One of the areas you need to make sure you have room for in your budget, is what I call “social spending.” By this, I mean money that you have available so that when asked, you can say yes to activities with friends/colleagues/coworkers. If you have some money available in your budget, it makes it much easier to say yes when people ask if you can do x. And you want to be able to say yes sometimes.
Where you may use this money:
- Going for a drink (beer, coffee, etc)
- Going out for meals – lunches or dinners
- Going to a movie, play, or other activity
- Bringing in treats to your lab or to a meeting, which can be a great way to say thank you is to bring a small snack (think cookies or donuts)
- Joining an intramural sports team
One of the reasons for this, is it that saying yes and participating in activities can help build friendships. These activities are great opportunities to meet and bond with your fellow students. You can vent over courses, profs, rules, or whatever. Even better, you can try and get your mind off school topics.
I’m an introvert at heart. I know this about myself. And I’m not a big fan of hanging out with large groups of people. I’d much rather do things one-on-one, or even better, on my own. But these moments are worth it in the end. By spending the time doing this, you will have a larger group of people you can rely on. You’ll learn who you can go to for help.
For me, as an introvert, it’s easy to go a month without spending this money. So for me, it’s more about making sure I do stuff. If you’re an extrovert, it may be the opposite problem, trying to stay within your budget.
Note: I head off to Europe for just over 2 weeks this weekend. I’ve got posts scheduled to publish, so fingers crossed it works this time. I’m not taking a laptop and will have very limited Internet access. I’ll try to check and fix things if they aren’t working, but no guarantees.