Being Generous and Frugal: A Goal for 2014

2014Happy 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)

    • Meat Loaf
    • Mr. NYBudget’s Famous Cheeseburgers
    • Dragon Noodles
    • Hawaiian Style Chicken over Rice [NYBudget Note: contact me if you want the recipe]

Sides (Choose 2)

    • Green Beans
    • Peas & Carrots
    • Corn on the Cob
    • Garlic Bread
    • Salad

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.

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23 thoughts on “Being Generous and Frugal: A Goal for 2014

  1. Stu @ Poor Student January 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I think this is a great idea. You can still be frugal and generous – we do try to do this sort of thing too.
    Stu @ Poor Student recently posted: 3 Essential Steps To Start Saving For The First Time EverMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 3, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Thanks Stu. I’m sure there are many other ways to accomplish this as well – I will revisit this for 2015!

  2. Kristin January 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Hey! I hopped over from GRS. What a great resolution to have. I’d be excited to get an email like that from a friend–sounds so fun! One of my goals last year was to be more generous with my time. Sometimes I find it hard to pull myself away from work/my computer–it kind of turned me into a hermit. So I’m learning to say ‘yes’ to more invitations, before my friends just give up on me! Good luck with your resolution!

    • Mr NYBudget January 3, 2014 at 11:31 am

      Having jumped into the blogging world last year, I have definitely experienced getting “lost in the internet”. There’s always some site to go to, some post to write, some new idea for promoting the blog. Budgeting time for friends, family and myself is crucial for me to keep in site!

      • Kristin January 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm

        I stole your resolutions and invited some friends over for brunch on Sunday. Made a quiche (very frugal), and it was delicious! They brought mimosas. Much fun was had, and we all spent way less than we would have at some hip brunch spot.
        Kristin recently posted: 5 Affordable cities for a budget vacationMy Profile

        • Mr NYBudget January 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm

          Awesome! That sounds like a great time! I bet you didn’t have to wait for a table, too 😉

  3. Rachel January 3, 2014 at 11:27 am

    This is a great goal! I would love to come over for dinner soon, Mr. NYB and GF. Thanks for this awesome offer!

    • Mr NYBudget January 3, 2014 at 11:32 am

      🙂 Do you have a meal preference?

  4. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life January 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I always love hosting potlucks. My friends and I get together at least once or twice a month, it adds so much happiness to my life 🙂
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted: Tips for Gambling ResponsiblyMy Profile

  5. Judy @ Journey to Financial Wellness January 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    This is a great idea! Especially the part about tailoring the menu. You will probably get lots of reciprocating invitations as a result. Another benefit.

    • Mr NYBudget January 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      Ooh! Reciprocating invitations – I hadn’t thought of that. I can’t wait to get this started!

  6. Alicia January 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I love this goal so much I wish I had thought of it myself! My new place is definitely not a good place to host people (no dinning room – we only have a two-seater breakfast table) but I might be able to work around that.

    Good Luck getting through everyone once, and perhaps twice!
    Alicia recently posted: Financial Update – December 2013My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      We actually don’t have a dining table either. The good thing is that most of my friends in NYC don’t expect a dining table and are ok making do with our coffee table. Not an ideal setup, but to us, the time with friends is the most important part (and, of course the food!)

  7. theFIREstarter January 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Can’t lose sight of the generosity thing… feeling that one my man! I’ve never given anything through kiva before, I will have a look at that. I need to budget in a portion of our income going to charity in fact, in previous years it has been pretty random at best but we always give a fair amount, it would be nice to know the exact figure though.

    We love having people over now more so than going out. You can have a proper catch up without getting interupted by such annoyances as waiters and having to pay the bill and such.

    I might well have to steal the idea with the menus, that’s a great one!
    theFIREstarter recently posted: Mega-Detox ChallengeMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 5, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      Steal away! But I agree – the ability to control the timing and not be at the mercy of the nuances of the restaurant make inviting people over even MORE enticing!

  8. Fig @ Figuring Money Out January 6, 2014 at 11:59 am

    That’s a really fun idea to cook for all your friends that way! I think I might actually steal that idea and do it with all of my friends. Enjoy 2014! 🙂
    Fig @ Figuring Money Out recently posted: Bits & Pieces 1/5/14My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      We just confirmed our first two guests for this Saturday! It’s super easy to get started (feel free to steal the idea and even copy-paste the draft email if you like!)

  9. Grayson @ Debt Roundup January 7, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    The wife and I always enjoy hosting dinners. We really have a good time. I would like to focus more on spending quality time with my son. He is really young, but I want to make sure to take myself away from the computer while he is awake. That is my goal.

    • Mr NYBudget January 8, 2014 at 12:20 am

      I love the idea of spending quality time with your kid. I don’t yet have kids myself, but if I ever do, I definitely want to make a point of spending as much time with them as possible.

  10. Holly@ClubThrifty January 8, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Hey, great idea!

    We’re cheap and most of my friends are broke so we eat a lot of dinners “in.” It saves money and creates a more intimate experience.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted: Hey Guys, it’s 2014: Saving on WirelessMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 8, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Absolutely – too many people think being frugal means being both miserly and antisocial!

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