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How to act generously on a budget

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Acts of generosity towards friends and family can be draining on the wallet, but there are a few strategies to help mitigate those costs, according to U.S. News. For these ideas to work, however, it is essential that you already have a reasonable budget in place that allows you to know exactly how much money you can comfortably spend during each month to make smart decisions.

One of the easiest ways to spend a lot of money is by going out to expensive restaurants, shows, and other social events where one can quickly feel pressured to spend a lot of money to fit in. Rather than putting yourself in those situations, explain to friends that you can’t afford to pick up any tabs and good friends will understand. Learning how to host a simple dinner can be an excellent substitute for a night on the town.

Buying a case of wine and food to cook will end up being much cheaper in the long run. Friends will appreciate the effort put into the occasion and it will settle the score if it’s your turn to pick up the tab.

In other cases, a heartfelt invitation for something like being a friend’s maid of honor in a destination wedding can end up costing you a lot of money despite their good intentions. Rather than suffering through the ordeal, opt out of the invitation with an honest conversation with that person to explain that you can’t commit to the obligation. Joining the event as a regular guest or sending a gift without attending will be a generous compromise for someone on a tight budget.

Finally, giving gifts can be a significant source of stress for someone without a lot of extra money. According to Frugal Rules, some of the best gifts do not have to cost a lot of money, and a great example is merely giving your time. As an example, offer to babysit on date night for a friend that has young children or help with household chores when someone is ill or incapable. Baked goods and small do-it-yourself gifts can also provide a more personal touch while still saving the wallet.

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