If you’re not at the top of the social hierarchy of your industry or profession, you’re always climbing the proverbial ladder of self-improvement. But while you’re moving up one rung after another, you’ll realize that opportunities come at a cost. It just so happens that people bond over dinners, bars, frequent coffees, and nightlife, but as with anything in this world, there’s always a cost.
Your wallet might feel a bit lighter or you’re feeling more fatigued than usual. Your current lifestyle just isn’t quite conducive to the day-in day-out spendthrift or party day-and-night lifestyle that your higher society peers are used to. So there’s the question of, how do you reasonably manage a lifestyle that meets other people’s expectations when these are the very people you’re trying to strike a relationship with?
You could spend your money as you please, and worry about the repercussions at a later time. But your limited monthly budget can only make room for so much enjoyment.
As bizarre as it sounds, divvy out a “relationship” budget and throw it away into your piggy bank of choice. For example, my dinners on a daily basis might not be more than $10 or $15 a day and that’s a budget you could live with. But once a month, I’ll mentally prepare myself for that $150 or $200 dinner with a high-society friend or the bi-weekly $50 dinners. If you don’t think these prices are expensive, well this article isn’t for you. To cope with the psychological blows (you could save up an iPhone for that cash in two months), you could look at this from a different perspective. A total of $300 a month sounds manageable, and you might be able to justify what you’re spending by factoring in what you’re getting out of your “investment.”
It might be that day of the month when you’re broke or just sick of going out and prefer to stay home. You’ll have one of two options here. You can be completely honest, tell them that you’re broke, and decline your contact’s invitation. But if it’s a professional relationship that you’re building, telling them that you’re out of cash wouldn’t be the smartest move – if your relationship is at a level where honesty is no big deal, then props to you. If you really can’t actually afford to go out, just make up an excuse that won’t paint you in a negative light. You want to portray the image that you can keep up – but of course it should be within your means. If they’re not you’re best friend, they won’t know what you’re actually doing anyway and you can catch them at a later time. Call it a white lie if you may.
Try to manage how you spend your money. If everyone else is getting an appetizer and dessert, mix and match while keeping the prices in mind. We’ve all done this before. We’ve gone for a mid-range appetizer, selected the main course that’s the third cheapest on the menu, and finished off with a cheap dessert or no dessert at all. While it’s great to enjoy a nice meal, you’re not really there for the food anyway.
Your company understands the value of spending an extra few bucks to build that relationship. In fact, it’s grounds for taking out your company’s credit card or holding onto your receipt so that you don’t end up picking up that otherwise pricy tab.