How Being Anti-Social Saves Me Money

A couple of months ago, Jennifer Derrick contributed an excellent article When Invitations Become Money Grabs. That article resonated with many readers and there was a lot of fruitful discussion on the subject. I also spent a lot of time considering the article and how my wife and I have handled the cost of being social. More specifically, I considered how my wife and I have saved money by being anti-social.

My wife and I are extreme homebodies. I work at home and have worked at home for the past decade. My wife left a successful law practice almost ten years ago to stay at home and be a full time mom and wife. My boys and I would definitely agree that the past decade with my wife at home has been great and I am pretty sure that my wife is usually happy that I am always at home (and I know when I need to hide and give her space if I suspect she wishes I worked in an office)

When my wife and I were first married, we had many friends and we went to many social events. We dined out several days per week, went to dinner parties, gave dinner parties and went to shows. We also burned a tremendous amount of money in the process. Moreover, we found that we were always tired, rarely have enough time for each other and we were not having fun with our active social life.

When we moved to our current community, we decided to avoid social obligations to the extent possible. Although our neighbors invited us to events and we met people through our church and our sons’ schools and sporting activities, we politely turned down just about every invitation that we received. No more dinners out with other couples. No more shows. No more dinner parties. We truly focused on family and events that our whole family could enjoy.

Our neighbors and acquaintances still like us, and they know that we are good conversationalists when we talk across the hedge or in the bleachers as we watch a high school sporting event, but they also have figured out that if they invite us to a social event, we will likely decline. They have accepted us that way and do not seem to bear us any ill will because of it.

My wife and I have saved hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of dollars per year by being anti-social. We can relax knowing that we own our weekends and our evenings. We do not have to worry about shelling out money that we do not want to spend at dinner or having a reciprocal obligation to invite someone over to dinner. If we are going to spend money on dinner, our kids can enjoy it with us. If we are going to spend money on a party, we can make it an extra special birthday celebration for our kids. If we are going out to lunch without our kids, we can enjoy our own company and the break that we are able to take from our day to day grind.

I would not have it any other way!

What do you think? Do you need to have friends to share your experiences or are you content with your significant other? Do you find the need for friends began to get weaker after you were married? If you are single, do you see yourself growing distant from your friends after you marry? How much do you spend each month by being social?

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26 Responses to How Being Anti-Social Saves Me Money

  1. Annie Jones says:

    I’m 100% on board with this, but in all honesty, it’s more about my comfort level than it is about saving money. I simply do not enjoy spending a significant amount of time with anyone other than my immediately family. I have friends and extended family whom I see occasionally and have no desire to see them more often.

    But you are right, being less of a social butterfly does indeed save money. 🙂

  2. Alice says:

    You mean unsocial, right? Antisocial means something a little different and would cost you money since you’d be in jail a lot.

  3. Ann says:

    I basically stopped socializing when I was working ridiculous hours in corporate! It actually got to be a bit of a joke around the office. Like you I was friendly with neighbors, but dealing with people all the time made me anxious to avoid them when I had a bit of free time.

    Since I left corporate and moved to the country, I’ve truly discovered how much I enjoy being on my own. Generally, I’ll have a couple out for a barbecue twice in a summer (though, I didn’t this year LOL) and will have lunch about 3-4 times a year with friends when I need to head back to the city for an eye appointment or to see my mechanic, but consider it multi-tasking ’cause it’s a 2 hour drive each way. LOL

    I find phone and email more than adequate for keeping up with my friends and that’s generally enough social interaction for me! When I had an accident this past year, I felt peopled-out when I had to see people (doctors, neighbors that were actually being a tremendous help, solicitous friends) on a pretty regular basis for 3-4 weeks!

    It does save me a lot of money, but it also points out another problem that I find a lot of people have — the ability to be happy and content and satisfied with their own company. I run into people all the time who won’t travel alone (how restrictive!) or occasionally go out to dinner alone (heh, if they had a suishi restaurant here, I’d be dining out there on a regular basis! LOL And occasionally it’s nice to have someone else cook dinner…. and a small dessert is a heck of a lot better for me than a whole cake.) From friends that have teenagers, I’ve discovered that there’s a whole new generation that has a hard time even being out of touch for a few hours!

    I actually find that frightening. There are a lot of people out there who are so busy socializing that they have no hobbies… and no idea of what to do with themselves if they’re NOT socializing for a day or two. I think this leads to problems as you get older. The kids grow up and move away, spouses die (unfortunately), people retire from something instead of to something and wonder why they’re depressed and feel neglected ’cause friends aren’t always available. They never learned how to be happy with their own company.

    Personally, I have so many things that I still want to do and accomplish that I could continue my “anti-social” life for 300 years and probably still be saying “dang! Didn’t get a chance to do or complete this or that!” on my deathbed. LOL

    Save money being anti-social? Definitely! Discovering what it’s like to enjoy your own company (and friends’ when you do get together) — priceless!

