Happy 2014! I started the new year by thinking about my goals. Of course, it is also important to revisit your goals throughout the year and make new ones. This blog is a result of revisiting goals. Maintaining The New York Budget was a major goal by the end of 2013, but last January, the thought of starting a blog couldn’t have been further from my mind.
As for 2014, I have a few New Years goals*, but I wanted to share one in particular. While blogging, I have discovered one potential pitfall with frugality. If you are pinching every penny in a way that optimizes your lifestyle and happiness, but minimizes expenses, sometimes, you forget something important:
If you are always looking at your budget, your choices, your expenses, and your enjoyment, it is possible to forget about others. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. In 2014 I plan to be more generous. This includes giving more through Kiva than I ever have before. It also includes extending my generosity to friends. Of course, the question is: how can I be both generous and frugal? Of all the possibilities I considered, for 2014 I have chosen to host:
Dinner with Mr. NYBudget
In small groups of 2 or 3 at a time, my girlfriend and I plan to invite friends to dinner at our apartment. The invitation will look something like this:
Hey [Names of Friends],
Mr NYBudget and GF would like to invite you to dinner. Please choose one of the next 4 Saturdays and we will prepare dinner for you. Please see your menu options below:
Main Course (Choose 1)
Sides (Choose 2)
- Green Beans
- Peas & Carrots
- Corn on the Cob
- Garlic Bread
Beverages (Choose 1 – Water also provided)
- Red Wine [hint: Trader Joe’s in Union Square has great box wine for cheap]
- White Wine [hint 2: Whole Foods on the UWS has pretty decent bottles for $3 as well]
- Dale’s Pale Ale
- Sparkling Lemonade
There is no need to bring a single thing, except yourself! Let us know your choices for the date and menu and we will do the rest! Can’t wait to see you.
Mr. NYBudget and GF
The goal is to cook for each of our NYC friends at least once in 2014. My “stretch goal” is to cycle through all of our friends twice before 2015 rolls around. Truthfully, in our effort to be generous, we are getting something in return. I have found that in NYC, some of my friendships are limited to high-fives and cheers in packed, loud bars. Don’t get me wrong, I love going out and having a good time, but I wouldn’t mind turning at least one or two of those high-fives into quieter quality time with my friends.
These dinners will give me a chance to build better friendships and have memorable interactions with the people around me. How awesome is that? Now where does the frugality come in? With these dinners, I will spend only a fraction of the money that I would have if I had taken each friend to a restaurant or bought each of them a gift. Not to mention the fact that taking them out to a restaurant would mean that I would have to spend extra money on MY dinner, when the whole point is being generous to my friends. I can cook a nice meal for 4, with wine for $15-$20, while dinner for 4 at a restaurant could cost over $100! In addition, because hosting dinners in NYC is a rarity (especially ones where the menu is tailored to the guest), I think these dinners will feel like a unique and special gift.
On that note, I am convinced that 2014 is going to be an incredible year, so get ready!
What are some of your New Years goals*?
*As the always wise Johnny Moneyseed points out, specific goals are much more useful than general resolutions.
Like this post? Sign up to receive posts via email and never miss a tip for living well and saving money!