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I'm so glad to see such a response to this thread, as it is a discussion people like to steer around and instead, list off ways to do things cheap or free without actual discussion on the barriers it all creates. I respect and appreciate all the sharing and different perspectives.
When I read the thread, I hear many ways people are rising above the barriers and manage to get out of the house. Even if its not exactly the way we want it to be - like myself. I am a social person. I do not like being at home and I'm not content to just hang out with a committee for a night. I want more. It's me. I'm the one who organized many events with my friends, then the circles changed, changed and I am where I am now. The way I see it is this - right now the money is tight and I choose to pay off the debt load, not use my credit card (except when necessary) and get out from under this rock. I know that once I'm debt free I will have more avaiable cash to save up for what I really want to be doing and I'll have more doors open to me.
I talked this over with my bff. She is my opposite. She'd stay home and quilt all day if she was able to and never grow bored. Me, I'd be twitching after a hour. She prefers 1-2 friends at a time. I prefer 1-2 friends to hang with and also enjoy the large crowds, the going out and such. We plan to retire together and laugh on how we'll probably end up balancing each other out. At the same time, I know she'll spend her money more on her quilting and crafts, while I'll focus more on travelling and being out in the community. As you said Linda, its all in where you lay your priorities.
Some members mentioned staying home and having people come in, which can be such a blast. Like holding a potluck - we used to do that up north all the time. We'd yell out across the compound "bbq at so-so's house" and in minutes people would be coming over, bringing food, drinks and games. (I miss that)
Or taking turns, I grew up in a community that did that - they'd go house to house in the winter, each taking a turn to host a gathering. Always simple. In the summer we'd gather at the community hall or local river, bring food, games, music, play ball etc.
So if you are able to do that, its definitely great fun.
Some members mentioned friends pushing to do the costly activities or not coming over because either the host feels the home isn't up to snuff or the friends feel it won't be enough. I hear you all on that. It reminds me of a Friends episode where they always went out, then 3 got together and realized they didn't have the cash to pay for all the parties and dinners. When it was brought up, feelings were hurt, there were misunderstandings and as all sitcoms do, it was sorted out by the end of the show. *grin* It's true though - friends that can afford will push to do those costly activities. What I've found is that I suck it in and say "I simply can't afford this." And then, try to figure out something different to do. The sad/hard part is, sometimes one loses friends and what I've learned is that these truly aren't friends.
Membership costs, those can really bite and I understand how that can hold back a person from participating. As I shared, if that happens, speak up. My bff wasn't going to say a thing, then her sons' cub leader said "I know you are a single parent, are you aware that we have funding to assist in the costs?" It was all done quietly and respectfully. Or as I shared in a post, I spoke up and discovered there was funding to cover my expenses, if I wasn't able to spend the money. Right now the economy is such that most people understand and do respect; they'll always be the odd few that won't.
Sandy, thanks for the sharing of what works well for you. As much as we talk through the barriers, we also need those tips on inexpensive ways to be out.
The other issue is health and fitness. If I had the cash, I would go to the Hills Health Ranch and get my body back into balance. Its like a need a "reboot". It's not something I can do on my own, as I need the medical supervision due to the medications I'm on for the autoimmune diseases. I do not trust the NDS in this area and it costs money to get out, to go somewhere with a solid reputation. Plus, anything that isn't prescribed comes out of my pocket and I cannot afford it.
The gym - its around $75 per month to go into a basement and work alone. As my chiropractor said, it makes more sense to save up and purchase the equipment than go to the gym. If I had the cash though, I'd hire a personal trainer. Then it would make sense. In a city, there are choices in gyms and there would be a pool. Here we are very limited. Even walking right now is hard as its been -40C/F up to -28C. Without wind, -28C isn't bad, just bundle up...still it would be nice to have the option to work out indoors until it warmed up.
Anyhow, great interesting posts. I look forward to more reading.
Team Leader: Debt Haven
Team Leader: 100% Single, No Children
It's great to see so much response and different ideas on how to be social without spending a lot of money. Great thread, SASSI!