  4. typome says:

    Unless I’m burned out or not interested, I rarely turn down social offers from friends and family. In general, my husband and I don’t go out and spend money, and instead do so only when others invite us. For instance, we don’t eat out very often for no reason, but if a cousin invited us for dinner, then we’ll accept. We both come from large and supportive families and friends and can’t imagine giving them up for the sake of saving money. Instead, we save where it doesn’t matter as much in order to spend time with them. And when we do, it’s usually something inexpensive. Thankfully most of our friends and family aren’t spendthrifts either.

  5. I love socialising but these days I pick and choose which ones I go to. Probably once or twice a month but in all honesty, they (since I pick and choose them) don’t add up to that much really.

    Even though I love being at home I think it’s important to keep that social contact.

  6. debmc says:

    Another great and good common sense idea…. being anti-social, lol! I absolutely hate invitations to eat out and generally don’t unless there is a really special occasion. Although I have friends over to eat often, I love to cook and generally buy things that are on sale, relatively inexpensive, and fun. This way, I get to see my family and friends, it doesn’t cost anybody (even me) much, I get to stay home, don’t have to get formally dressed (schmata, anyone, lol????), it’s relaxed and great. And I satisfy my family/social obligations at the same time. What could be better?

    I have to honestly say that one of the reasons I avoid friendships is because of social obligations, which I HATE. I had to go to the Virginia Tidewater area last month for my niece’s wedding, and although I got a free flight, and a free hotel room, I was miserable. I just hate anything where I have to get dressed up and act nice *snicker,* lol!

  7. Jen says:

    What if you get divorced?

    I am serious. I can’t imagine putting all my eggs in one basket like that. Children grow up and move away, couples divorce, your parents die, and then you are my mother, alone and lonely because thats where she put her eggs.

  8. I have a pretty low tolerance for social obligations because I don’t see the point of making inane chit-chat with a bunch of strangers pretending to be something they’re not (sorry, just my life’s experience of such things). I have a few friends, who know by now what kind of invitations I’m likely to accept, and they also put other stuff out there in case I’m in the mood (it’s rare, but it happens). I’m just not big on obligation or stupid shoes, and at the moment I don’t even own a skirt that fits. Hey, misanthropy has its advantages – more money in my pocket, and comfortable clothing!

  9. Diane says:

    We’ve cut back on dinners out with friends (and alone, for that matter) partly in an attempt to cut expenses and partly due to circumstances.

    We don’t have a huge social circle, but we do have 2 couples that we get together with fairly regularly – my boyfriend’s long-time best friend and his wife and my long-time best friend and her boyfriend.

    We probably see each couple about once a month for a dinner out or a meal at our house or theirs. This is a reasonable amount of social interaction for us, but we would probably enjoy seeing each couple twice a month if finances and other circumstances allowed.

    We both work at home together, with my 17 yo son living here and my 22 yo son here on weekends, so we have lots of family meals during the week and on weekends.

    We generally have one date night a weekend and go out to dinner or sometimes a movie alone together since the boys are usually out on Friday and Saturday evenings.

    We also have a number of extended family get-togethers throughout the year with my mom, sisters/brother and their families.

    Sometimes we get a bit more social activity than we actually need due to soccer travel with my younger son’s team. Lots of team dinners (parents & players) and visiting at tournaments and evening high school games. I do think I’ll eventually miss the soccer socializing when my son graduates high school in 18 months.

    The good thing is that other than family events, none of these social outings are really obligations – other than being at soccer events for my son, which is a totally different thing.

    For us, this is a good balance between home time and socialization and a balance between spending and saving money.

  10. gea says:

    I relish spending time alone or with my immediate family only. My husband and I rarely go out with others and most often decline invitations to events. I guess it does save money! The idea of numerous social obligations leaves me feeling tired and depressed. There is nothing better than a Friday night in pajamas with a good book or a great movie on the tv, my cat in my lap and my dogs at my feet.

  11. Cindy M says:

    I’m becoming more of a homebody as I age and truly stay more content doing things at home. I’d rather entertain family and friends in my home also than go to any restaurant I can think of, so yes, you sure can save money that way. I’ve worked from home for years now and definitely don’t miss an office atmosphere. My “social” life is church and that’s more than enough for me. And I do think kids benefit greatly from having parents like you and your wife seem to be, especially with mom content at home. You appreciate what you have so much more when you slow down and quit running around looking for fun and entertainment, I believe.

  12. ThiNg says:

    I think you are devaluing what being part of a society means. Or at least, you are not drawing a clear enough line between avoiding expensive social ‘events’ ($200 for a ticket to New Years Eve..Seriously!?!?), and having friends. Friends do NOT demand you go places, or expect you to go out of your comfort zone for them. But, you can’t make friends if you don’t meet people and aren’t open to the experience. People are beautiful, complex beings. Being human means being social. Just do it in a cost effective manner!

