Cabin fever

I’m not sure our friends are talking to me anymore after I shamed them by putting up the photos from the murder mystery evening we had in the Cotswolds a little while ago. They’d been sitting in my inbox for ages and so I thought it was high time they had an airing, given the trouble James had gone to sending them to me. There were some suspect ones of DJ drunkenly waving a large cucumber about however, that I thought we could do without (especially as my mum reads this blog occasionally). Judging from the ones of me, though, I think I need an emergency makeover from Gok Wan. Emma told me she was surprised how good she looked sporting a beard (I think she was being facetious but it’s hard to tell on email) but not sure if the boys feel as confident about their getups.

The murder mystery evening was a great example of a cheap night in. But entertainment is one of the difficulties about living the frugal life. Being one of these people who can stand staying at home and never going out would make it a lot easier to save money. Unfortunately I get cabin fever. Working from home makes it even more of a priority to get out and see some human faces.

Take tonight, for example. It’s the leaving do of a good friend from my old job so we’re all meeting up in a London pub to celebrate. That means paying to get there – although thankfully my travel card from my old job is still good for a couple of months as it was paid for with a season ticket loan – and then buying rounds of drinks at London prices. Plus I get hungry and then end up buying something in the pub to eat or something hideous from a burger bar on the way home. And maybe a taxi home from the station if it’s late. The next thing you know you’ve spent £50.

How do I get round this? It’s awful, but often men come over all chivalrous and insist on buying you a drink and then you can get by not actually buying a round at all. Hands up – when I’ve been skint in the past I’ve taken advantage of this quirk, although I feel awful sponging off people. With a leaving do, often the boss will get to the pub first and buy a round for everyone on his card, so if you get there early enough you’re quids in.

But what about dinner? I could take a packed tea. Pasta salad in a Tupperware box – if it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for me. Or sandwiches. But once you’ve had a couple of beers, something cold just doesn’t seem satisfying. I always think nothing but a greasy burger will soak up the alcohol and prevent a hangover. Maybe that’s why I have a rubber ring around my middle!

And the taxi is definitely out. Well, DJ is on hols now so I could blackmail him into giving me a lift home or…controversial choice…actually WALK!

How do you get around spending cash on nights in the pub? Do you feel peer pressure to buy drinks? Would you dare sponge off your mates?

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