Tonight, my boyfriend and I were able to host a mini dinner party with some close friends for the holidays. It was a lot of fun and a great way to catch up and laugh without spending money! We got lucky and were able to repurpose some leftovers from the night before and able to turn it into a lovely meal. Life can get crazy with work, school, or whatever else you've got going on so make sure you make time for your friends. These are important relationships to cultivate and it doesn't take too much effort (or money!) to see your good friends from time to time.
As long as we're on the subject, I thought I'd share with you a tradition my family has had that combines socialization with replenishing your savings account. Every year, my parents get their group of friends together and have a round of dinner parties lined up, once a month, for the entire year. They draw names out of a hat to determine who will host during which month. Then, at each dinner party, the same 11 people (the 12 in the group minus the host of that particular dinner party), "pay" the host a pre-determined amount. This can range from as little as $50 to $200, depending on the group's decision. This goes on until each person has had the opportunity to host, and in turn, receive their "party fund". When it's your month and you receive the money, you're basically receiving back the money you're putting in throughout the year. The difference is you have the social incentive to pay yourself each month and the benefit of getting one lump sum to put into your savings. This is a tradition in Bolivia, where my mom is from, and is called a Pasanaku. I promise I'll try and find an Americanized name for this and welcome any suggestions!
Currently, my boyfriend and I are set to receive our money in January. Some people would prefer to get December so they have money to pay for Christmas presents in cash, or in March or April just in time to pay their taxes. Now, you don't have to have 12 people in your rotation - you could do 5 or 6. And you could split the money with someone else. My boyfriend and I are currently a part of my parents pasanaku but since their "buy-in" is $150 a month, we count ourselves as one person and each put in $75 a month. You could also just mail in your checks each month to the person whose turn it is to receive it but what fun is that? Have a cocktail and celebrate that you will put hundreds of dollars in your savings account or even something for your fun fund.