Our Social Lives and Spending Money

FOMO costing moneyWe as humans are social animals, we like gathering together and sharing. It can be conversation, food, drinks, or all three at once.

These social occasions can be with family, friends, even strangers we meet while just out for a drink on our own.

The saying, “working for the weekend” is based in part on truth and our lifestyles, we work all week so we can do the things we want to on the weekend; or when we are not at work.

Our social lives take on more than just drinks and meals with people, we also have hobbies and activities we like to do.

If we are single, we may be looking for a partner, someone to share these social events and occasions with. This means dating, going on dates to get to know someone, who may be our potential partner or spouse.

In this little excursion into our social lives and what it can cost us, we are going to look at three (3) areas:

* Leisure Activities

* Hobbies

* Dating

These are not meant to be exclusive, as many of us have larger social lives than others. And there are those that are best occupied indoors, playing computer games with other gamers around the world, but as we will see, staying in and gaming itself is not cheap.

However, first let’s look at something that can bind or tie all of these social things together, and that is FOMO.

Is FOMO Costing You Money?

Is FOMO costing you money each week, month, and if so, how much is FOMO costing you each year?

If you don’t know what FOMO is, it stands for, “fear of missing out”. And it may be costing you money.

If your friends go out and ask you to go, you may feel like you may miss out on a good time or good night out. There also are the friendly gatherings after work, or parties friends throw, or even stag and hen do’s and other social events.

These social occasions and gatherings can be costly, and we don’t want to appear to be mean or cheap to our friends; so we go and spend money. And it ma be money we don’t have. We may use credit such as our overdrafts, or a credit card, or even take money out of savings in order to finance these social meetings.

Some figures by the Office of National Statistics show how much we spend over a lifetime, average 60 years, on socialising. In London that figure is £192,000, while in Bristol the number is £199,000. It all adds up!

The UK average for spending on socialising over a lifetime is £150,000.

The list of top 10 cities and what is spent on socialising are:

1) Leeds: £213,245!!

2) Bristol: £199,617

3) London: £192,028

4) Edinburgh: £180,119

5) Birmingham: £170,078

6) Liverpool: £161,012

7) Glasgow: £150,372

8) Manchester: £143,910

9) Newcastle: £135,951

10) Cardiff: £128,572

Social Debt

As we can see, being a social animal is not cheap, or it can not be cheap, it can be as cheap as you want to make it.

So how do we fund our social lives?

Through working, our wages, and for some through debt, loans, credit cards, etc.

According to the Money Advice Service, we are overspending £1,260 as an average “social debt” figure.

This means we are spending over £1,200 of money we do not have, and are using credit or other means to fund this social lifestyle.

According to Money Expert Jane Symonds at MAS, people are getting “getting carried away” in the social spending. They “lose control” at points.

She states, “I’d urge anyone in debt, due to their social spending, to take action now to avoid getting any further into the red and instead work at clearing it.

You’d be surprised at how empowering saying no can feel when you see how healthy your bank balance looks, and you can spend the money on things you really value or need.

There are a few aspects to this over spending, and it can boil down to FOMO.

Jenni Trent Hughes, a Psychologist says, “It’s really easy to be swayed by peer pressure, become carried away in the moment and spend money that the next day you wish you still had in your bank account.”

If you’re honest and clear with a friend about why you can’t afford to spend money on something and you still find yourself being put under pressure, it’s perhaps time to have a quiet word with them or even rethink the friendship – real friends wouldn’t pressure you to do something you really can’t afford.

A Professor of Behaviour Science at Warwick Business School, Nick Chater states, “It’s the dark side of consumerism.

Everybody values their car or house relative to other cars or houses. That means as everybody gets wealthier they get a nicer house or car. But because people think comparatively, they don’t gain any benefit, they don’t feel happier. They still have the third nicest car among their friends.

Comparing and competing can have positive outcomes, such as wanting to be healthier or obtain a better education.

But for many consumer goods, keeping up with the Joneses may be all we care about. If we all spend more on weddings, fast cars, or designer handbags, then, in comparative terms, no one feels any happier. This raises the danger that such spending is self-defeating, from the point of view of a society as a whole.

So as we can see, being a social butterfly does come at a price.

Now let’s look at other social expenses, hobbies, and for some, dating.

