person counting moneyPhoto by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Firstly, congratulations on sticking to your budget! It’s important to know how much you’re able to spend on entertainment and activities, and it’s equally important that you’re sticking to it! 

This does mean that at times, your friends may be able to spend more on activities than you. Address the spending gap by communicating your budget limits to your circle of friends.

Explain Your Situation

two friends having a challenging conversation

Be honest.

Friends support friends. If you explain your situation to your friends, chances are they’ll completely understand.

Keep it simple.

Share that you’ve set a budget or savings goal for yourself, and only have so much per month for entertainment or going out. 

Share only as much information as you’re comfortable sharing, but keep in mind: while it's helpful to communicate where you're at, you don’t owe anyone a justification.  


Your friends are planning a weekend away at a rented cottage. The costs are adding up and you know it won't fit into your budget. What do you do?

Go anyway! Worry about budgeting later.

Ask them to do a different activity

Complain they aren't being fair

Plan a low-cost activity for another day

Suggest Alternate Activities

It may still be hard for your friends to understand what your budget limitations mean. Have some examples of free or low-cost activities in mind. 

It doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg to enjoy each other’s company and have fun!

two friends visibly excited. Text reads

  • Tell them you’re happy to join them while they shop, but you’ll keep your spending to a minimum (as long as you don’t find it too tempting to spend)!

  • Offer additional free/low-cost ideas like a potluck in the park, cycling, games night in, craft-making, hiking, football, or a day at the beach. 

  • Look into art, exercise, or learning classes through your library or community center instead of expensive classes.

  • Consider a recurring activity like a monthly book club, or a "new recipe" night.

  • Google free activities in your area for more ideas.

Be Prepared To Say No

woman in hat and glasses speaks to man, text reads

While your friends will likely be willing to find and join activities you can all do together, they may also want to splurge occasionally.

This is okay, and sometimes you may need to be prepared to say you can’t attend. Try not to take it personally, as everyone has their own budget. 

Don’t feel like you need to change your goals or budget to fit in. 

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Your friends are planning an expensive night out to see a concert, and it's way out of your budget. How can you say no politely?

Say you'll have to sit this one out

Tell them money doesn't grow on trees

You're excited to hang out another day

Thank them for the invite

Expand Your Circle To Include Like-Minded Spenders

two friends laughing while having a picnicPhoto by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

If your friends are less willing to change their activities to accommodate your budget, consider expanding your circle. This doesn’t mean cutting your existing friends out, it just means including more like-minded spenders.

It means you'll have people to spend time with, and not feel pressured to break your budget. You may even find you have a lot in common!

Take a look at these Bytes to help expand your friendship circle:

Make a new friend when you're out of school

5 steps to a great conversation with someone you just met

Take Action

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This Byte has been authored by


Robin H

Volunteer Learning Designer