How to Have Fun While in Debt

how to have fun while in debtOne of the toughest parts about getting out of debt is having to miss out on social events. Socializing can be very expensive depending on what you choose to do. My husband’s best friend is getting married next weekend. This past weekend was the bachelor party and a stark reminder about how expensive socializing can be. Today we will look at ways to have fun while in debt.

Redefining Your Social Life

A few years ago there was a big shift in our definition of socialization. I don’t know if we hit a maturity milestone with marriage or were just too broke to continue on the life we had been living but how we chose to make fun changed. We no longer hit up the local pub for weekly wing night, spent our weekends at the pub or dance bar and instead started spending more time at home and with friends and family. We found new ways to have fun while in debt.

Read more from Catherine on How To Manage Debt In Your Marriage

Redefining your social life doesn’t mean sucking all the fun out of your life. It does mean creativity and experimentation though. You can still have fun while in debt. If you’re in debt and working on a budget it is still imperative you create an entertainment or social category. Humans by nature like to interact and you will burn out of your efforts a lot faster if you don’t allow yourself some fun. Set a budget then determine what you can afford.

How to Have Fun While in Debt

Here are a few ideas for the people who are wanting to save money, but have fun while in debt. It doesn’t include locking yourself in a closet until your credit cards are paid off either.

1. Eat Together

Everyone has to eat. Plan a dinner, lunch, BBQ, brunch, to host. You can prepare the whole meal yourself plan for a potluck style meal to be served. Same goes for booze. If you chose to make this an alcohol containing event, set a limit to what you will provide (if at all). If you’re hosting a nice dinner, a bottle or two of wine to share may be within your budget and if guests want more they can bring their own. I personally never go to an event expecting alcohol to be provided. If it is, great, but I always come prepared with my own (if drinking at all).

2. Games

One of our favorite ways to have fun while in debt is to partake in game-nights. Sometimes it’s my sister-in-law and her boyfriend over for an evening of snacks, drinks and cards while other evenings we have 10 people in our basement for a fun game of Cards Against Humanity. If you have yet to discover a good game for a larger crowd and need recommendations I suggest these crowd-pleasers:

  • Apples-to-Apples
  • Cards Against Humanity (leave the grandparents out of this one)
  • Cranium
  • The Game of Things
  • The Man Game

3. Free (or near free) Events

This can include everything from a local Busker festival, going for a hike followed by a picnic or spending a budget friendly weekend camping. This will totally depend on what you enjoy doing, but research ideas and events. Last summer money was especially tight with me just having a baby, still wanting to spend time with family in town, we opted to spend the day walking around our waterfront observing the tall ships that were docked followed by a cheap lunch at a local patio which we had a BOGO coupon for.

4. Coupon

Don’t be afraid to use coupons! While I feel like the coupon stigma is slightly lessening given the vast majority of them I remind you to not be ashamed to use them. Especially if you’re looking for cheap ways to have fun while in debt! There are often printed or online coupons for BOGO meals, BOGO movie nights or dollars off certain ticked events. Check your local paper and online resources (such as Groupon).

Here’s how to use an online coupon site.

5. Capitalize on Rewards

If you save credit card rewards or collect store points, this is a perfect time to cash some out. Of the rewards we collect, one system in particular offers a pretty good movie package so every few months we cash out one to two coupons for a movie night out (the reward includes two adult tickets, popcorn and pop). Cashing out for gift certificates is another great way to save to buy something you want or go ‘shopping’.

There are a great number of ways to still have fun while in debt, socialize and be with friends and family, it just requires some planning and creativity. Getting out of debt is an entire lifestyle change. If spending a lot of money on social events was a component to you getting in debt, it should go without saying things need to change.

STOP filling yourself with anxiety about debt! Click here and read this on How To Avoid Money Anxiety.

How do/did you have fun while getting out of debt?

[Featured image courtesy of http://dribbble.com/jambee]

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About Catherine MacLean

Comments

  1. This is a great post. Many years ago I bought a projector and a screen (it was originally intended for playing games on a big screen), and our family now watch movies projected on a big screen like in a movie theater in our living room. We rent in red box or at amazon (free movies) and eat popcorn (kids) and have fun and for free.

    Also I would like to thank you. Either you or someone from your blog just visited my blog. Thanks for stopping by and or linking to my blog! I really appreciate it.

  2. You have made some great points here. More often than not people get so bogged down by their financial conditions that they take it for granted that if you are in debt, you can’t afford to do certain things. Thanks for coming up a new perspective to enjoying social life. One line in particular that I would like to quote from your post is “Humans by nature like to interact and you will burn out of your efforts a lot faster if you don’t allow yourself some fun.” From my personal experiences, I totally agree with you on this.

    • It’s true, not only that if you don’t let your hair down a little you’ll just start resenting your debt more than you already do which could potentially harm your genuine efforts.

  3. Without fun, you’ll definitely burn out. Debt repayment can be a long road, so it’s good to make it easier!

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