Q: My friends like to go out to nice places for food and drinks. I love spending time with them, but I’m on a budget. How can I have fun without stressing out about the money spent?

A: Many years ago we went out to dinner with friends. The husband ordered a really expensive dish. He immediately said, “This is really expensive, so I hope it’s okay if we have separate checks.” My husband and I both breathed a sigh of relief and agreed. Since then, I have often asked for a separate check, whether I’m out with couples or friends.

One of my friends who is a master budgeter, will make sure to order a less expensive healthy option, such as an appetizer, instead of a dinner, and also ask for a separate check. If she has a drink, she will only have one, and usually during happy hour, when it’s less expensive.

You can also investigate places that will be fun and yummy, that are less expensive, and suggest them for your next night out.

Finally, you can always say “no” occasionally, or even say that a place doesn’t fit into your budget at that time. Your friends might come up with less expensive options, a different type of activity, or consider new places in the future.

Mermaids – what other ideas do you have?

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