It happens to the best of us, we skimp and save diligently and come Monday morning receive a rude awakening when checking our bank account balance online. Surely we didn't spend thousand pesos in one weekend!? After scouring the transaction history for a bank error, the reality slowly creeps in: happy hour cocktails on Friday followed by a late dinner, a leisurely shopping trip on Saturday to find a dress for a friend's birthday party that night, said birthday dinner in which some deep-pocketed genius suggests splitting the tab at a sushi restaurant even though you only had misu soup, more cocktails and then of course the Sunday brunch to rehash the weekend with your besties.
If you're like those gals, the Monday morning financial hangover - we're talking headaches, an uneasy stomach and a strong desire to call in sick, curl up on the couch and watch "Breakfast at Tiffany's" on repeat white eating in Chinese takeout box. If you are looking to spend less and break out of the rut of expensive cocktails, there are cost effective ways to spice up your social life.
A lot of articles will suggest having a potluck dinner in order to save on going out. While dinner parties are fun, in my experience, they have never cost less than going to a restaurant. Especially when you factor in a sink full of dirty dishes at the end of the night. Gross.
Instead, look for ways to maximize your money when you do go out. Cook yourself a quick, light dinner at home and meet your friends at a restaurant where you can share an appetizer and pitcher of sangria. Another option is to look for parties at art galleries. Many cities host monthly First Friday events where the galleries stay open late and the wine actually does flow freely. Also some wineries and specialty food shops will host evening tastings where you can sample numerous wines for as little as Php200 ($5.00) As an added bonus, should you find yourself on the prowl, wine tastings provide an ideal venue for striking up conversation with nearby bachelors who may know their way around a kitchen.
This is a tip from my friend in NYC. The pressure of getting dress in the nines is really a huge sweat but because she have these fabulous friends, they came up with this monthly clothes swap meeting. Megan said it started informally after a book club, but soon enough it became a permanent part of their monthly meetings. They would each bring a shopping bag of seldom worn, mostly forgotten dresses, jewelry, scarves and handbags. Even when the clothing swaps didn't yield much, it was still fun creating outfits from their mix-match of clothing as though they were in a fashion montage of an 80s movie which is almost as therapeutic as a shopping bag full of J.Crew cashmere sweaters.
Okay, be honest, how many unused Sephora samples are sitting in your drawer? While we all deserve to be pampered, too much of it can leave you as more of a pauper than a princess. The next time you feel the need to pay for a mani/pedi or facial, take a quick inventory of some of your forgotten samples and plan a mini spa evening. While little can rival the power of the massage chair at the nail salon, a free mini facial should give you enough of a pick me up until your next treatment before a big event.
Finally, I will admit that fitness is the first area I skimp on when I face personal budget woes, I have never been once for gyms which means that exercise for me means yoga or Pilates. I rely on yoga videos from Youtube to give me ideas for workouts. For added motivation, push your furniture against the walls and invite friends to your own personal yoga studio!
As with any hangover, the true cure is prevention and moderation. There will always be that diner or weekend away that will leave both you and your wallet feeling spent, but knowing where to cut back and still have a good time will mean success for both your liver and your favorite Kate Spade clutch!