Having a bustling social life full of activities and meals out is great, until the financial impact starts interfering with your personal money goals.
It’s difficult to prioritise paying off debt, saving, budgeting (or whatever your goal may be), when spending time with friends and loved ones so often involves spending money.
It might seem easier to avoid social occasions altogether to save cash, or to just give up on your goals completely and keep up with others’ spending habits.
But there is a more sustainable middle ground – remaining sociable while putting clear money boundaries in place to protect your own priorities.
Here are 6 dos and don’ts to give you a better chance of maintaining a social life while also sticking to your money goals.
1. Do: Set a clear and realistic weekly or monthly budget
Sit down and go through your monthly income and outgoings. Find out where your money’s already going in Monzo by grouping your spending into categories like bills, transport, personal care and family. Track how much you’re spending on each one.
Working out where your money’s currently going and what you do and don’t enjoy spending money on will show you whether or not your behaviour is aligned with your money goals.
Use the Trends tab to plan your spending from payday to payday. Tap Balance to see:
How much you started the month with
Total money in
Total money out
How much you have left to spend
Based on this data, you can set yourself a clear and realistic budget – weekly or monthly – that includes both socialising and your particular money goal.
2. Don’t: Say ‘yes’ to every social plan you’re invited to
It’s flattering when anyone invites you somewhere, but there are usually financial implications to saying ‘yes’ to social events. Even if that’s just the cost of getting there and back.
Be selective about the plans you attend. When you’re looking through your social past spending, think to yourself – did you actually enjoy that thing? Was it worth the money? Or did you end up spending loads of money because you felt pressured into it?
Being selective might mean turning down invites from acquaintances and friends of friends while you work towards your money goal(s), in favour of close friends and family. Or, if you’re looking to expand your social circle, it might mean the opposite.
3. Do: Track your spending and keep an emergency fund to handle unexpected costs
Keep an ongoing eye on your spending as you balance your social life while working towards your money goal(s). You can choose which notifications you get from Monzo in your settings:
Head to the Home tab
Tap on your profile icon
To get notified each time you make a payment – which may prevent you from overspending – toggle on Transactions and payments. You can also choose to receive monthly bank statement emails.
It’s also worthwhile having a Pot that acts as a safety net or emergency fund – money set aside specifically for unexpected expenses or emergencies, like bills or even unemployment.
Under Pots on the home screen, tap Create Pot
Tap Build a saving safety net
You can then set a savings goal based on your monthly essential spending
4. Don’t: Spend impulsively during social events – stay mindful of your budget
It’s normal to feel pressure to keep up with others’ spending when you’re out enjoying yourself. But if you’ve got a specific money goal, you’ll need to rein in your impulse spending, at least temporarily.
To limit your social spending, create a Pot to fund all your weekly or monthly socialising. (Weekly might be more effective to make sure you don’t spend it all at the start of the month.)
Then once that money’s gone, it’s gone.
5. Do: Communicate your financial boundaries to avoid uncomfortable situations
Let friends and family know about the goal you’re working towards and why it’s important to you. That way, they’re more likely to be understanding and respectful when you turn down an invite.
It works both ways. If you’re asking others to respect your financial boundaries, make sure you’re doing the same for them. If someone’s on a tight budget, be kind and accommodating if they say ‘no’ to a plan for financial reasons.
6. Don’t: Let relationships dwindle because of money
If you can’t keep up with your loved ones’ spending habits and you don’t want it to drive a wedge between you, make plans everyone can comfortably afford.
Find alternatives to costly social events. Throw a house party that everyone contributes to, rather than a pricey night out clubbing, or host a potluck dinner at home instead of meeting at a restaurant. Opt for catch-up over coffee rather than an expensive lunch.
Seeking out cost-effective or free social activities means you’re prioritising your money goals while still having meaningful experiences with those who mean the most to you.
Putting money boundaries in place might not come naturally. But if you’re transparent about the goal(s) you’re striving for and continue to put effort into your social life, those around you will understand – regardless of how much you’re spending.
To apply for a Monzo current account and access Pots you must be a UK resident. Ts&Cs apply.