Do Entertain or Not To Entertain – When Being Social Comes Down To Budget

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It’s a no brainer that if you want to save money you cut back on your entertainment expenses – you stop eating out, you rent a dvd instead of going to the movies, you play in the yard or pack a picnic lunch at the local park.

But what something simple – like inviting people over for dinner – it’s a “cheap” way to entertain, yet is it in the budget.  This past weekend, facing the end of the month and the dwindling of cash for the month (not unexpected – all part of the budget plan) – I was faced with a dilemma – a weekend free of any social plans and some friends who were owed an invitation.

I had sent out an email a week or so back – and the available dates came back – this weekend was one, as well as a date a few weeks out…which could be planned for.

So – what should I do, I thought – sure it doesn’t cost much to entertain some old friends – a few extra snacks, a few extra burgs and dogs (oh yeah – dessert, a bottle or two of wine, some juice boxes) – and the cost – though not a lot would creep up – and (slightly) blow the spending plan for the month  – and with not a lot of time in the month to find ways to cut, I would be heading into the next month already behind – trying to recover the cost someplace in the budget.

So what’s a RichMama to do – be social, or push out a simple family dinner a few weeks in order to be “frugal” – was I being a Scrooge…

The right thing to do of course would be to push the dinner out – because by allowing even innocent, for a good cause, or because of some sort (in this case) invisible social pressure – our good budget discipline slides…this was not an emergency, a life threatening situation where letting something ride on the credit card or dipping into the back up cash qualifies.

So what did I do?  I let nature take its course  — for real – a little hurricane named Irene trumped all social plans as we (the other family included) hunkered down to ride the storm out.  We’ll meet up next month, when I will be sure to put the entertainment into the month’s budget.

On the other hand – I did have to lay in a few extra supplies that I don’t normally keep on hand – like bottled water – for the storm (which thankfully spared us for the most part.)

So, when committing to being a RichMama, remember – the little choices (and expenses) add up.  Staying financially fit – especially if you are still paying down credit card debt – means sometimes postponing things until you can plan (save) for them.


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