Switching from a normal spending life to a frugal life can feel isolating at first. You stop dining out, grabbing expensive coffee or drinks and seeing full-price movies because you want to save money. What you realize is that this also means that you stop doing many of the things that you’ve been doing to socialize with your friends. It takes some practice but frugal living doesn’t have to mean that you become isolated from people. In fact, it can mean that your connections with others get deeper if you make an effort to make that happen.
Ways that Frugal Living Can Isolate You
The choice to engage in frugal living can definitely isolate you. Some of the most common ways in which this occurs include:
- Turning down invitations. You may begin to turn down invitations to do things socially because those things don’t fit within your new frugal budget. If these invitations aren’t replaced with other activities, you can eventually become isolated from the people who are trying to spend time with you.
- Quitting pseudo-social situations. There are many things that you do with groups of people that you can do cheaper on your own. For example, instead of going to the gym, you may start to work out at home to save money. Instead of working at the local coffee shop, you make a pot of coffee and work from home. Although you may not socialize at the gym or the coffee shop, being around other people helps you to feel less isolated.
- Excluding yourself from meeting new people. Frugal people often stop going to the types of events and places where they may get the chance to meet new people. That’s because these events often cost money. If you aren’t meeting new people over time, your life may start to feel stagnant.
- Being out of touch with pop culture. Frugal living means that you probably aren’t going to the latest concerns or seeing the hottest movies right when they come out. You may not subscribe to cable TV channels with the most popular shows. As a result, you may not be at ease when making small talk with people. This can lead to feelings of isolation from others.
How to Counteract this Problem
Frugal living does not have to mean that you feel isolated from others. Some of the key ways that you can counteract this problem include:
- Suggest replacement activities to friends. Don’t simply turn down invitations. Suggest free or cheap alternatives that allow you to continue spending time with friends in social settings even though you aren’t spending a lot of money.
- Get creativity in finding ways to spend time with others. Maybe you aren’t going to hang out at the coffee shop anymore but you could do your work from a local library or a park.
- Contribute to the conversations around you. Just because you don’t know who got kicked off of the island doesn’t mean that you have nothing to contribute to small talk conversations. Share what you’ve read lately or just what you’ve been thinking about and those conversations will still flow.
- Befriend other frugal people. This makes it easier to engage in social situations that fit within your budget without having to explain yourself or make excuses.
- Focus on what matters in your relationships. What you may discover as time goes on is that you have fewer interactions with people but that your relationships are deeper. As you begin to get more creative about your frugal activities, you may begin to form relationships with others that are based on more meaningful activities and conversations. Ultimately, this sense of a full life is what living frugally is all about!