I think everyone is different & their spending habits/priorities are different. You only have so much money coming in each month & it's up to you how you spend it. My daughter is a social butterfly and the majority of her wages goes toward having fun (the bars, restaurants, casinos, etc). I, on the other hand have a lot of bills to pay and have to watch every penny. For social activities, I do bowl one night a week on a ladies league during the Fall months and I play Bunco one night a month, year round. The rest of my social life consist of a landlord group that meets once a month and our community center that I enjoy with the fitness equipment, inside walking trail & inside pool. I do some volunteer work for the local high school. All these activities do cost money but all are pretty inexpensive and I do budget them into my wages and if I can't afford it I don't do it. A recent example would be the city bowling tournament. The entrance fee had risen to $60.00 per bowler. I told them No Thanks! I'm also an avid reader and a frequent visitor to the local library. I did purchase "The Spark" for the low cost of $12.00. So, Yes..I think your choices on how you choose to spend your money can affect your social life.
Make this a Healthy Choice Day!
I agree that money is almost essential for a social life. BUT - I think that you can figure out ways to make life a little less expensive.
For instance - invite friends over, instead of going out (and hope that they reciprocate!).
Most of my social life revolves around volunteering, but hey, it gets me out. I'm on the board of a credit union & a community center, plus my church council. When any of those organizations have an event, I volunteer to help, since then I usually get there before the "cover charge" register opens! And even though I also help with food by bringing a dish, we always have leftovers that I'm more than willing to bring home.
Central time zone
I so agree that it's really hard to have a social life without money.
One girl blew me off on New Year's eve (actually an old "friend" of mine from college, who is also on this site). I invited her for dinner + movie a week before and on New Year's morning she texts me with the lamest excuse that she's not coming. Why? I'm sure she found something more fun to do. Well I didn't even plan to go to a party/concert because everyone knows those things are costly. And not to forget the clothes. Another friend who lives in Boston wanted to go skiing with me but I had to make it look like it's not worth going because I just don't have the money for the cheapest ski and stay package that costs $100 a day.
As for meeting new people...I love horse riding and would love to join the local club, getting exercise and meeting new people. Another thing I would like to do is take voice lessons and join a choir but it all costs. Same goes for joining a food coop. And then there are dating sites, but how many first dates can you go on when the guy pays? Eventually you need to buy a few drinks or share the dinner bill.
Yes I do volunteer, and have thought of joining a book club. There is none however in my local library so I would have to drive to another town. I've even thought of becoming a museum member (but that is another membership) or taking craft classes. I'm not the type to go to a bar by myself or chat someone up at the grocery store, besides those people like to drink which I can't do because I'm on medication. The gym - I do have a membership and do go but haven't met anybody so far, just like you Sassi.
The people in my medical class are all way older than me, and it is very nice to talk to them and spend time with them during class, but I don't see myself doing that after. I only hope to get a job after this have things fall into place because I think some of it may be just about taking a risk, stepping outside of your comfort zone, but I for one have not found many people like I've met on SP in real life. So to hang out with the not-so-close people you need to keep at a distance you really need money...that is how I feel.
"You were once wild here. Don't let them tame you." - Isadora Duncan
"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!" - Les Brown
I really appreciate the honest sharing of how money fits into our lives - thank-you both for being so upfront with this conversation. Often people want to skirt the issue, so it's great to have a team where people are willing to talk it out.
Kim, that's cool about the park and taking those courses. I think that would be very interesting and it's great you are able to do that. I hear you on how it may not contribute to a busy social life, however, in my mind when one is out and about that's better than staying home to count ceiling tiles. *g*
I also hear you on time. I used to have to deal with shift work and juggling it around. What I found the most difficult was doing casual as I never knew what my schedule would be.
FloridaGirl, I hear you on the frustrations when you cannot go out with friends due to the costs. Sounds like that situation with your friends was a bit frustrating anyhow, with attending the party where the buddies didn't show - then still expected to fork over more when they showed up. I've had to tell friends the same thing - cannot afford it, so let's figure something that won't cost as much. And since my friends are all tight with cash too, it usually works out.