Leisure Activities as a Part of Our Social Spending Accounts

Do you have a social spending account?

A savings account, or budget just for going out and socialising? Things like going to the pub, cinema, buying music and films, throwing parties, etc.

No, you don’t???!

Why not?

When you look at how much we spend on going out and other social activities, we need to budget for this things, lest we feel the pinch of the dreaded, FOMO. (fear of missing out)

A study done by Barclays showed just where we do spend money in our lifetimes for socialising, and how much:

* Holidays: £3,330, if we take six (6) in our lifetimes, and chances are, we will take more

* Work night’s out: £1,105, costing £29,100

* Friend’s parties: £4,000 if we attend 159 of them in our lifetime

* Going out with friends: £1,975 of them costing £71,500

* Birthdays and Christmases: £7,000 spent for 390 events

That is a lot of socialising, and is not an all inclusive list!

What about taxis, clothes and outfits, etc.

Then let’s add the FOMO factor, the fact we are social beings and want to be with friends and family, and don’t want to miss out on that great workshop night out, and then hear on Monday how everyone in attendance had the time of their life, or someone had a few too many and embarrassed themselves.

A Savings and Investment Director at Barclays, Clare Francis stated, “Social occasions can be a considerable drain on your finances and if you’re not careful, the cost can get out of control.

There is a tendency among Brits to spend a lot of money when they go out with friends, but it’s not always necessary.

“There are lots of ways to spend quality time with friends without breaking the bank – why not spend an afternoon in the park – or take a trip to a free museum or an art gallery.”

She adds regarding “peer pressure” to attend these functions, “This research demonstrates the impact that peer pressure and FOMO can have on people’s finances, but popularity doesn’t need to come at a cost.

For anyone feeling under pressure to overspend, take the time to consider whether you’d rather be putting that money towards your financial goals.

True friends will be considerate when you say you can’t afford something, and there are always cheaper alternatives when it comes to having a good time.

Voicing your concerns now could make a big difference to your finances in the long term, as there is no time like the present to start saving for your future.

As you can see, having a budget, or a set amount to spend on some leisure activities may help in not spending as much. And these activities mentioned here are with friends and family, there may be activities that you like to do alone that can cost you money, such as hobbies.

Hobbies

When discussing our social lives and the money we spend in that area of our finances, we cannot forget our hobbies.

Some hobbies such as bird watching, rambling (from pub-to-pub), and train or plane spotting, may be somewhat cheap to do, but there are hobbies that can be expensive, some very expensive.

If you are an avid golfer, then you may know what I mean. You need to buy the clubs, pay fees to play golf, rent a cart, join a club, it all adds up. Then let’s not forget the time involved.

If your hobby, and we will use golf as an example again, takes up the better part of a day, shooting 18 rounds, that is time that could be used to either earn money, or relax in other cheaper ways.

However, you cannot put a price tag on those hobbies that do relax us, and 18 holes on a nice sunny day, hitting par, and walking the greens, can be relaxing and worth the money.

When Hobbies Become Work and Expensive

One of the purposes for having a hobby is to feel relaxed doing it, or in the case of racing cars part-time and on weekends, feed a need, such as the excitement and adrenaline junkies that are out there.

However, while a hobby may be relaxing, it may cause financial stress, in part due to the costs of the hobby.

As mentioned, some hobbies are cheap, but some can not only be expensive, but they continue to drain our finances as we indulge ourselves in them.

Just take collecting music or films for example. Today if you want to collect an artists musical library, or many musical artists library, you can use cloud servers to store the music.

These do not take up any space in your home, and anytime you wish to listen to music, you can dial it up online.

However, back in the day, and for some still now, they collect CD’s an DVD’s, and while now cheap in some instances to purchase, you have to have the space to store them.

This means purchasing shelves, book cases, holders, and the such. As your collection grows, so does the need for these storage facilities, and space within your home.

Again, costing you money.

Even collecting memories by travelling can get costly.

Suppose your hobby is wine tasting, not only can it get expensive, by buying and tasting bottles of wine, you need a place and way to store them.

Collecting (insert item here) can cost no matter what the item is. In the end as a hobbyist, we are always seeking to either increase our collection(s), or do/attend the hobby as regularly as possible.

