Socializing-A Worthwhile Investment

You may believe that socializing regularly and practicing good financial health are incompatible, but that is hardly the case. Because of its many proven health benefits, socializing is a worthwhile investment. Also, socializing does not always require spending money. In fact, many social interactions cost little or nothing. But when socializing is narrowly defined as going out and spending money, it can ruin the budget. The key to getting all of the benefits of socializing without the high price tag is balance.

Keep Costs Manageable When Socializing

Talking to friends and family by phone or email, chatting with the clerk at the grocery store, or volunteering at your local library are great ways to socialize. And if you already have a phone, a car and access to a computer, these activities are all free. Also, inviting friends to your home for a movie night or afternoon barbecue allows you to control the cost. To keep socializing from ruining your budget:
  • Create a monthly or yearly socializing budget (entertainment at home budget)
  • Combine no-cost and low-cost with higher price socializing
  • Say "no" to socializing activities that you cannot afford
Socializing as an Investment in Your Health

Keeping expenses in check when socializing is important, but sometimes you have to spend money to take advantage of a variety of social experiences and their benefits. The benefits of regular socializing are numerous and well documented. Studies show that socialization is as beneficial to your health as eating right and exercising. And just like you would invest in a gym membership or piece of exercise equipment, you should invest in a broad array of social experiences. For example, going out to dinner with coworkers may cost more than volunteering at your local soup kitchen, but may lead to valuable networking opportunities.

Socializing Can Cost You

Too much or too little
socializing in the workplace can cost you. If you socialize too much at work, you can get a reputation as a gossip or slacker. If you socialize too little at work, you can get a reputation as unfriendly or antisocial. Also, too much socialization in your personal life can rob you of time to do more important things; too little may not be good for your long-term health. Lastly, too much high cost socializing can ruin your finances.

Like all good things in life, the key to getting the most benefit from socializing is balance. Engage in a variety of affordable social activities to keep experiences high and cost under control.
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