ADVICEBURG: Needing To Save Money In Lunenburg County



(Illustration: Will Maclachlan)

People often dream of living in a cooperative community. Well, Anne Macleod Weeks did for 40 years. As a teacher, dorm parent, guidance counselor, coach, principal, and advisor to faculty and parents in boarding schools, she pretty much experienced all that life can throw at you.  She welcomes your questions and concerns.

Submit your questions for Anne at thebarnacle.ca/advice and receive guidance in next month’s Barnacle!

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Hi Anne! With the rising prices of everything, my going out budget is getting slimmer and slimmer. My friends keep wanting to hang out at bars and going out on the weekends. Between not wanting to drink as much these days and needing to save money, how do I tell my friends I still want to hang out, just not at the bar? What else can we do in the area?

– Needing To Save Money in Lunenburg County

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Dear Needing to Save Money,

Man, oh man, I expect most of us can relate to this dilemma. Times are tough with the rising costs of everything.

I don’t know if the word “budget” is currently in your vocabulary. It’s a word I, personally, hate. I want to be able to just live life without constraints and saving every little receipt to track my spending just isn’t in my toolbox.

However, one way to handle this is to set aside a certain amount at the beginning of the month that is what my father always called, “mad money.” It is specifically for entertainment.

Start by looking back through the past 3-4 months at what you spent on entertainment and make a realistic determination of how much, on average, went to socializing with friends. If the average is just too much to set aside, then you can think about ways to cut back that can still allow you some fun.

Some initial thoughts are to suggest social events like a potluck at your residence, a games night, a kitchen party if anyone is a musician, nighttime hikes (Gaff Point and Indian Path Commons are cool at night), or a fire on the beach (Bachman’s Beach is a great place; be sure to check https://novascotia.ca/burnsafe/).

If you are up for a drive, there are always free things to do at night in Halifax. Did you know there is actually a self-guided tour you can do of all the murals (https://downtownhalifax.ca/arttour)? At the end of July, there’s the Busker Festival (https://www.buskers.ca/) on the waterfront and lots of other festivals throughout the summer. On the South Shore, there are often outdoor concerts and movies – most turn up on FB Events or on the local FB Community Bulletin Boards.

Lantzalot, the game store in Blockhouse, is a great resource for finding out about local board game groups – I know there’s at least one D&D group that’s active.

As for bars, it may seem odd, but you really don’t have to buy anything when you are in a group – or drink, for that matter. Bring along your coffee travel mug with whatever you want to drink and stick to that. When I am going somewhere where others are drinking and I either don’t want to or am short on cash, I just bring along my own container. Interestingly, no one has ever asked me what I am drinking. If someone says, “can I get you something?”, I just say, “no, I’m good – brought my own.”

But, given all of these possibilities, I always think it is best to be honest with your friends. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “can we do something different this weekend? I am short on cash. Or, I am cutting back on drinking.” Good friends will be willing to adjust. And, if they aren’t willing, then maybe it’s time to expand your network through doing new things.

Just realize you are not alone in this dilemma!

– Anne


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