Since I graduated from college a semester early, I moved back home to figure my life out. I’m still workin’ on it.
I enjoyed the home cooked meals and not spending money on overpriced textbooks, but in those 6 months after graduation, I also became a hermit. No social life to speak of. All my friends were 3 hours away and… well, still in college.
I’m glad I met new people at my journalism fellowship in Phoenix this summer. It felt good to have bros in different area codes, you know?
What I wasn’t prepared for was the toll my social life would have on my funds. When you’re a young professional in a new city, it’s not making money that’s the hard part. It’s saving it. Here are 3 reasons why.
1. STRANGERS HAVE TO BOND IN PUBLIC
Remember open door nights in college dorms? When everyone left their door open to bond with the residents on the floor and baked goods were usually involved? Yeah, I never participated in that crap either.
Still, a college campus was a relatively safe space to meet new people. Now, if I just met someone at work, I wouldn’t immediately invite him or her to my house. It’s unsafe and creepy, to be honest. We’ll have to get acquainted in public.
The movies? A concert? Tickets to a basketball game? It’ll cost ya. And since it takes at least 5 friend dates to turn a complete stranger into an acquaintance, it’ll start to add up.
2. EATING IS A SOCIAL ACTIVITY
If you’re not in the mood for the friend dates I suggested above, carpooling for a quick lunch or meeting after work for dinner is the way to go. I’ll confess: I can’t say no to good food and good people.
As fate would have it, my roommate is a food writer. She’s also ridiculously fun to be around. Every day, I was faced with a choice: find the strength to come home at 5 p.m. and cook (assuming I remembered to buy groceries) or unwind over the dish-du-jour at an eatery with my new friend. Guess what my decision usually was!
3. LIQUID COURAGE AIN’T CHEAP
Buying drinks at a bar is probably the fastest way to spend money. $7 for a few ounces of the good stuff? Don’t do it, man.
Whether it’s going out to the club on the weekends or dipping out early to catch happy hour at your favorite spot, alcohol by the glass can ring up a hefty tab. You’d be better off visiting your local Liquors-R-Us (I wonder if that’s a real thing…) and buying a bottle for around $20.
Unfortunately, this is more suitable for the friend date number 6 (refer to point 1, above). So until then, we’ll have another round, bartender. (Editor’s note: Only if you’re of legal drinking age, of course!)
You can soften the blow by opting out of a couple hang-out sessions if you’re pressed for cash. But think about it this way: You’re investing in a new friendship. Give it time, and soon you’ll be old buddies who spend cheap Sunday nights together in their pajamas watching Breaking Bad and throwin’ back some brews.
But that’s not until like, friend date number 15.
Know of a good, cheap (non-creepy) way to grow new friendships? Let us know in the comments.