Married and Starting Out

Married and starting out features newly married couples sharing their experience as they combine finances, lifestyle and in-laws.

How to Have a Social Life Even When You Are on a Budget

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As I mentioned in my last post, the first thing to go out the window when we started our more restrictive winter budget was eating out. We were resigned to staying in and we became used to it; heck, we even began to enjoy it.

After the first few solitary weeks of eating at home though, we began to get slightly lonesome. We did not want to admit it, but we began to miss going out. Even though we were enjoying spending more time together, we missed seeing our friends for meals. But, we also knew that we could not go out to eat in a restaurant.

So we began inviting people over for drinks. We almost instantly ran into problems. When people came over they sort of expected food along with the wine and cocktails; so as not to disappoint, we began buying cheese and crackers and making dips to go with chips.

Before we knew it, by buying wine, liquor, and snacks, we were spending almost as much by staying in and having people over as we would have done if we had just met them for dinner. We also missed sitting down with friends and eating long, leisurely meals with them. We needed a better plan!

We decided to begin hosting more dinner parties. It sounds counterintuitive but we had done this in college as a cost-saving, social measure. We would cook the food and our guests would bring the wine, or if it were a less formal party, people might bring some cheese, or an appetizer. Our dinner parties are a sort of a bring-your-own-bottle, potluck hybrid. While we do most the cooking, having someone fill in the gaps with a little something else they bring makes the meal more of a community-spirited meal. These dinner parties have allowed us to still see our friends for meals without the cost of eating out.

We also have daytime, themed events, like our college football potluck. We made the main dish and a few extras; in this case, it was pulled pork with some homemade baked beans, and for dessert, a banana pudding. Our guests always get excited to bring the sides. We get a lot of our single male friends making one of their mother's recipes for sides; a few are particularly memorable ones: one mother's potato salad recipe; another mother's coleslaw recipe; and yet another's collard greens with ham hocks.

In a town full of transplants like New York where it is not common for people to cook, I think everyone enjoys a reason to call and talk to their family about recipes. When our friends bring over homemade family dishes that represent a little piece of their home, it makes our parties extra special. I honestly would not trade them for all the restaurants in the world!

Related articles:

Entertaining on a Shoestring

In Debt...and Ready to Party!

Sacrificing to Become Debt-Free

Vienna Nowell

Vienna currently resides in New York City, but is originally from London. She is a contributing writer under Married & Starting Out. She and her husband are recently married and they are contemplating taking the big step of buying their first home.  Still working their way through the processes of buying an apartment, she and her husband are learning as they go.  Vienna also writes a food blog,, and is a freelance writer, chef and food stylist.  She is looking forward to sharing her experiences and any tips she picks up along the way during their house buying endeavor. Compensated CareOne Blogger

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  • As I said above, in general, composed salads are quick to make but this one take a little more time but boy, is it worth it!

  • I do not know what a social life is like anymore. When you have money you have friends; but when you don't your friends fly like flies. Also, If you can payoff or consuladate your credit cards. Or start paying off the credit card that has the most interest and start cancelling them. Cut the credit cards and use only one. It seems harsh but we have to do this . We got ourselfs into this, now we have to get ourselfs out of it. Do not get yourself into a second Mortgage that is the biggest NO! NO!.  Have at least 8 months of payments saved incase you fall behind on your Mortgage. Not only one but both of you need to sit down and review your bill everyday. I keep records of my bills in a book. Everyone has a system. Organization is a key to success. I have more tips. If you are part of Facebook you can find me their under my name: Ramiro Portillo. The one in a business attire.

  • When ever you go but something and it is worth about  $18.30; when you get home have a penny jar and whatever you micht have over place it in there and forget about it. Do not do what other would do. For example; " Oh I need to get some milk, I will take some money from the penny  jar. NO! NO!   I better stop writing and get up. If you are a business person. Get things pressed they will look better and will last longer. If you all need tips on Fashion Merchandising and Wordrobe, Shoes, Professional Interior Design, Notary Public, Law in Banking, I have studied that and more. And nomatter what people might think (you don't have to tell them) go to therapy if you need to. There is nothing wrong with that. I go to one. Go walking together. Give yourselfs time for yourselfs and take the weekend for a romance. It does not have to be going out; but at home. If you have children ask your friends or inlaw if they could take care of them for two days.

  • If you search Google for "The Joneses," you get results like keeping up with "them" has bankrupted people, that "they" are what we use to define our level in society, and that people use "them" to determine if they are successful or not. But, no one can

  • Your body speaks volumes about you; the majority of communication takes place non-verbally and subconsciously.

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