Happy Hump Day, Dear Readers.
I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m blessed with many friends. I have co-worker friends, kickboxing friends, and friends who are closer than family. And of course there’s The Boy, who is one of my very best friends, and my best kitty friends, Chloe and the Great Samboo.
Friendship is a good thing, and something I will never take for granted. I know from experience how difficult it can be to build strong, lasting friendships. Without friends, life would not be worth living.
But I’ve found that the more friends I have, the more challenging it is to get out of debt. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of approaching friend time more creatively. For years, the way I spent time with friends was always the same: a meal in a restaurant. With some friends, even two meals in two different restaurants on the same day! And all of that dining out adds up, as you can imagine. For someone who can (and even likes to) cook, I’ve spent a lot of money in restaurants. Rare is the year that my restaurant bills haven’t added up to thousands of dollars.
Then there’s the shopping friends, the ones who always want to go to the mall or the newest boutique. Somehow, I don’t have shopping friends anymore (at least not close ones). We’ve either parted ways for different reasons, or their lifestyles have changed. I don’t mind watching others shop–sometimes it can be fun–but there’s so many other ways I’d rather spend my time.
At the beginning of the year, I had to have “The Talk” with most of my close friends, explaining that getting out of debt is a priority for me, and that I wouldn’t be able to meet them in restaurants anymore. Thankfully, all of them have been very understanding, although I haven’t been able to arrange “face time” with some. With others, we’ve opted for cheap restaurants instead of cutting out meals entirely. Still others I see only at kickboxing or at work.
How about you, Dear Readers? Do you spend too much money in restaurants? What creative, inexpensive ways do you spend time with friends?
Good news: even with all these challenges, I’m well on track to being out of debt BEFORE the end of 2011! Very excited about that!
With four kids, no time, and a life in constant turmoil I must ask what is this thing you call a “restaurant”? Am I to understand that it provides both food and joy? Both respite and the titillation of relaxed sedation? Hmmm… I believe it is high time I start seeking out these strange and wonderful places of which you speak.
I’d introduce you, but I can’t afford it. 😉
Still, FOUR kids? That’s a challenge all on its own!
I think it comes and goes with us. We usually have a group run on Tuesdays and then head to a restaurant for a bite afterwards. But depending on who shows up for the run we average a couple Tuesdays a month. Sometimes we do take-out when we are feeling lazy (does that count as a restaurant? I would think so..)
Most of my time spent with friends tends to fit into one of the following categories:
*getting together with our kids – and this is usually home-based. The kids get a great visit and entertain each other, and my friend(s) and I get to hang out and chat…but this is usually over wine/beer.
*getting together to do some sporting event be it a race or some kind of training. These usually don’t cost much (other than gas if we are heading out of town to mountain-bike) and we get in some awesome conversation while running/biking/skiing.
Aside from that I can’t remember the last time I met up with friends in a restaurant. It’s rare for me. And to be honest, I miss it. I’d actually like to do it more often.
It is hard to keep up with all the friends along the way and I find everytime more than two of us get together it is at a restaurant. It is just so convenient. Unfortunately it also ends up being where the date nights end up too.
The one way I do get around it is coffee / tea with one (sometimes two)friend and we walk through the paths on the river valley. Beautiful scenery and great company where it isn’t overly noisy.
And then there is the classical invitation to drop by for ice tea.
Another great topic, Holli.
@ Lisa – thanks for your comment. I miss it, too, but I would like to be more creative. Like your sporting events, my dojo does give me the chance to spend time with friends. Fitness friends ROCK!
@ the fish – The River Valley sounds lovely. Once my city is done with brutal cold and floods of doom, I’m sure more creative options for friend time will open up. Ah, summer! And as for the ice tea (or fifteen), there’s always a glass with your name on it, Vinnie.
Well, after reading a few of the comments, it appears that the solution to curbing the restaurant habit is to have kids 😉
Restaurant expenses take up a huge part of my paycheck, since it seems to be the most common source of entertainment or meeting place, whether it’s with my significant other, family, friends or co-workers. It seems almost impossible to break this habit, especially since our activities are so limited in this frozen wasteland. Even when we try to think of other activities that might be interesting, there is almost always a large cost associated with it.
Meeting up with friends at the gym is good, but usually there isn’t time to get into any deep conversation during a workout, so I find we end up going out for food or drinks in addition to the gym anyway. I don’t know what the solution is, but I could use one too. Both my wallet and my waistline need a break!
I hear ya, CeeBee. At least we’ve found some cheap restaurants! When the weather warms up, maybe we can start going for walks!