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How to Financially Manage Group and Family Outings

Although the weather has been rainy and crummy lately, once the winter slump comes to an end my social media and email event invites go through the roof. Whether it be a family gathering or adult outing, the costs can add up pretty quickly if you’re not prepared. There are abundant resources online about having events affordably, but very few on attending events affordably. This week, I’m sharing my go-to cheat sheet for how to save money at events.

Share a meal.

If you’re like us, when we go out we try not to have a bunch of leftovers, get uncomfortably full or end up with a huge bill. This is a bonus tip because it encourages portion control if you’re watching your food intake and saves you money. So we split something and end up satisfied with more money in our pockets. We do this with the kids too. Many kids won’t make it through an entire meal anyways, so save yourself the waste (and money) and have them share something. This makes a night out way more financially reasonable. This sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been with a group and I see people leave plates of partially eaten meals. It makes so much sense!

Become a dollar store regular.

This is my go-to for birthday party, housewarming or host gifts. They sell very cute bags and wrapping paper, as well as little gifts and goodies you’d never know were from a dollar store. In fact, this week I was shopping for Easter basket items and did a Dollar Store and Walmart visit in the same night. The items for sale were eerily similar with different price tags. If you’re headed to an event and need a gift of any kind, a dollar store near you should be your first stop.

Skip the full occasion.

More and more, events we’re invited to are two-parters — restaurant and destination combos. If I don’t have the budget to splurge on the occasion, I break it up and attend one or the other. Some people do this simply because their schedules are busy, but I do it to avoid killing my social activities budget in one day. And you know, I always end up having a nice time regardless.

At the heart of the matter, events are for connecting and spending time with your friends and loved ones. Believe me, nobody will mind, or likely even notice, if you take a few measures to cut your costs. I’m guessing they’d much rather see you at their event! Keep these little tips in mind, and you won’t feel so conflicted clicking ‘accept.’


Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.

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