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Staying in is the new going out: saving money on socialising

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Is socialising with friends worth more than a long-term savings pot? Barclays has found the average Brit spends almost £150,000 on socialising during their lifetime.

Only a fifth think saving money is more important than spending time with friends, but more than a third (37%) admit they struggle to save because they can’t fight the urge to go out and party.

A fifth said they spend money on social occasions to avoid appearing stingy, and one in ten admitted to spending beyond their means due to FOMO (‘fear of missing out’). Two-fifths said they regularly dip into their savings to finance their packed social calendars.

Looking at the sheer amount of money and time we invest in our friends, the study revealed that nights out with friends are the biggest expense – totalling £71,500 over the course of a lifetime, with an extra £29,100 going towards time spent with work colleagues. £27,500 is spent on taxis, making a total of 1,230 journeys, and another £4,000 goes on friends’ parties. On average, Brits spend £7,000 on birthday and Christmas presents for close pals – averaging £17.94 per gift.

In terms of time spent, the typical UK adult enjoys 3,239 social engagements during their adult years, including 159 birthday parties, 1,975 nights out with pals and 1,105 work get-togethers. Spending peaks at age 29.

Top tips for budgeting for social occasions

Clare Francis, savings and investments director at Barclays shares the following tips:

A night in with friends

Social occasions can be a considerable drain on your finances and if you’re not careful, the cost can get out of control – a new outfit, drinks, food, taxi fare, it all adds up. Instead of going out, why not try staying in? This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a dull affair. You could host a cocktail party and ask everyone to bring a bottle of spirit or mixer, or have tapas and TV party and ask each friend to bring one dish. There are lots of ways to spend quality time with friends without breaking the bank.

The friends sharing economy

In a recent survey, Barclays found that a third of people living in the UK would be interested in having a monthly cap on the amount they could spend in their favourite stores. This is because we are a nation of impulse buyers, but while it might be tempting to buy a new outfit for every night out, the cost can often be too high. Instead of buying that new dress, why not swap one of yours with a friend’s? Open up the conversation and find the people in your group that are open to making an exchange and roll with it. You never know, your old ‘rag’ might be just what they’ve been looking for.

Free activities

There is a tendency among Brits to spend a lot of money when they go out with friends, but it’s not always necessary. With summer officially here, why not spend an afternoon in the park. Or for rainy days, take a trip to a free museum or an art gallery. Try going out without spending money on anything – you’ll discover there are lots of ways to have fun without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for inspiration, head online and find recommendations on local websites and money saving forums.

Plan ahead and start saving early

If planning a big social event with a group of friends (say a holiday or a hen or stag do), consider setting up a standing order. You and your mates can make regular monthly payments over a period of time so that when the time comes to go away, your trip will already be paid for. And importantly, it will be paid for in a regular way that won’t leave you feeling cash-strapped. Another great way to save is by setting up a flexi-saver account or cash ISA to run alongside your regular savings account. Putting away even £50 a month can make a real difference when it comes to paying for those big social occasions.

Set a monthly budget

Our research found that a significant number of people often spend money with friends due to fear of missing out or because of peer pressure, but there are easy ways to avoid this. Create a monthly budget (based on your incomings and out-goings) and set aside a figure that is specifically saved for social occasions. If you want to go a step further, then create a separate pot for ‘last minute invitations’. If you’re really struggling for cash though, don’t be afraid to say no. Your friends will forgive you!

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