Is this a bad thing, of course not. Hobbies are a part of life, but we need to be aware of their costs, and not find ourselves in debt due to the hobby.

How Much Are We Spending on Hobbies?

Research from Yorkshire Bank showed some areas or hobbies that we spend money on, and the cost of those hobbies.

The most popular of hobbies from their research was golf, which on average cost on average £755 per year. Which when broken down to a monthly figure is almost £63.

That doesn’t sound too expensive or bad, especially if you put it in context with what we might spend on night’s out and other leisure activities.

Yorkshire Bank’s research showed the following:

* Golf: £755 annually

* Gym-Exercise-Equipment: £480

* Tennis: £385

* Cycling: £330, this must be after the initial expense of purchasing a bike. Bikes can cost in the thousands of pounds.

* Running: £70

* Walking: £0

Even gardening as a hobby has an expense associated with it.

There are some more expensive hobbies to have:

* Scuba diving

* Model trains

* Collecting art, cars, wines, whiskies, etc

* Gambling: yes, there are those that feel gambling is a hobby, however, it can also be an addiction

* Travelling

* Antiques

You have to keep in mind, these expenditures for our hobbies, have to be added to what we spend on social events and other leisure activities.

You can see, it can add up, in a big way.

But what if you are single, and don’t want to be that way?

The Expenses Related to Dating and Our Social Lives

As mentioned at the beginning of this little read about our social lives and what we spend, we discussed in brief, that we are social animals. We enjoy being in the company of others, and so naturally we are also going to enjoy being in the company of just one special person, a close friend, partner, love, spouse, someone who as they say, “completes us”.

So off we go to find that special person, “the one”.

That means we need to put ourselves out there in the world, and date!

Dating 101

Expenses related to datingBack in the stone age when you wanted to meet someone and get to know them, you went to dances, social clubs, or the pubs.

There also were introductions by friends and family.

And for some, they met the love of their life at school or at work.

These methods of meeting someone are free, but then you still have the pitching of woo, wining and dining, which depending on which school of thought you come from, the man pays, the person who asks pays, or you share/split the costs, there are still costs involved in dating.

Not that dating cannot be free. Going to free events, museums, etc, are all great ways to get to know someone on the cheap.

However, we live in the digital, Internet age, and so dating has changed with the times, and how we meet someone has changed as well.

We go online to see/view perspective partners, join dating web sites, and do our searches that way, from the warm and comfortable surroundings of our homes.

Online Dating Costs

There are many, many different dating web sites out there in the virtual dating world, and the costs vary as much as the speciality “dates” they offer.

You can pay anywhere from £40 or more a month, to a much lessor amount, such as £10 or £12 a month.

The fees can vary according to the web site, and for how long you sign-up for.

Sign up for 12 months, the price is less.

If you are feeling lucky and that you will find a suitable match quickly, you can sign-up for just a month.

When you think about it, only signing-up for a month seems very confident, and 12 months seems like a bit of a lost cause. However, you never know??

And the web sites offer many different speciality types of dates. You like people in uniform, there is a web site for that.

The sites can get quite specific.

However, paying for a dating web site is only the beginning. Then you have to actually go on dates.

As to how much a date and dating costs, one piece of research states the average date costs £129.

And it is easy to see why dates may costs this much, and cost even more. The “date” itself may be cheap, drinks or coffee and a meeting, but what about the prep work?

Clothes, make-up for women, taxis, gifts, hair dressers, as you can see, it all adds up.

And to put this into a real context, add what it costs to date with your social life expenses, and then your hobby…..easily thousands of pounds a year!

Of course once you meet the love of your life, it can be less expensive. You share costs, and may even live together reducing expenses.

And dating can be done cheaply, but who whips out the vouchers and coupons on the first date? You can, and some do, but you are taking a chance, as some may see this as either being tight/mean, or frugal and wise.

In Total

So take a moment, sit down pen and paper in hand, and look at what you spend on social events and socialising each month.

If you have a hobby, add your hobby expenses up, and add them to the social expense figure.

And if you are dating, try to calculate what that may be costing you, and throw that number into the mix.

How much do you have in total?

Divide that number by your annual salary, and that will give you a percentage of your annual earnings that you spend each year on being a social animal, looking for love.

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