us are overly hungry, we will typically end up splitting something, which keeps us satisfied and saves money as well. This is actually a bonus tip because it encourages portion control if you’re watching your food intake, while saving you money. This could be an especially helpful tip if you have children.
Many kids won’t make it through an entire meal, so save yourself the waste (and money) and have them share something. This makes a night out way more financially reasonable. This sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been with a group and I see people leave plates of partially eaten meals. It makes so much sense.
Become a dollar store regular
The Dollar Store is my go-to place for birthday party, housewarming or host gifts. They sell very cute bags and wrapping paper, as well as little gifts and goodies you’d never know were from a Dollar Store. In fact, when shopping for Easter basket items last April, I visited the Dollar Store and big-box store in the same night to do a comparison. The items for sale were eerily similar at both locations, but with very different price tags. If you’re headed to an event and need a gift of any kind, a Dollar Store should be your first stop. You never know what they might have.
Skip the full occasion
It is becoming more and more normal for people to throw two-part events. A lot of events these days will consist of dinner then some sort of after party at another destination.
If I don’t have the budget to splurge, I break it up and attend one or the other. Some people do this simply because their schedules are busy, but I do it to avoid killing my social activities budget in one day. And I always end up having a nice time regardless.
If it does not make sense with your budget, do not stress yourself out trying to attend both parts of an event.
At the heart of the matter, events are for connecting and spending time with your friends and loved ones, which is so important after the year we have had. Believe me, nobody will mind, or likely even notice, if you take a few measures to cut your costs. I’m guessing they would much rather just see you at their event.
Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.