I sure get frustrated on the costs of memberships. I am a member of Trefoil (basically grown-up Girl Guides) and the registration fee is now up to $50 per year. One year I was sweating bullets because I really didn't know if I'd have the cash. I was embarrassed but did mention it. People were really understanding and by bringing it up, I found out that there are special exceptions for those that cannot afford the costs. I didn't apply for funding, I did ask for an extension and I was able to pay the fee. We also do as much as we can without cost - such as all the volunteer things we create is made by donated items. I went to camp this May and we split the gas, plus the camp was cheap, only $25 for the weekend. When we do potluck, we only bring what we can afford, and since there are only 6 of us, its not that much.
I'm surprised at your book club. Isn't there a way that the library can bring in more copies? Our library gets a list of books ahead of time, then the librarian orders them just before the date and everyone has a copy. I quit because I do volunteer work on Tuesday nights and they didn't want to change the night.
I find it frustrating because if I had the cash, I'd have a better set-up for camping, plus would be able to camp more. Costs have really increased, so even camping at a provincial park can be really expensive now. Luckily I usually find parks for $15 per night, some go for $25-30 per night. It sounds fine until you add up a week in the park - then it really adds up. I usually buy my food close to the park, as I travel prior to the camping, so that cost depends on the store. Last summer I purchased my food in the north, so that automatically increased the bill 2x. I also have to purchase ice, which last summer was a high bill due to the extreme heat. (as I tent, so use a cooler) Add in the high cost of gas and it makes what used to be a fairly inexpensive acitvity, quite a lot of money. Still, I save and make it work. Just frustrating though. I know with the change in gas I don't travel like I used to, as I can't afford the gas. I do maintain my car though, so that really helps as it is very good on gas.
My friends all live out of this area, so I know that money is a barrier to seeing them. Especially a close friend that lives up the Sunshine Coast. It's a 1100kms trip down south, then 2 ferry rides to her home. The ferries have quadupled their rates over the past couple years, so it is very expensive to get over to her. I usually get to Vancouver, then bus into the town. I used to fly but the costs are crazy - all the taxes, the enviromental fees, the gas tax, handling tax, ARGH! At least when I do get there, the things we do are generally inexpensive as its a gorgeous area to hike. Still, one time we went to the Island and went shopping. Just the ferry ride over was $110! For 20min!! Crazy.
I'm not crazy on gyms to begin with, so even if I had the cash, I don't think I would go to this gym. They separated the gyms, so the men have the upstairs and the women have the basement. I HATE the basement. It's small, crowded and dark. I feel claustrophobic there. If I had the cash, I'd get a treadmill or a bike that was properly set just for my specifications - for my home.
I'm really good at sniffing out free or close to free for activities, however, in this area that is rare and far between. Usually when I hit a city to visit friends, we can sniff out free things that are happening.
For me, money definitely shapes my activities and my ability to be out and about. It shapes my health as groceries are expensive and anything healthy is more than unhealthy.
Last, if I had the money I'd go down to a health ranch and stay for a month - do their health program. That's my dream. :)
Team Leader: Debt Haven
Team Leader: 100% Single, No Children
Money is always on my mind when we want to do something!
There is a place that offers free bowling for 2 hours each week, but I would need to buy bowling shoes ($40-$60) to avoid the continued $5 rental fee and it's not very close to us so $5+ in gas.
A book club is great except the cost of a book as the leaders of the club(s) tend to snag the library loans first.
The gym I currently go to consists of woman over 60 (it's a rehab gym- I had a car accident in April) & they have plenty of time & money & I'm 33 & not invited. LOL
We have reconnected recently with a lady I worked with YEARS ago & her boyfriend invited my husband over for game night. After, he had a NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting where he would be getting a new pin for being clean 3 years. When they mentioned going out to celebrate for food after the meeting (right after mentioning to make sure everyone had money for a donation- for meeting costs), my husband politely declined. Apparently the guy was hurt that we didn't want to go to his "ceremony." We did however go to his party the night before, which we made food to bring, & stayed the whole night when his NA buddies bailed out early or didn't bother to show up at all. We politely explained early in the week that we were on a very tight budget because we were living off my unemployment alone (about a 7th of what we brought in before) & were already dipping into our tight savings.