  13. ThiNg says:

    I wanted to add something to my post. Recently, my friend’s mom passed away. She was from a small town, and when we drove the 2 hours up to pay our respects, we had to wait in a 3 hour receiving line (which extended out of the funeral home out into the rain!). She was not a rich lady, she didn’t throw money every where. In fact, judging by her son, she was very frugal and part of a solid rural farming family. But the woman was obviously kind and friendly. That’s the kind of legacy I would like to leave. Just need to spend less time doing wasteful things (TV anyone?) and more time being outgoing and social.

  14. Annie Jones says:

    In response the ThiNg, I don’t believe most of the commentors here are avoiding social situations for the sole purpose of saving money. I think many, like me, simply don’t enjoy socializing and prefer quiet time alone either with family or in solitude. Alone doesn’t necessarily mean lonely for people like us.

    That we save money by being less social is just a pleasant side effect.

  15. Annie Jones says:

    I’m SO sorry, I meant to type “to” ThiNg, not “the” ThiNg. 🙁

  16. ThiNg says:

    LOL Annie, it’s not a problem. The nickname is based on the Thing from the Fantastic Four (big orange rock like creature – I was always the strongest kid in my class).

    I’m not to concerned about the other commentators. It’s the new kid starting out, who might read this article for advice. Maybe even a warning to myself.

    If I move to the middle of nowhere, stop talking to anyone outside of my immediate family, grow my own food and make my own soap…how long until I become a hermit (A person who has withdrawn from society and lives a solitary existence)?

    I don’t think that it’s a negative term. I just think that we need to place more emphasis on the value of human life. Those ‘mindless throngs’ contain real people. If you’ve watched the movie Wall-E, all of the humans in the future were right next to each other but they only talked to each other through electronic devices.

    I’d rather have a real hug and a warm smile then some “:)” at the end of an email…

    The article was well written, but you could have emphasised how to me social and save money. Rent a movie and have a movie night at home versus 2 couples going out to the movies, that kind of thing.

  17. Chelo says:

    While I totally agree that family time is extremely important and by not going out you can save a tremendous amount of cash. Is it being antisocial or just being choosy on how you spend your money and time. Realistically you can’t do everything and when you try it’s too stressful and not any fun anyway. Maybe rather than being antisocial it’s more being particular on the events that you do choose to spend time and money on. As parents shouldn’t we also teach our children what it’s like in a social environment???

  18. David G. Mitchell says:

    Several excellent comments on this article. I appreciate the discussion! Perhaps I should have used the word “non-social” instead of “anti-social.” That is probably more accurate.

    And, as Annie Jones points out, I do think that most of the commentary, and the article itself, is from the perspective of one who realizes that he or she saves money by not being social as opposed to one who avoids social situations in order to save money.

  19. Gail says:

    When I became disabled and had to quit working, my world felt very small and those so-called “friends” never came around. As I got sick right after marrying my husband, we never had a chance to make a lot of friendships with other couples. We like being together (he also works from home) and I have plenty to do to keep from boredom. My errand runs give me about as much social contact as I can handle as I literally get exhausted spending time with other people. Yes it saves money to not be real sociable but that certainly wasn’t the reason it happened and now that I’m in my 50’s I don’t expect to ever develope those close friendships/girlfriends that some people can’t seem to live without.

  20. Bobbi says:

    I am working on this as well, but a lot of my friends are NOT understanding and they give me a hard time. I just want to be able to have a nice retirement future and it is all on me. I have no retirement or 401K at work, so it is totally up to me. Fortunately, my living situation is such that I do not have a mortgage or rent payment. That may change down the road, but for now I want (NEED) to save, save, save. I just wish my friends were more understanding. Good post and I am glad it is working for you. 🙂

  21. fern says:

    Maintaining a network of close friends adds a depth and dimension to your life that “more money” can’t provide. However, you can find ways to socialize wthout spending a lot.

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  25. Lyle says:

    I agree with ThiNg. Socializing is an important part of the human experience. It also does not have to cost a lot of money.

    In fact, having potlucks can save money, and you can meet a lot of people.

    I can too easily spend time by myself, and like Ann, have plenty of personal projects to work on. But life is more enjoyable when you share time with others.

    Being dead also saves you money. Is saving money the ultimate goal of life?

  26. Persephone says:

    Lyle’s comment (being dead also saves you money) made me laugh out loud. It’s so true! Socializing is vital to good health and doesn’t have to cost a lot. Everything in moderation, though. Only socialize with those you want to when you want to. A simple “no thank you”(no lengthy excuses, please!)has saved me much money and time.

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