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How to Balance A Budget and Social Life in High School

Posted by Faith Mackey on May 26, 2023 11:49:10 AM
Faith Mackey

Having friends over is one of the best ways to spend your time. Whether you're hosting a birthday party or meeting up with your closest pals, there's nothing better than being around people who make you feel good about yourself. However, sometimes it can be difficult to find affordable activities that don't involve going out for food or activities such as the movies, theme parks, the mall, etc. This article will give you a few ideas for budgeting trips and having fun with friends—without breaking the bank!

Budgeting and spending time with friends image


Great budget-friendly activities

  • Going to the park

  • Playing a game of tennis or basketball

  • Taking a hike

  • Cooking together

  • If you want to go out on the town, try looking for free activities such as walking downtown on a Friday night or attending a local festival.

  • Taking public transit instead of Ubering or using Lift to activities

  • Free museum nights. Many museums have one night a month where admission is free to the public.

  • Renting movies at the library

  • Renting activity books at the library

  • Visit parks and beaches in your city that don't charge an entrance fee. Bring a picnic lunch or snacks from home so there is no extra cost for eating outside.

Pay more attention to the needs of your friends

  • Pay more attention to the needs of your friends.

  • Ask them what they want to do, and get specific about their interests.

  • Ask about their budget so you can find an affordable place for everyone.

  • Be considerate that not every friend can afford to go out to an event- offer alternative, more budget-friendly events.


Be more understanding of people who are short on money

You may have friends short on money, but that does not make them less of a person. You should respect the fact that they have different priorities and be grateful for what you have.

Many people are focused on living a life full of experiences and memories rather than stuff. Sometimes even if our friends would LOVE to participate in an activity, it can be too expensive.

Remembering this when considering budgeting and spending time with friends is important. Everyone has different financial situations, and we should respect each other's choices regarding spending their money.

Be conscious of others' financial situations

  • Remember that your friends may be unable to afford to do everything you want them to. For example, before you ask your friend to split the dinner bill, consider that they may not be able to afford to spend the extra money, and it may be more beneficial for them to pay their plate.

  • Be conscious of others' financial situations. If someone struggles financially, it is important to be accommodating to other financial situations and not make them feel left out. Instead of doing something expensive to hang out, consider a suggestion from our list above.

  • Ask questions about other people's budgets before making any plans (and don't forget to ask what their budget means). For example: "What does 'affordable' mean?" Or "Do I know anyone else who might benefit from doing this activity?" Or "How much does everyone feel comfortable spending tonight?".

How does this connect to SEL?

Social Awareness and Relationship Skills come into play when budgeting and spending time with friends. It is important to realize that not everyone around you has the same income as you might. This can make things such as going to the movies, shopping or eating out regularly stressful for someone who does not have the same income or allowance as you.

Considering others and one's comfort with spending money when planning to spend time with friends is a relationship skill that is important to learn. Raising children to be conscious, considerate, and compassionate to others regarding the financial aspect of doing activities with friends is important as they learn to understand others' backgrounds and are less likely to unknowingly put a friend in an uncomfortable situation. Learning to budget and spend responsibly also falls under the CASEL competencies of Self-management and Responsible Decision-making.


It’s important to remember that your friends are a part of your life. Whether you have money or not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the time you spend with each other and the memories from it. Don’t lose sight of this fact! For budgeting tips, visit our blog post on "How to Budget 101 for Tweens and Teens."  If you enjoyed this content, please share it with your teen students, friends, and family, and don't forget to give us a like on Facebook! 

Topics: social awareness, relationship skills, Emozi® High School, high school, future-ready, responsible decision making