We are dictated by money every day. One day we would like to retire & so even when we have more money, we don't live above our basics by very much.
We have a hard time having people over because we don't live "well" & going out can be an entire month's bill (water/ electric/...) for two of us to eat out, see a movie & go for "drinks."
We have a lot of meetup groups (meetup.com) in our area, but very few are of cheap things to do (game night) & most require a membership fee per person ($20 a year) which doesn't guarantee that the leader of the group will plan anything that everyone wants to do or can even attend price wise or scheduling wise.
People want to get out of the house, not stay in. Unfortunately!
-Michelle in FL
Money has stopped me from going out with my friends to see a local band that we enjoy. Also the day they usual play, Friday, I can't go because I work nights. My social life has practically been non-existent this past year.
I would love to join a gym, but I have been putting that off to see where my finances are and if I can fit it in. Now I still may put it off to see where my interview leads me...if I get the job, I don't know if I will have time because I will have along commute. As far as exercising, I do it at home with dvds that I have so right now it isn't costing me a penny..well except for using electricity! I don't really expect to make friends at the gym, but this is a very small gym so you never know. I only see people would be more interested in concentrating on their workouts, not socializing.
Sure there are things that I would like to do that cost money and I will have to wait for some other time to do them. I have found that through our metroparks, they do offer events that are mostly free or for just a few dollars. I signed up for a bird walk, a talk on peregrine falcons, and a class to become a volunteer nature guide. I am also considered the class on maple sugaring in the early spring. These are my interest and I am hoping that maybe I can make a few friends in the meantime, but I doubt it because they are only 1 day events. The good thing about these for me, they are in the mornings and mostly weekends, so I can participate. Most other things are in the evenings during the week that I miss out on. I really would like to join the community's garden club, but again the meetings are in the evening.
Birdwatchers Team Leader,
Love All Dogs, but partial to Cocker Spaniels...! Spaniel Lovers Team
Tonight I read a blog from one of the coaches and in it, there was a resolution regarding improving and growing one's social life. Every idea that the blogger made as a means to increase the social life involved money. It also involved the gym and yoga classes. Now I don't know about you, myself, when I took yoga class it wasn't to chatter with the folks in the class and when I used to go to the gym, I focused on working out and not sipping water while making nice with others in the gym. I suppose after a yoga class one could approach another and say "hey you wanna go out sometime and hike the hills?" What I found though was people packed up, made nice and went home. As for the gym, jocks talked with jocks, some flirted and the majority worked out. It really wasn't a place to be social. Beyond all that, its the money issue. Probably for this particular blogger money isn't an issue, however, as we know it is for many of us. There was one social activity that didn't cost, that was a weekly book club. Otherwise, all the suggestions meant forking over the mola. It had me wondering about the power of money, the hold that it has on all of us. It had me wondering does it create barriers or remove barriers? Or is it a mix of both.
Does money hold you back from participating in different activities? Are there things you would do right now to improve your health and/or social life if you had the cash to do those things? Are there things you do right now that you really enjoy, yet tend to place you into debt? Do you feel money is a barrier to becoming healthy and social OR is money simply a tool, one that is necessary at times, not necessary all the time?
What do you do to move through the barriers created by lack of funds?
Any suggestions on social, fitness or health activities or such that you do, which either cost minimal or zero?
We all know the typical - borrow books from the library, go for a walk, volunterr. There are many other social activities out there though that to participate in, one needs cash. Do you go to the gym or have you had to stop due to lack of funds? How do you move through that barrier?
Yeah lots of questions. Don't feel the need to answer them all. It's simply a way to generate conversation on the topic of money and how it affects our lives. Love to hear your thoughts on this, lets really get this board rockin'. :D
Team Leader: Debt Haven
Team Leader: 100% Single, No Children