Saving Money During Visits from Friends and Family

400-04227943by Tonya Rapley

This guest post is from Tonya 1/2 of My Fab Fico (Victoria is the other half) and one-fifth of my Frugal Fab Five, the personal finance group that I am a member of that is committed to helping women get their money right. This post  is really helpful if you love having friends and family visit you but still want to honor your financial commitments and long-term goals!

It’s a well known fact that budgeting is not my strong suite. Building credit and using it to your advantage is where I am a superstar. But budgeting. Im still learning to excel at that. While I have minor  budgeting victories on a day to day basis such as choosing to take the subway instead of a cab or opting not to upgrade my phone to that extremely beautiful Gold iPhone, budgeting is an ongoing issue for me.

You know what magnifies that?!

Out of town visitors and birthdays. This weekend I had the pleasure of both.

One of the best things about living in a city as remarkable and legendary as New York City is that you don’t have to go visit many people because everyone is dying to come to NYC. This weekend I hosted my very close friend from high school whom I call my brother. He decided to spend his birthday weekend with me and I was absolutely honored. So of course I had to make sure he had a blast.

Picking Marquise up form JFK

Picking Marquise up from JFK

I didn’t spend as much on items as I thought I would but I did splurge on the additional birthday celebrations and birthday shots at restaurants. I exceeded my weekly eat out budget by about $75 and had to tell everyone at establishments that it was his birthday. NOTE: You might want to ask if the birthday celebration is complimentary. People will smile and say OKAY, then all of a sudden you find a $15 charge on the bill that wasn’t discussed.

Here are ways that you can save money when loved ones are in town.

1) Find Free/Cheap Attractions. Your city is bound to have free attractions. Think about it, it may not be exciting to you, but for someone who has never experienced it, it could be awesome. we opted to go to the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Which is totally free every single day. It was really informative and thoroughly enjoyed the current exhibits.

2) Flex your culinary prowess. To cut back on costs we cooked all of our home meals on Saturday. The day started with me preparing a huge breakfast and concluded with a wonderful dinner prepared by my boyfriend. While out we spent $2.99 on smoothies to hold us over.

3) Just walk. The temptation to fill the visit with exciting activities will be there, but some of the best moments will come from just walking through scenic areas of your city and talking. Chatting about life, catching up, and enjoying being in each others company will provide more enjoyment thank you can imagine. Plus you never know what you will stumble upon. We happened to stumble upon a shop that was going out of business and an owner who shut the doors and held a private 15 min party just for us. One of the highlights of my weekend.


My friends getting down at our random private party.

3) Plan Wisely. I think you should dine out at least once while hosting a visitor from out of town. Take advantage of Travelzoo Local deals and Groupons. While visiting my sister in DC she scored an unlimited brunch for 4 Groupon for $60! That equaled out to $15 for each of us. You can also score show tickets, attractions tickets, etc by keeping your eyes for deals before their visit.

We dined at the famous LIPs NYC Drag Bar and enjoyed a show, unlimited Mimosas, and our meal for $25.

We dined at the famous LIPs NYC Drag Bar and enjoyed a show, unlimited Mimosas, and our meal for $25.

Down the line I will will probably create an extended list but these are a few notes that came to mind while my brothers visit was fresh (he left about 4 hours ago).

So tell me my fabulous friends, what are some of the ways you cut cost  when hosting friends and family in your city?

If this posts inspires you to get your finances in order, don’t let the work stop here.  Consider enrolling in one of my online courses. I have one on budgeting and one on saving.

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